Briefing by Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan on the Council’s September Program of Work

Ertuğrul Apakan 02.09.2010
It is a great pleasure for me to address you as the President of the Security Council for the month of September.

As you know, this is Turkey’s second Presidency of the Council since the beginning of its membership last year. But given the busy schedule of September for both the Security Council and the General Assembly, this is indeed a challenging one.

We have just adopted the program of work, which I hope has already been distributed to you. As you will see, we have one or sometimes more meetings on almost every day except for the high-level segment of the General Assembly.

That said, the Council members have been extremely cooperative in the preparation and adoption of the program. We are confident that, this spirit of cooperation within the Council and the valuable support of the general UN membership, as well as that of the Secretariat and the press corps, will enable us to steer the Council in the right direction.

Now, without further ado, let me briefly walk you through the program and highlight certain elements, and then I will be pleased to answer your questions.

Apart from the two thematic meetings we have introduced to the Council’s agenda for this month, which I will come back at the end of my introductory remarks, the rest of the meetings are rather periodic discussions based on the reports of the Secretary-General and the presentations by either the Secretariat or Chairmen of the Sanctions Committees.

On African issues, we have on our agenda Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan, Somalia and Sierra Leone.

On Liberia, Sierra-Leone and Somalia the Council will discuss the recent developments in those countries on the basis of the Secretary-General’s reports.

Whereas on Sudan, there will be two presentations to the Council; one by the Secretariat about the ongoing referenda preparations and the other by the distinguished Permanent Representative of Austria regarding the activities of the Sudan Sanctions Committee.

As regards the DRC, on the other hand, you will recall that the Council had consultations on the 26th of August concerning the recent case of mass rape in eastern DRC and asked to be briefed in more detail by the Secretariat upon the return of the DPKO mission to the country.

Now, on the 7th of September, Assistant-Secretary-General Mr. Atul Khare, who has been dispatched to the DRC, will provide this briefing to the Council together with Ms. Margot Wallström, Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

We attach great importance to ascertain the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic incident so as to assess what more could be done in order to ensure an effective protection of civilians. The meeting on the 7th will be an opportunity to do so.

On Middle East, the Council will have its monthly consideration of the Arab-Israeli issues on the 17th of September, and will hear a presentation by the distinguished Permanent Representative of Japan about the activities of the Iran Sanctions Committee on the 15th of September.

Regarding the rest of the agenda items, we will discuss the situation in Nepal, Haiti and Afghanistan, again on the basis of the periodic reports of the Secretary-General.

We will also hold an election on the 9th of September to fill a vacancy in the International Court of Justice for the remainder of the term of office of Judge Thomas Buergenthal (United States).

In September, mandates of the three UN Missions, namely those in Nepal, Liberia and Sierra Leone, will also expire. Thus, the Council, in addition to its consideration of the situation in these countries, will also review the mandates of these missions and will decide on their extension.

Finally, let me briefly touch upon the two thematic meetings we proposed to organize in September. In fact, I have already asked the Secretariat to bring enough copies of the concept papers we have prepared for these meetings. I am sure you will find the answers to many of your questions there, but allow me to give you an overview.

First, the summit meeting of the Council on the 23rd of September on “Ensuring the Security Council’s Effective Role in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security”.

It will be chaired by H.E. Abdullah Gül, President of the Republic of Turkey, and will be attended at the level of Heads of State and Government by the majority of the Council members. Secretary-General will also participate and brief the Council.

We see this meeting as an important opportunity to reiterate the Council’s firm and active commitment to fulfill its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. And do so in a rapidly changing security environment.

Indeed, the high-level exchange among the Council members is expected to raise global awareness on the new and evolving threats and challenges to international peace and security, and empower the Council and the operational tools available to it, namely preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peacekeeping and post-conflict peace-building.

The last summit level meeting of the Council on this topic was held in 2000. Ten years later, we believe it is now time to undertake another strategic review of the international security environment and see whether and how the Council has to adapt itself in the face of changing circumstances.

At the end of the meeting, we intend to adopt a Presidential Statement that will hopefully underline the need for a comprehensive approach to peace, as well as the necessity for new and stronger partnerships between the Security Council and our collaborators within and outside the UN system.

The second thematic debate we intend to organize is about counter-terrorism and it will be held on the 27th of September under the chairmanship of H.E. Ahmed Davutoğlu, Foreign Minister of Turkey.

Again we expect a number of Ministers from the Council members to attend this important meeting which will take stock of the global fight against terrorism almost ten years after the September 11 attacks and the adoption of the Security Council resolution 1373.

It is our firm belief that the international community has since come a long way in its combat against terrorism. However, this scourge has unfortunately proven to be extremely resilient by adapting itself to changing circumstances and exploiting every gap or loophole they find in our common stance.

Therefore, we have to be equally committed and resilient in our fight against this threat. We must never be complacent with our achievements and always try to do better. And, considering that no country is immune from the peril of terrorism, we have to do so collectively and in solidarity with each other.

We hope that the discussion on the 27th and the Presidential Statement we intend to adopt at the end of the meeting will help reenergize the international community’s campaign against terrorism and highlight the areas of priority that requires continued and concerted attention and action.

Let me stop here and take your questions.

But before doing so, allow me also to reiterate that Turkey attaches utmost importance to transparency and interaction of the Security Council and thus we will always be available to you whenever you have questions, inquiries, comments and/or suggestions as to the work of the Council.

Thank you