Argentina assumes presidency of the Security Council for August and announces its programme of work

Wide view of the Security Council during its meeting on the situation in Cyprus. The Council voted to adopt resolution 2114 (2013) to extend the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 31 January 2014. 30 July 2013 United Nations, New YorkThe Security Council’s work for August would include two open debates, respectively, on the cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, and on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, Permanent Representative of Argentina, María Cristina Perceval, said today at Headquarters as she assumed the 15-nation body’s presidency.

Argentine President Cristina Fernández would chair the debate on the first topic, which was slated for 6 August and open to non-Council members and other organizations, Ms. Perceval said at the press conference. The debate would explore how cooperation between the Council and regional entities could help prevent conflict.

The main speaker of the meeting would be United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, with the representatives of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Union of South American Nations, the African Union and the League of Arab States expected to join him as “panellists”, or briefers. Other regional organizations, such as the European Union and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) were also invited to participate.

Those regional institutions would share their experiences and lessons learned in working with the Security Council “on a daily basis”, she said. Many Member States would be represented by foreign ministers or their deputies, demonstrating their commitment to the topic, she added.

The other open debate, to be held on 19 August, World Humanitarian Day, would emphasize the humanitarian aspect of civilian protection.

[The international Day was designated by the General Assembly to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations Headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, which had killed 22 United Nations staff].

Briefers would include Mr. Ban, as well as Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, and the International Committee of the Red Cross Director for International Law and Cooperation, Philip Spoerri.

Another highlight this month would be the 28 August debate on Haiti, she said. The Secretary-General’s semi-annual report on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in that country (MINUSTAH) was expected to be issued on 23 August. Its earlier-than-scheduled release made it possible to hold that debate this month. The Secretary-General’s new Special Representative and head of MINUSTAH, Sandra Honoré, would brief.

Other notable events in the programme of work for August, which was available to correspondents in the room and on the Security Council’s website, were a debate on United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), as well as the adoption of a resolution renewing the mandate of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), both on 29 August.

Asked if the Council would hold a meeting on Syria, Ms. Perceval said that that topic was in the footnote of the work programme, meaning that a meeting could be convened immediately if the Council so decided.

To a question about the possibility of the United States presenting an update on progress made in Palestine-Israel peace talks as part of the Council’s 20 August meeting on the Middle East, she clarified that it was a briefing, which would be given by the Department of Political Affairs. In her national capacity, she added that her delegation acknowledged the United States Secretary of State John Kerry’s diplomatic efforts and supported a two-State solution.

Regarding a dispute over the sovereignty of an archipelago located in the South Atlantic Ocean, she said that issue was addressed in the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization.

Asked if the Council expected an outcome document from the 19 August debate on the protection of civilians, she said “no”. But, for the 6 August debate on the cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, her delegation would seek consensus on a presidential statement with a clear outline of what had been done and what remained to be done.

To a correspondent who argued that the Council was not addressing the issue of terrorism adequately, pointing to situations in Pakistan, Mali and elsewhere, she disagreed, saying that the 15-member body is seized with the issue and “always condemns terrorist attacks”.