Wrap up of the Security Council activities for January [fr]
Wrap up of the month - Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 29 January 2016
I would like to begin by warmly thanking the Ambassador of Uruguay and his team for all the excellent work they carried out this month. It is no easy task to join the Council and immediately assume such a heavy presidency. You, Mr. President, did so brilliantly and with great competency and professionalism. On behalf of France, I thank and warmly congratulate you, Sir.
There is a great deal to be said at the beginning of this year. I will not go back to the Council’s important and difficult mission to Burundi, on which I briefed the Council earlier today. However, I will say that it should encourage us to review our methodology in terms of preparing for such missions, and we must quickly draw political lessons from those visits, in light of the decisions, as I said, taken by the African Union at its Summit.
Today I would like above all to assess the positive trends and signs of hope that are emerging on various important issues with the hope that we will see more hopeful developments in the future. In the Central African Republic, we welcome the commitment of the Transitional Authorities and the Central African people to organizing and participating in the elections of 30 December, which took place peacefully. The constructive engagement of Central African political actors is commendable and should be continued. We also welcome the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, who worked to provide political, security and logistical support for the elections.
On 28 January, the Constitutional Court announced the final results of the first round of presidential elections. Technical difficulties led to invalidization of the first round of legislative elections. The objective should still be to complete the transition in accordance with the agreed timetable on 31 March. New electionsand the second round of the presidential election will be held on 14 February. At the end of this election cycle, the Central African Republic will have a freely and democratically elected Government and will be able to continue its reconciliation and stabilization efforts with the support of the international community. Let us remain committed to supporting that momentum.
There has also been good news from Côte d’Ivoire, where the presidential election held in October last year demonstrated the progress made by the country in all areas. Côte d’Ivoire demonstrates the extent to which a peacekeeping mission can assist a country in addressing and emerging from a crisis. The Council drew on the lessons learned by deciding the immediate drawdown of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI). Ultimately, the termination of UNOCI will be the best symbol of its success. The strategic review that the Secretariat will conduct over the next two months will enable modalities to be defined. A prompt, effective and well-organized withdrawal of UNOCI will be the best way to build on gains made, demonstrate our confidence in the country and its people, and ensure a strong legacy for Côte d’Ivoire and for international peace and security.
The promising new momentum in intercommunal talks in Cyprus, which the Council acknowledged in the unanimous adoption of resolution 2263 (2016) yesterday, gives us hope. We must continue to relentlessly support the efforts and resolve of the two leaders to reunify the island, in accordance with parameters outlined by the United Nations and in line with the European Union acquis.
Last Monday, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2261 (2016), establishing a United Nations mission to observe and monitor the ceasefire expected in Colombia in the coming months as part of the peace process. As previously mentioned, the adoption of the resolution constitutes a success for the parties as the newly established mission will be a factor in concluding the talks currently under way for a ceasefire. It is also a success for the United Nations and for the Council, which responded promptly to the appeal made by Colombia in an unusual context in which a country turns of its own volition to the Council to request its assistance in implementing a negotiated settlement. We must now meet expectations and ensure that the planning of the mission takes place in a timely manner. France will continue to work resolutely to that end.
January was also a memorable month for non-proliferation, which is a harbinger both of hope and of threats. As to hope, on 16 January the Security Council received a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency confirming that Iran was implementing the initial provisions of the Vienna agreement, thereby triggering Implementation Day. The strict and good-faith implementation of the Vienna agreement will be the only way to guarantee the credibility of the agreement and to ensure that the resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue is sustainable. We will continue to monitor the situation.
With regard to threats, on 6 January that North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in a gross violation of Security Council resolutions. Such an act poses a serious threat to regional and international peace and security. We agreed to respond by holding emergency consultations on that same day. We hope to swiftly adopt a strong resolution under Chapter VII that will substantially strengthen sanctions. Three weeks after the nuclear test and facing the threat of a ballistic missile test, it is now time for us to take action.
In Syria, there is a prevailing sense of both hope and bitterness. Hope was kindled by the adoption of resolution 2254 (2015) and the prospects for the start of political negotiations, and bitterness by the conditions in which the negotiations are taking placing because there has been no improvement in the humanitarian situation. In early January, humanitarian workers described unbearable conditions in Madaya and other besieged cities in Syria. The Council could not remain indifferent to such testimony. That is why France immediately reacted by calling a public meeting of the Security Council to warn about the plight of civilians in besieged towns in Syria (see S/PV.7610). We recall and stress that humanitarian access to civilian populations is not a favour or concession to be made by the Syrian regime and other players involved; it is an absolute requirement. A credible political process requires an immediate improvement in the situation on the ground for Syrians.
At the public debate on the Middle East held on 26 January (see S/PV.7612), we stressed the importance of a swift start to inter-Syrian negotiations, reiterated the need for rapid and considerable improvement in the humanitarian situation, and called for the discussions to focus on the political transition, in accordance with the terms of the Geneva communiqué (S/2012/523, annex). We hope that the Vienna process will meet those objectives. A political solution alone will put a lasting end to the suffering of civilians and reduce the terrorist threat that we all face.
I conclude by warmly thanking the Uruguayan presidency and wishing Venezuela every success as it assumes the presidency. My last word will be for our dear Movses Abelian, who has been appointed to a new post by the Secretary-General. Movses has embodied the institutional memory of the Council for many years, and has given us his precise, professional and wise counsel seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The French delegation warmly thanks him and wishes him every success in his new and important mission with the General Assembly.