SECURITY COUNCIL RETREAT
The Permanent Representatives of the Members of the Security Council had a two days retreat with the Secretary-General, in Long Island. The retreat offered an opportunity for Council members to engage in collective brainstorming on specific issues alongside the Secretariat.
UNSC MISSION IN COLOMBIA
May, 3rd - 5th
The mission, which has been led by the UK and Uruguay, demonstrated the Council’s commitment to the peace process in Colombia and to commend the parties on bringing an end to the conflict. According to the mission’s terms of reference, Council members gave importance to getting a better understanding of the aspirations and concerns of the parties and other actors, and encouraging the parties to maintain their positive cooperation and momentum in implementing the agreement.
The visiting mission was an opportunity to assess progress, as the 180-day deadline established in the agreement for the laying down of weapons approaches (1 June). This process has faced several delays, particularly related to the transfer of FARC-EP combatants to the 26 Transitional Local Zones and Points for Normalisation.
Council members engaged with members of civil society and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN LIBYA & COOPERATION WITH ICC
State cooperation with the International Criminal Court is crucial to ensuring justice for victims of mass atrocity crimes committed during 2011 events in Libya, its Chief Prosecutor said, pressing the Security Council for assistance in the arrest and surrender of those allegedly responsible.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi highlighted how the Court could bring positive developments, especially if the Council remained united in supporting Libya, its institutions and people, ensuring that justice is done in a fair and impartial manner.
BRIEFING ON THE COOPERATION BETWEEN THE UNITED NATIONS AND REGIONAL AND SUB-REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
“The European way is the United Nations way,” declared Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy delivering her statement as the Security Council discussed United Nations cooperation with the European Union in the context of its work with regional and subregional organizations “The European vision is the United Nations vision.”
Italy is committed to making a constructive contribution to strengthening the European voice at the United Nations and in the Security Council together with European partners.
Protecting and saving lives is a priority, as seen in the Mediterranean every day, where operation SOPHIA led to the rescue of more than 34,000 people and the arrest of over 100 smugglers.
BRIEFING ON ANTI-TERRORISM EFFORTS, NON-PROLIFERATION OF WEAPONS
Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta (Egypt), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001) concerning counter-terrorism; Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz (Bolivia), Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) concerning non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, welcomed the cooperation among the subsidiary bodies on the risks of illicit trafficking and terrorism through online public trading platforms.
Italy welcomed efforts by the Counter-Terrorism Committee and the CTED to help Member States implement terrorism-related Security Council resolutions.
Terrorist individuals and entities are benefiting from rapid advances in science, technology and international commerce for proliferation purposes, Ambassador Inigo Lambertino said. This phenomenon demonstrates how the abuse of emerging scientific innovations can facilitate the spread of illicit proliferation activities, particularly through the illegal transfer of sensitive technology and illicit financial transactions.
ADOPTION OF PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT ON COLOMBIA
During its visit to Colombia from 3 to 5 May 2017, the Security Council welcomed the opportunity to engage in dialogue with President Santos and senior representatives of the Government of Colombia, leaders of the FARC-EP, members of Congress representing the spectrum of political parties, the Tripartite Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, members of civil society, local communities, the UN Mission and the UN country Team in Colombia in Bogotá and Vista Hermosa, and thanks the Government of Colombia, the United Nations Mission in Colombia and all its interlocutors for the fruitful discussions.
The Security Council acknowledges the significant challenges involved in implementation of the Final Peace Agreement and welcomes the progress made by the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP in implementing the Agreement and their commitment to achieving a transition to peace that benefits all Colombians.
OPEN DEBATE ON WOMEN, PEACE, & SECURITY
"Sexual violence is now rightly viewed globally as a legitimate threat to peace requiring an operational security and justice response."
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi: In today’s conflicts, civilians are increasingly caught in the crossfire. Conflict-related sexual violence is used to cause displacement, affect reproduction and ethnicity, deter opposition, offer troop incentives, and undermine social and community cohesion.
We need to better implement the instruments that we already have, to prevent, render accountable those responsible, and provide assistance to the victims.
ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION TO EXTEND UNISFA'S MANDATE (SOUTH SUDAN - ABYEI)
Unanimously adopting resolution 2352 (2017), the Council also decided to reduce UNISFA’s authorized troop ceiling from 5,326 to 4,791, marking the first change in the Force’s troop levels since 2013. Further by the text, it urged the two sides to resume direct negotiations in order to agree on a final settlement of the Abyei question.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, speaking also on behalf of Sweden, said the unanimous adoption sent a strong sign of the Council’s unity on the matter of Abyei. Echoing the concerns voiced by the representative of the United States on improving the effectiveness of peacekeeping missions, he emphasized that “renewing a mandate should never be seen as business as usual.”
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN KOSOVO
Kosovo required leadership that transcended ethno-national divisions. For Italy the perspective of the European integration is crucial in driving the efforts and reforms that the Western Balkans are expected to carry out with the goal to make stability a durable achievement for the region, uphold the institutional consolidation and the economic and social development of the area.
BRIEFING ON THE UNSC MISSION IN COLOMBIA
Despite numerous challenges, the parties to Colombia’s six-month-old peace agreement were committed to “stay the course” in order to preserve the impressive gains already made, the co-leads of the Security Council’s recent mission said as they recapped their visit.
Ambassador Cardi: "This visit sent a strong message of support to this peace process; the joint work between the United Nations and the States is crucial for peace and security."
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN SOMALIA
Somalia’s peaceful election of a new President had opened a unique opportunity to surmount entrenched insecurity, political and humanitarian challenges and create a functional State in the coming four years, a senior United Nations official told the Security Council.
Raisedon Zenenga, Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Somalia: "The country’s Federal Government and the leaders of its federal member states have concluded a political agreement on the national security architecture. That framework defines the size, structure, composition, command-and-control structure and financing for Somalia’s security forces. The significance of that agreement is enormous.”
Francisco Caetano José Madeira, Special Representative for Somalia of the African Union Commission Chairperson and Head of AMISOM, describes the 16 April national consultative forum — the first of its kind — as an “unheard of milestone” whereby regional leaders and others had agreed to establish regional security councils. The agreement to build an affordable, professional Somali security force would be a strong barrier against insecurity, he stressed.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi - Concerning security, Italy welcomes the results of the London Conference and the launch of the new partnership for Somalia. The threat from Al-Shabaab is serious, and Italy will continue to support Somali ownership of the security sector through the bilateral training of national police. Somalia should tackle the root causes of radicalization, including poverty, as well as lack of education and job opportunities."
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
While Bosnia and Herzegovina is largely stable and had made considerable political strides, its continued progress must not be taken for granted, the senior United Nations official in the country warned the Security Council, while expressing concern over divisive trends that risked reopening the Federation’s “wounds of the past”.
As Chair of the Western Balkans Process in 2017, Italy is engaged in a fruitful dialogue with all Western Balkan Countries to identify with them their priorities to boost regional integration. Bosnia and Herzegovina is actively contributing, as it has already proved by hosting a regional summit last March in preparation of the Annual Western Balkans Summit that Italy will host in Trieste on July 12. We are committed to making this entire process meaningful and beneficial to these Countries. On May 24, we hosted in Rome another preparatory ministerial meeting.
BRIEFING BY THE SPECIAL ENVOY OF THE SG IN SYRIA - STAFFAN DE MISTURA
Small but significant steps were being made in political efforts to end the conflict in Syria on the heels of an agreement on creating de-escalation zones in that country, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy told the Security Council, while warning of persistent fighting in some areas and the threat still posed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh).
Staffan de Mistura, speaking by video-teleconference from Geneva: "The memorandum on de-escalation zones — signed on 4 May by Iran, the Russian Federation and Turkey, in Astana, Kazakhstan — is “a promising step” presaging a significant drop in reported violence, including aerial bombing. Tangible change is being reported on the ground, including the welcome resumption of market activity."
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN IRAQ
With the liberation of Mosul imminent, the international community must maintain a dual focus on defeating the remaining Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) forces in Iraq, and on working towards post-conflict security and reconstruction, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative said in a briefing to the Security Council.
The recent Ministerial Plenary for the Global Coalition Working to Defeat ISIS, held in Washington, D.C., in March, had been a reminder of the need for a dual focus on defeating Da’esh while working towards post-conflict security in Iraq. Calling for international support in that regard, he also recalled that the Secretary-General had recently received the long-awaited submission of the Iraqi Forces Coalition’s vision on a national settlement and that a recent Turkmen Forum held in Baghdad on 16 and 17 May had served as an inclusive forum for the sharing of visions of how to rebuild the country.
"The humanitarian needs in and around Mosul remain unprecedented and increasing, given the ongoing large-scale IDPs flows from the Old City. We commend UN agencies and partners, together with Iraqi authorities, for their remarkable work in providing emergency assistance and shelter quickly and effectively. Italy will continue to support their efforts. We remain extremely concerned about the many innocent civilians still trapped in areas controlled by Da’esh militants, who continue to use them as human shields and prevent them from escaping. It is therefore crucial for security forces to maintain their focus on minimizing civilian casualties and upholding international law in the conduct of military operations."
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN SYRIA - CHEMICAL WEAPONS
Outlining the contents of several recent OPCW reports, including one on the alleged 16 September 2016 incident (document S/2017/400), OPCW had deployed a fact-finding mission on two occasions following allegations of chemical weapons use on that date in the area of Um Hosh, in the Aleppo countryside. Members of the mission had conducted interviews, collected testimonies and reviewed documents, as well as information provided by the Syrian authorities.
FORCED COMMANDERS BRIEFING ON PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS
The commanders of four United Nations peacekeeping missions briefed the Security Council, emphasizing the need to “go beyond the traditional peacekeeping box” and overcome bureaucratic hurdles, as the Organization’s signature function adapted to ever-evolving challenges.
Jean-Pierre Lacroix - Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, described this week’s annual conference of force commanders at New York Headquarters as an opportunity for useful and valuable exchanges. Recalling the recent deaths of peacekeepers in northern Mali and in the Central African Republic, he said force commanders and their soldiers deserved both gratitude and best efforts in order to discharge their mandates and protect the people they served.
Force Commanders - Every peacekeeping operations should have a clear end-of-mission vision, emphasizing that they are referring not necessarily to an exit strategy, but to a clear idea of what constituted success. A robust mandate must be manifested at all levels, from the Council to the troops on the ground.
"Peace operations should be declined in a sort of “peace continuum”, where the quest for political solutions must be our primary goal. [...] The involvement of regional actors and the role of regional and sub-regional organizations is key to establish an effective and successful political process. In this regard, the European Union can have a major role in complementing on the ground the efforts of other relevant players."
ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION TO EXTEND UNMISS' MANDATE (SOUTH SUDAN)
Unanimously adopting resolution 2353 (2017) under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the UNSC also extended until 30 June 2018 the mandate of the Panel of Experts overseeing the sanctions, adding that it should provide it with an interim report by 1 December 2017, a final report by 1 May 2018 and updates on each intervening month.
ADOPTION OF NARRATIVES ON COUNTER-TERRORISM
Unanimously adopting a resolution that featured a new framework developed by its Counter-Terrorism Committee, the Security Council urged Member States to follow a number of concrete guidelines aimed at countering the narratives used by terrorist groups and amplifying positive and credible alternatives to audiences vulnerable to extremist messages.
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN SOUTH SUDAN
The national dialogue just launched in South Sudan by President Salva Kiir would only be credible if opposition groups genuinely participated, the senior United Nations official in that country said as he briefed the Security Council on the significant military, humanitarian and political challenges facing South Sudan.
"Italy has a substantial presence of NGOs in the country, and also through them we follow with apprehension the plight of the population. [...] It is up to the Government and opposition groups of South Sudan first to help make things improving before time will be over. For this reason, we recall them that the solution to the crisis can only be political. And political solutions – all of them – entails the will to compromise."
OPEN DEBATE ON "PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS IN ARMED CONFLICT"
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres affirmed that “no one is winning today’s wars, everybody is losing,” drawing particular attention to continuing attacks against hospitals and wide-spread sexual violence. Such brutality had driven more than 65 million people around the globe to flee their homes. Relentless attacks on cities in Syria showed no signs of abating, while in South Sudan, attacks continued to target civilians and aid workers. In Yemen, meanwhile, civilians are trapped and targeted by all sides.
50 million people in urban areas now bore the brunt of conflict. “At the ICRC, we see daily the realities of what happens when civilians are not protected,” said Ms Beerli, describing cases of children as young as three years old being killed or treated for the loss of limbs, urging all belligerent parties to avoid using wide-impact explosive weapons in populated places, and call upon Member States engaged in alliances and coalitions to focus greater attention on the behaviour and attitudes of those bearing arms.
"Security Council resolution 2286 (2016) had sent a powerful message to the international community by calling on all parties to conflicts to give special protection to medical and humanitarian personnel and facilities, and to ensure accountability for violations. The effective protection of civilians required two priorities, “one upstream, the other downstream”, namely, prevention and accountability. Strengthening mechanisms of early warning and early action must be coupled with investigations of violations. As well, perpetrators must be brought to justice, including by making larger use of International Criminal Court referrals. [...] Italy has been among the first signatories and promoters of the Kigali Principles on the protection of civilians in Peacekeeping operations, rightly recalled in the SG report."
ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION TO EXTEND AFRICAN UNION MISSION MANDATE (AMISOM)
The Security Council today decided to authorize member States of the African Union to maintain the deployment of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) until 31 August.
Determining that the situation in Somalia remained a threat to international peace and security in the region, the UNSC unanimously adopted resolution 2355 (2017) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
BRIEFING BY THE SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS (PALESTINE)
While welcoming the United States President’s personal engagement in Israel-Palestine issues, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process warned of an “explosive environment” developing on the ground, as the Security Council considered the situation in the region, including the Palestinian question.
The parties could not afford to miss further opportunities to resolve their differences. “If Israelis and Palestinians hope to extract themselves from the immeasurable burden this conflict has wrought, they must be willing to take the painful steps that ultimately lead to peace."
The key messages to both sides from the United Nations remained consistent, reiterating that continuing Israel’s occupation and settlement activities is untenable. The situation must end through negotiations addressing all final-status issues, and immediate steps must be taken to improve the daily lives of Palestinians, for their own part, Palestinians must combat violence and incitement while forging genuine internal reconciliation.
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN YEMEN
Only an end to war would reverse the suffering endured by the people of Yemen, a civil society representative from that country told the Security Council, emphasizing the conflict is taking the greatest toll on women.
Parties to the conflict must urgently come together to prevent the further deepening of a catastrophic situation.
"Yemen remains fertile ground for extremist groups, with Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula operating in Hadramout, Aden, Al-Dhali’, Ma’reb and Shabwa governorates. The absence of stability, economic opportunity and rule of law means that Yemen will continue to be a haven for such groups unless there is lasting peace.”
"The country is now the world’s largest food-security crisis, with more than 17 million people food insecure, 6.8 million of whom were one step away from famine. The strain on Yemen’s system had become all too evident over the last month, with the extensive resurgence of cholera"
“We hate war, we want to live" is the most common refrain heard from the vast majority of Yemenis who are not fighting.
BRIEFING ON THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN SYRIA
Notwithstanding the ceasefire declared in 2016, fighting in several areas of Syria continued to devastate civilians, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council, citing casualties caused by terrorist attacks and by air strikes designed to counter them.
"The reduction in violence should have prompted an increase in humanitarian access. As we have seen, this has not been the case so far. In this regard we expect that through the implementation of the Astana agreement of 4th of May, substantive and sustainable results can finally be achieved on the humanitarian front. [...] In this framework the United Nations must have an active role in the implementation of the humanitarian dimension of the Astana agreement, so to ensure the respect of the humanitarian principals,ensuring that assistance can go in according to the UN's impartial assessment of needs and that people who wish to leave or require medical evacuation can do so respecting humanitarian law and principles."