BRIEFING ON DARFUR / UNAMID (SUDAN)
Sudan has shown its will to find a political solution, as seen by its unilateral ceasefire, signing of the road map and willingness to negotiate with non-signatories to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur. Those groups continue to delay. Italy renewed the call for the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) to join the political process, and for the Justice and Equality Movement, SLA/MM and others to sign the road map.
Ambassador Lambertini also expressed hope the Doha Document could be rapidly completed. More broadly, he said Darfur suffered from lack of development and Italy will continue help Sudan at a bilateral level in that regard. He condemned intercommunal conflict, banditry, human rights violations, impunity, and attacks on internally displaced persons, calling on the Government to address those issues. The upcoming strategic review recommendations would help determine the mission’s exit strategy, he said, also taking note of the assessment made in the Secretary-General’s report.
URGENT MEETING TO DISCUSS THE USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS ON APRIL 4th IN THE KHAN SHAYKHUN AREA OF SOUTHERN IDLIB, SYRIA
The use of chemical weapons in north-western Syria constitutes the largest single such attack in that war-torn country since 2013, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs told the Security Council, as members weighed a draft resolution to be tabled by France, United Kingdom and the United States.
According to the media reports, the chemical attack might have caused the deaths of at least 70 civilians, and possibly injured more than 200.
Italian Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi expressed shock at the renewed chemical weapons attacks in Syria and additional bombardments on hospitals in which victims were under treatment. Condemning such actions in the strongest terms, he said such attacks confirmed the Syrian regime’s contempt for its people, and were a tragic reminder that violations of international law, including Council resolutions, continued.
Italy welcomed efforts by the fact-finding mission to gather information from all available sources, and supported the draft resolution — not adopted due to the Russian veto — condemning the attack. As long as no one is held accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity, incentives to carry them out would persist, he said, emphasizing that accountability must be a shared priority for the Council. A military approach would be “wrong and delusional”; “the solution will never be found through military means.” A political solution addressing Syria’s instability, as well as the plight and aspirations of Syrians, is the only way out. Finally, the fact that the attacks had been perpetrated at the end of the Geneva talks casts new doubts on the regime’s commitment to abide by the ceasefire.
THE SITUATION IN COLOMBIA
Italy strongly supports the Peace Agreement and the parties’ commitment to end the decades-long conflict, looking forward to the Council’s visit in May. Reconciliation and reintegration are preconditions for building confidence and delivering peace dividends in terms of improved living conditions.
For its part, Italy is ready to help address the challenges ahead, and supported European Union actions, including through the trust fund to which it has contributed €3 million.
SITUATION IN MALI AND UN MISSION MINUSMA
The deteriorating security situation and growing terrorist threat in Mali means the Council must do more, and faster, to improve the situation on the ground. Italian Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi pointed out that “the stability of the Sahel depends, to a large extent, on the security of Mali,” echoing concerns about transnational crime networks and trafficking, which continued to undermine the peace process.
Pledging to continue Italy’s bilateral assistance for combating those threats and to help the Council explore its options, he emphasized the importance of combating the destruction of cultural heritage. Strong international cooperation remaines critical, as illustrated by the G5 Sahel’s decision to establish a counter-terrorism force and the European Union’s training support for Malian personnel. While MINUSMA continues to face major challenges, and has already paid a high human price in lost human lives, the Mission is demonstrating leadership and should be supported.
BRIEFING BY THE UN SECRETARY GENERAL ANTONIO GUTERRES ON PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS
United Nations peacekeeping is at a crossroads; Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council, pressing it to keep operations relevant by providing clear mandates with well-identified priorities, adequate sequencing and the flexibility to evolve.
He said peacekeepers are often deployed where peace itself is at stake, at times facing hostility and lack of cooperation on the part of host Governments, while dealing with issues arising from terrorism and the growth of transnational crime at others. Some of the largest operations are divorced from political processes and appeared to be stuck, he said. “We must take a hard look at these challenges and get peacekeeping right.”
EMERGENCY MEETING ON SYRIA AFTER US AIRSTRIKE
Members voiced frustration over the persistent deadlock in the Security Council, with some delegates warning that the organ could lose its “remaining credibility” if unity remained out of reach.
Calling urgently upon the parties to reunite in negotiations, Italian Ambassador Cardi underlined that only a United Nations-led political transition in accordance with Council resolution 2254 (2015) could lead the way out of the Syria conflict, which in turn could only advance if the Council was united.
BRIEFING BY THE SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ON THE SITUATION IN HAITI / MINUSTAH
The international community must continue to support Haiti in an effective, needs-based manner in close cooperation with Haitian institutions. Expressing support for the Secretary-General’s recommendations, Italian Ambassador Inigo Lambertini said the goal is to ensure that Haiti could guarantee the security, well-being and fundamental rights of its people. Emphasizing the need for responding in a structured manner, with development as the focus, he noted Italy’s contributions to Haiti through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as well as its participation in the Organization’s initiative on cholera and its victims.
BRIEFING BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL'S SPECIAL ENVOY TO SYRIA STAFFAN DE MISTURA
Intensified fighting and a lack of unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance endangers the fragile progress made during a fifth round of negotiations in Geneva last month. The chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians in Khan Shaykhun, and the subsequent United States missile strike on a Syrian air base at Shayrat, have been followed by more fighting, amid fresh claims that cluster weapons and barrel bombs had been used.
Warning that spoilers opposing the peace process would stop at nothing to undermine it, Mr. De Mistura said talks that could resume in Geneva in May must move from a preparatory stage to “the heart of the matter.”
"Syrians cannot live with this war and neither can we, wherever we are. The only solution is political dialogue"
VOTE ON DRAFT RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN SYRIA
The Security Council rejected the draft resolution that would have condemned the reported chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun and expressed its determination to hold the perpetrators accountable.
Defeated by 10 votes in favour, to 2 against (Bolivia, Russian Federation), with 3 abstentions (China, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan), the draft would have emphasized Syria’s obligation to comply with the recommendations of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon’s (OPCW) Fact Finding Mission and the OPCW-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism by providing immediate and unfettered access to and the right to inspect any and all sites.
Many speakers expressed regret as the Council’s inability to act has sent a message that perpetrators could get away with murder. Italy voted in favour to express outrage at the use of chemical weapons and to urge a rapid investigation.
BRIEFING BY SAID DJINNIT, SPECIAL ENVOY TO THE GREAT LAKES REGION
Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, joined several members of the Council in expressing serious concern over escalating violence in that country’s Kasai region, stressing that parties on the ground must “pull out all the stops” to investigate allegations of crimes being committed there. Furthermore, he added, those responsible for murdering two United Nations experts in Kasai must be held accountable as soon as possible.
Targeted efforts should also address the re-emergence of M23 fighters, support refugees, and continue the intra-Burundian dialogue.
The 31 December Agreement is the only path to peace, and all parties must be guided by the needs of the people they have been elected to govern.
MINUSTAH / HAITI
The Security Council unanimously extended the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) for a final six months, replacing it with a follow-up peacekeeping mission (MINUJUSTH) that would help the Government of Haiti strengthen rule-of-law institutions, further develop and support the Haitian National Police and engage in human rights monitoring, reporting and analysis.
BRIEFING ON SOMALIA AND ERITREA
In light of the threat posed by Al-Shabaab, drought and the ongoing humanitarian crisis, the Security Council Committee on sanctions in Eritrea and Somalia announced a possible future visit to the Horn of Africa today, as members expressed diverging views on arms embargoes imposed on those countries.
The Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group had found no links between Al-Shabaab and Eritrea. While Somalia is cooperating fully in the implementation of the sanctions regime, further progress in managing arms and ammunition should be taken into account in considering future sanctions.
On Eritrea, Italian Ambassador Inigo Lambertini said Italy expects the Monitoring Group to be fair and impartial, encouraging the country to cooperate with the Council so that it can take decisions on the basis of established facts.
FIRST-EVER SC THEMATIC DEBATE ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND PREVENTION OF ARMED CONFLICT
Given their intrinsic link to peace and security, the Security Council must take human rights into account in all its deliberations, the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.
Peace, sustainable development and respect for human rights all reinforce each other. As for whether human rights fell under the Council’s purview, for Italy it is impossible to imagine deliberations that do not consider that issue.
BRIEFING ON LIBYA / UNSMIL
The volatility and human rights situation in Libya are alarming, and the country risks a return to wide-spread conflict. However, there can be no military solution; differences can only be resolved through inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation.
The fragility of Libya’s situation requires the international community to move beyond a containment approach and past the fight against terrorism and migration; those issues, alongside border security, are symptoms rather than root causes of the conflict. The progress realized must be protected and efforts to stabilize pockets of violence redoubled.
OPEN DEBATE ON THE MIDDLE EAST - LEBANON, SYRIA AND PALESTINE
Cooperation and multilateral approaches are needed to address interlinked conflicts, cross-border humanitarian crises and violent extremism. The Middle East requires a surge in diplomacy for peace, with Member States assuming a leading role through a united Security Council.
To that end, it is crucial to address the fragility of States, emphasizing that Governments must respond to the legitimate demands of their people and strengthen social cohesion and reconciliation. That would provide a first line of defence against extremism, while also strengthening the voices of moderation and religious tolerance.
BRIEFING ON SOUTH SUDAN
According to Shearer briefing, virtually no part of South Sudan is immune from conflict, yet there have been no concerted effort by any party to adhere to a ceasefire. Warning that the conflict has intensified over the past month, he said UNMISS is now directly protecting more than 220,000 displaced civilians in six different locations across the country. Indeed, deployment of the Mission’s Regional Protection Force would free up resources to project UNMISS presence beyond Juba.
The Peace Agreement are continuously violated, with South Sudanese women and children the first victims of the non-compliance. For Italy, there can be no peace without accountability, otherwise the only result will be a divided country filled with resentment.
BRIEFING BY THE EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR STEPHEN O'BRIEN ON SYRIA
Delivering his briefing by video link from Geneva, Mr. O’Brien said military might still being used against civilians in a way that “defies all reason”. April has been another deadly month for Syrian children, many of whom have only known a country at war.
Urging the Government of Syria to ease administrative and bureaucratic restrictions that continued to thwart humanitarian operations, he said checkpoints still block the delivery of life-saving materials. And while the number of people trapped in besieged areas has dropped significantly, many of those evacuated from Idlib Governorate or northern Aleppo remain in areas where civilians come under regular aerial bombardment.
BRIEFING BY THE SECRETARY GENERAL ANTONIO GUTERRES ON DPRK / NON-PTOLIFERATION - MINISTERIAL LEVEL MEETING
Italy condemns in the strongest terms all the nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches carried out by the DPRK. Its nuclear and ballistic missile programs pose indeed a grave and increasing threat, not only to the regional and international peace and security, but also to the global non-proliferation regime.
Italy continues to fully support the implementation of an effective sanctions regime, as a tool to produce a change of behaviour in the DPRK leadership, and is also ready to reinforce this sanctions regime in case of additional nuclear test or if necessary to reach the objective of a peaceful and comprehensive solution of the issue.
ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION TO EXTEND MINURSO MANDATE
The latest developments on the ground are an eloquent demonstration of the remarkable results that can be achieved with patient and persistent diplomacy, said the Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN, Amb. Sebastiano Cardi. He also encouraged the parties to continue upholding their commitment to the ceasefire agreements.
For Italy, the improvements in the situation on the ground and the adoption of the resolution can build the required momentum towards a rapid resumption of the political process.