PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT - THE SITUATION IN BURUNDI
The Security Council, in a presidential statement, expressed deep concern over the political situation in Burundi — including increasing numbers of refugees and reports of torture, forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings — and strongly urged the Government and all parties to immediately cease and reject such violence.
ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION 2370 (2017) - PREVENT TERRORISTS FROM ACQUIRING WEAPONS
The Security Council urged Member States to act cooperatively to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons and called upon them to counter threats posed by improvised explosive devices and to become party to related international and regional instruments.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2370 (2017), the Council reaffirmed its previous decision in resolution 1373 (2001) that all States should refrain from providing any form of support to those involved in terrorist acts, including by eliminating the supply of weapons to terrorists. The Council also encouraged Member States to take appropriate steps to prevent and disrupt activity that would violate Council-mandated arms embargos and reaffirmed its intention to strengthen relevant arms embargoes’ monitoring mechanisms.
Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), stressed the need to further strengthen cross-border partnerships and operational responses, involve diverse stakeholders — including the private sector — and tailor assistance to address gaps in capacity.
Jehangir Khan, Officer in Charge of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism Terrorists, said terrorists relied on legal and illegal supply chains to procure parts, including for improvised explosive devices. The illicit online trade in weapons through the use of the so-called dark web was particularly worrisome. Terrorists had also improved their capabilities to design and manufacture improvised explosive devices out of commercially available dual-use components. As such, the focus must not only be on preventing the illicit trade in arms, but also ensuring that terrorist groups could not acquire essential components through legal or illegal commercial channels.
Weixiong Chen, Acting Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, stressed the need to properly control weapons held by defence and security forces, prevent the flow of weapons to conflict zones, strengthen expert training, implement arms embargoes and expand partnerships with United Nations entities, international and regional organizations and civil society.
Emmanuel Roux, Special Representative of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) to the United Nation, said firearms used in conflict zones often reappeared on the streets of major cities. Foreign terrorism fighters could exploit the tactics learned on the battlefield, the contacts and supply chains or organized crime groups they once belonged to and new technologies such as 3D printing to access and use weapons.
Amb. Lambertini said that the illicit trade of small weapons contributed to instability worldwide. Noting that terrorists’ access to light weapons and munitions had been facilitated by the Internet, enabling them to remain anonymous, he stressed the importance of Member States sharing information on terrorist activities. In that regard, Italy had been active with the European Union and continued to offer its cooperation, including through up-to-date technology and stockpile management tips. He stressed the need to make a clear distinction between legal and illegal weapons and said he looked forward to working together with partners toward a strong outcome of the 2018 Review on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
BRIEFING ON GENERAL ISSUES CONCERNING SANCTIONS: ENHANCING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF UN SANCTIONS.
Effective implementation of sanctions required support from all Member States, the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs told the Security Council, emphasizing that when used effectively, they should lead to comprehensive political strategies for preventing and peacefully resolving conflicts.
“Sanctions are not an end in themselves,” said Assistant Secretary-General Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, echoing a sentiment expressed by many delegates as the Council considered the subject of enhancing the effectiveness of United Nations sanctions. Having evolved over the years from comprehensive to more precise and targeted measures, sanctions were increasingly used to counter terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Tailored and calibrated measures were also used to deter unconstitutional changes of government and the illicit exploitation of natural resources that funded the activities of armed groups.
Ambassador Lambertini said that more needed to be done, including in the area of assessing and reviewing progress on sanctions implementation. Sanctions must never be an end in itself. Sanctions must never be an end in itself but are a useful tool to support political processes, negotiations and dialogue. He stressed the need to ensure coherence and establish a periodic review which could have an impact on the design and implementation of sanctions regime. Input from Member States would help the Council adjust its approach and improve the management of socioeconomic and humanitarian unintended consequences. He called for constant and effective dialogue with Member States.
EMERGENCY MEETING ADOPTION SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA
The Security Council further strengthened its sanctions regime against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, unanimously adopting Resolution 2371 (2017), condemning in the strongest terms that country’s ballistic missile launches and reaffirming its decision that Pyongyang shall abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.
Italy welcomed the unanimous adoption of this resolution. "The Security Council is once again sending an unequivocal message to the DPRK: the International Community is united in condemning North Korea’s increasing provocations and is determined to confront this new level of threat to international peace and security by taking further action." The resolution adopted provided for the broadest, most comprehensive set of sanctions ever applied by this Council.
BRIEFING ON PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA - WOMEN PEACE AND SECURITY
Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, described her recent visit to Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as the first of its kind — a high-level meeting focused entirely on women, peace and security. Joining her on that mission were the Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and the African Union Commission’s Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security. “We were four African women, from two organizations, visiting two countries, with one goal: advancing peace by advancing the equality, empowerment and well-being of women,” she said.
Ambassador Inigo Lambertini said it was vital to ensure better gender mainstreaming and for the United Nations to continue its advocacy work in support of national efforts. Women were a driving force for development even in the most challenging situations, he said. He underscored the major threat in Nigeria posed by Boko Haram to peace and security, including through the abduction of women and children, adding that in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, scene of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, women and children were suffering most of the consequences. He expressed deep concern over the political situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, emphasizing the urgent need to implement the 31 December 2016 peace agreement and for elections to be organized with full and equal participation of women.
BRIEFING - PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA - PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS
El-Ghassim Wane, Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, emphasized the importance of coordination as he briefed the Council on progress being made by the G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) in making the 5,000-strong Joint Force operational along Mali’s border with Niger and Burkina Faso by October.
Recalling the 21 June adoption of resolution 2359 (2017), by which the Council welcomed the Joint Force’s deployment, he said success would depend in good part on deeper regional partnership, as well as joint work with African Union and United Nations strategies for the Sahel, the peace process in Mali and support from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
Ambassador Lambertini said Italy country witnessed daily the effects of instability in the Sahel on the Mediterranean. He welcomed the decision of G5 Sahel countries to create a Joint Force, pledging Italy’s support at the bilateral and international levels, including at the United Nations. It was particularly crucial to ensure synergy between the Joint Force and MINUSMA and to have a political strategy to tackle the region’s problems. The United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel remained critical despite that its implementation was lacking. Governance, security and development were interconnected, he said, and financing for the G5 Sahel forces must be ensured by various actors, including the European Union and the United Nations, at both the political and economic levels. He highlighted the role of African regional organizations and the concept of African ownership in that context.
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION KOSOVO (UNMIK)
Welcoming Kosovo’s recent free and fair elections, the head of the United Nations mission there stressed the need to form a new government without delay, resume dialogue with Serbia, and quell the rise in inflammatory nationalist rhetoric.
Zahir Tanin, SRSG said the present reporting quarter had been dominated by the early general election and lengthy negotiations to form a new government. The election had been generally free, fair and competitive, he continued, recognizing the important contribution of the European Union observer team, among others. Noting that the voter turnout had been highest in Kosovo Serb areas, he said that group had evolved from a position of boycotting Kosovo elections to active participation. However, women’s participation and leadership remained limited, with no female candidates for Prime Minister and low representation of women in electoral bodies, he noted. The greatest concern was that the election process itself consumed institutional energy and that major social and economic opportunities were missed.
Amb. Lambertini said that, whereas Italy's commitment to supporting countries on the path to joining the European Union remained unwavering, Western Balkan nations must deliver on their own agenda for European integration. Italy took note of the internal dialogue initiated by the President of Serbia, and urged both Belgrade and Pristina to revitalize discussion, he said. Emphasizing the need to implement policy relating to economic stability, social inclusion and rule the of law, he urged all parties to come together and establish a constructive dynamic among themselves while also fighting corruption.
BRIEFING ON DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO MANDATE
Tremendous challenges were facing the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the dynamics of the conflict ever-changing, an illicit trade in artisanal gold funding increasingly fragmented but heavily networked armed groups and human rights violations at significant levels, the Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) told the Security Council.
Amb. Cardi stressed that the killers of the two United Nations experts must be brought to justice. Expressing deep concern for the exploitation of natural resources, he stressed that curbing illicit trafficking was essential to ensuring security. Calling on the Government to redouble its efforts to stem illicit trafficking, particularly in gold mining, he expressed serious concern about reports that some Government officials were involved. The two experts had lost their lives investigating human rights violations in the Kasaï Province, he reiterated, calling on Congolese authorities to cooperate with the Expert Group. The perpetrators must be prosecuted and brought to justice. He also expressed concern about the slowness of implementing the 31 December Agreement, urging the Government to implement that accord, quickly define the electoral calendar and hold the elections as swiftly as possible. He also expressed support to the sanctions regime.
BRIEFING ON THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN YEMEN
The “deplorable, avoidable and completely man-made catastrophe” in Yemen continued to worsen and ravage the lives of millions of people facing famine, the world’s largest ever single-year cholera outbreak, daily deprivation and injustice, the United Nations humanitarian affairs chief told the Security Council.
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, said Yemen was going through a critical and agonizing period. “In brief, death looms for Yemenis by air, land and sea,” he said, including military clashes in several governorates, hostilities along the Yemeni-Saudi border and elsewhere and a Government offensive — backed by the United Arab Emirates and United States special forces — in Shabwa targeting Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula fighters, in addition to uncontrolled migration through the Gulf of Aden and unprecedented levels of disease and epidemics.
Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said it grieved him that in the last two years, despite his best efforts, he had been unable to make any significant improvement in the war-torn country. “On the contrary, the Yemini people’s suffering has relentlessly intensified,” he added. Some 17 million Yemenis did not know if and where they would get their next meal, nearly 7 million were facing the threat of famine, and 16 million lacked access to water, he continued, also adding: “We must remember that these figures represent human faces and enormous suffering.”
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN PALESTINE
Miroslav Jenča, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said the recent crisis in Jerusalem — including several violent attacks and the resulting temporary closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque — had once again highlighted the unsustainability of the current situation on the ground. It also demonstrated the continued need for a political horizon and a clear re-commitment by the parties and the international community to realizing a two-State solution that met the legitimate national aspirations and security needs of both Palestinians and Israelis.
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN SUDAN
Noting that “little meaningful progress” had been made in implementing South Sudan’s landmark 2015 peace agreement, a senior United Nations peacekeeping official called on the warring parties today urgently to embark on peaceful negotiations and compromise to “bring the country back from the impending abyss”.
El Ghassim Wane, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations said more work was needed to implement the peace accord — known formally as the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan — which had marked its second anniversary last week. Calling on the Council to express itself “strongly, unanimously and unreservedly” in support of that effort, he noted that the country’s political, security and humanitarian situation remained a cause for serious concern, with continuing clashes between armed militias and negative impacts on the provision of humanitarian aid to a population in dire need.
Nicholas Haysom, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Sudan and South Sudan, also expressed concern about the security situation and the trajectory and depth of the crisis. Calling for a clear commitment to an inclusive and credible peace process, he described several recent international and regional support efforts — including Uganda’s initiative to reunify factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Kenya’s initiative to host opposition parties — which had achieved varying levels of success.
Festus Mogae, Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission and former President of Botswana, also briefed via video link, echoing the importance of the High‑Level Revitalization Forum as well as that of IGAD’s related “One Voice Initiative”. Recalling that the 2015 peace agreement had been signed amid high expectations, he said “from day one” its implementation had been hindered by lack of compromise, leading to a spate of violence in July 2016.
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN GUINEA BISSAU
Only by fulfilling the minimum conditions of the Conakry Agreement could Guinea-Bissau make progress towards breaking its years-long political crisis, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative told the Security Council, calling for better coordinated, sustained international involvement.
Modibo Ibrahim Touré, who also heads the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), said tensions had reached a new peak three months ago, leading the Group of International Partners [African Union, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, European Union and United Nations] to publicly express concern over increasing inflammatory rhetoric and the threat of violent demonstrations.
COMMITTEE 1718 ON NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS
Ambassador Cardi chaired the Security Council Committee meeting on North Korea sanctions.
"UNSC Members agreed to keep putting pressure on the DPRK regime and started the planning of a briefing to the membership for a better implementation of the sanctions"
BRIEFING ON LIBYA SANCTIONS (UNSMIL)
Amid a host of security, economic and governance challenges, a “window of opportunity” had emerged in Libya — home to the United Nations largest diplomatic mission — and it was up to its people to seize it, stressed the Organization’s top official in the country as he briefed the Security Council.
Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), outlined his initial visits with stakeholders across Libya since his appointment on 22 June. Among those, he had met with Prime Minister Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj, Chairman of the High Council of State Al-Sweihli and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as military leaders, security officials, women, youth and activists. He had also met with leaders in neighbouring States, including Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria and Italy, but had not been able to visit the south of Libya due to external restrictions.
Throughout those meetings, he said, “a clear picture is emerging — people are frustrated with their deteriorating living conditions.” It was unnatural that in a country as wealthy as Libya, university departments were closing because the outrageous gap in the exchange rate had led the foreign faculty to quit en masse. People were tired of the endless cuts in electricity and water, which in turn took down the telephone system and the Internet. Indeed, Libya was an oil-producing country where people must queue, sometimes for an entire day, for 20 litres of petrol.
OPEN DEBATE - PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS: PEACEBUILDING AND SUSTAINING PEACE
new “strategic compact” for sustaining peace, outlining the primary duties of host countries and the supportive role of the United Nations, would help to ensure the success of the Organization’s peacekeeping operations in the myriad context-sensitive situations they faced, the Security Council heard.
Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed said that striving to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development would enormously enhance such efforts. The Secretary-General’s new vision required a whole-of-United Nations approach, placing Member States in the lead, prioritizing political solutions and prevention, and leveraging human rights, peace and development in a mutually reinforcing manner. With the 2030 Agenda and the sustaining peace resolutions, “we have mapped the road to a safer, more resilient and sustainable world,” she said. The challenge was to ensure that gains were irreversible.
Peacekeeping mandates must have the core aim of supporting inclusive political solutions and the de-escalation of tensions, which in turn, required clear exit strategies to prevent “mission creep” and flexible, adaptable mandates, Ambassador Lambertini said. Regular reviews were also critical and the United Nations should not hesitate to phase out missions in favour of presences with a “lighter footprint”. Spotlighting the importance of institutional consolidation, he advocated zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse on the part of blue helmets. The involvement of regional organizations under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter was critical to finding sustainable solutions, he added, pointing to increased cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union as a positive example. Highlighting the important role of women in peacebuilding and mediation, he cited Italy’s network of women mediators in the Mediterranean who were helping to bridge capacity gaps, and voiced support for use of assessed contributions in financing peace operations.
PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT ON NON-PROLIFERATION/DPRK
The Security Council strongly condemned the August 28 2017 (local time) ballistic missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) that flew over Japan, as well as the multiple ballistic missile launches it conducted on 25 August 2017.
The Security Council further condemned the DPRK for its outrageous actions and demanded that the DPRK immediately ceased all such actions. The Security Council stressed that these DPRK actions were not just a threat to the region, but to all UN Member States.
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN SYRIA
Despite having briefed the Security Council more than two dozen times on the brutal conflict raging in Syria, the United Nations top humanitarian official stressed that “none of us can escape a share in the shame” of not having ended the tragedy, as he addressed the 15-member body for the final time.
Staffan de Mistura, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, speaking via video link from Geneva, outlined diplomatic efforts carried out since the conclusion of the seventh round of intra-Syrian talks on 14 July. While there was undoubtedly still violence in Syria, the trend of de-escalation continued. Following a series of agreements with armed groups, including with the support of Egypt and the Russian Federation, violence had reduced significantly in parts of the Ghouta de-escalation zone. In Homs, the Russian Federation was engaged in efforts to reach a ceasefire, but there were concerns over reports of shelling and airstrikes north of the city.
Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, described as “sad, tragic and blunt truth” that, in his last address to the Council, he was still urging it to stop the Syrian people from paying the price of political and diplomatic failure. “Syria is a conflict with an atrocious, incalculable human cost — one that has forced us to see the very worst of humanity,” he said. Month after month, the fearful plight of Syrians “sears into our hearts” and “torments our minds”.
The Security Council decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for one year, authorizing it to take all necessary action to ensure that southern Lebanon was not used for hostile activities.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2373 (2017), the Council, calling for full implementation of resolution 1701 (2006), commended the Force’s positive role for having helped to establish, together with the Lebanese Armed Forces, a new strategic environment in southern Lebanon.
Ambassador Cardi said UNIFIL had contributed to maintaining calm for Lebanon and Israel. Aware of concerns of illicit weapons, he cautioned against blurring the lines of responsibilities of the Force and the Government of Lebanon. Promoting confusion in that regard stripped the Lebanese authorities of their position, he said, noting that operative paragraph 15 did not change the mandate of UNIFIL. Turning to working methods, he said the Council must give due consideration to the views of troop-contributing countries whose men and women were risking their lives on the ground. More should be done to reach working methods that could better serve the Council’s common purpose.