Note: Owing to the liquidity crisis impacting our Organization, only a partial summary of statements made in today’s meeting of the Security Council is available at this time. The complete summary will be issued later as Press Release SC/14071.
The Security Council issued a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2020/1) today reaffirming its commitment to the Charter of the United Nations adopted 75 years ago this year and calling on Member States to fully comply with the purposes and principles of the Organization’s founding document.
It approved the text at the start of a ministerial-level open debate on upholding the Charter to maintain international peace and security, with the Secretary-General and the Chair of the Elders delivering opening remarks.
Through the statement, the 15-member organ also reaffirmed its commitment to an international order based on international law as the indispensable foundation of a more peaceful, prosperous and just world.
It reaffirmed its commitment to multilateralism and the central role of the United Nations, encouraged the Secretary-General to continue his efforts to assist Member States and regional organizations in upholding the Charter, and stressed its determination in upholding the Charter in all of its activities.
The open debate will continue on Friday, 10 January.
ANTA NIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, noting that 2020 marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Organization, said the New Year has begun with fresh turmoil and long-standing suffering, with geopolitical tensions most recently in the Gulf reaching dangerous levels and trust within and among nations on the decline. In the United Nations, including the Security Council, Member States are struggling or failing to find common ground, while the climate crisis is growing in fury. At this time of global divisions and turmoil, the Charter of the United Nations remains a shared framework of international cooperation for the common good and a reminder of the primacy of the rule of law and human dignity. The principles contained within it including non-intervention, self-determination, the sovereign equality of Member States and clear rules governing the use of force have saved lives, advanced economic and social progress and avoided another world war. But when those principles are flouted, put aside or applied selectively, the result has been chaos, death, disillusion and mistrust, he said.
Our shared challenge is to do far better in upholding the Charter’s values and fulfilling its promise to succeeding generations he said. Its purposes and principles are as relevant as ever, but the tools to apply them must be used with greater determination and creativity. That includes the implementation of Council decisions by Member States, as well as investing in conflict prevention, he said, noting the many available tools such as negotiation, mediation, conciliation and arbitration set out in Chapter VI on the pacific settlement of disputes. He called on the Council to make greater use of the powers granted to it by the Charter, including the investigation of disputes in accordance with Chapter VI and the referral of legal questions to the International Court of Justice for advisory opinions. The Sustainable Development Goals are among the best tools for prevention, he added, urging all Member States to invest more in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
While Chapter VIII on regional arrangements predates most of the Organization’s regional partners, it sets a framework for cooperation and division of labour, he continued, noting the ways through which the United Nations is investing in partnerships in crucial new ways with the African Union, the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Peacekeeping is not mentioned in the Charter, but it is firmly rooted in its ideals, he added. Today, some 100,000 Blue Helmets are deployed in many of the world’s most troubled regions, and peacekeeping remains a vital and cost-effective investment in global peace and security. But to be effective, it requires strong international support. In that regard, the Action for Peacekeeping initiative stresses a shared commitment to make peacekeeping missions stronger, safer and fit for the future.
He went on to say that the privilege of Council membership carries vital responsibilities to uphold the Charter’s tenets and values, particularly in preventing and addressing conflict. Present and past disagreements must not be an obstacle to action on today’s threats he said, adding: We must avoid double standards. But also perceptions of double standards must not be an excuse for no standards at all.
War is never inevitable, but a matter of choice, and often the result of miscalculations. Peace is also never inevitable, but the product of hard work, and it must never be taken for granted. At this time when global fault lines risk exploding, we must return to fundamental principles. We must return to the framework that has kept us together. We must come home to the UN Charter he said. The most effective way for Member States to collectively face global challenges is to strengthen their commitment to the Charter a resilient, adaptable and visionary document and to the very notion of international cooperation. The Charter compels Member States to do everything in their power to save people from the scourge of war and injustice, and as the world faces both new threats and new opportunities, that is the work that must define the Organization’s seventy-fifth anniversary.
MARY ROBINSON, Chair of The Elders, said that she wished that Nelson Mandela, the founder of The Elders, would have been present at the meeting today to address the Council, highlighting that the world faces two distinct existential threats nuclear proliferation and the climate crisis. Responding to these threats is critical but made harder at a time when multilateral cooperation is being undermined by populism and nationalism. A collaborative approach is at the heart of the Charter and is the only way to tackle challenges such as nuclear proliferation and the climate crisis, she said, stressing the need for such cooperation amid the alarming escalation of tensions in the Middle East. Iran’s Foreign Minister was due to address the Council today but was prevented from doing so. This is highly regrettable she said.
Chapter VI of the Charter requires parties to any dispute that threatens international peace and security to hold negotiation or use other peaceful means to resolve their conflict, she said. The gravity of the current situation in the Middle East means that dialogue and negotiations are urgently needed she said, calling on the representatives participating in the meeting to consider what the United Nations can do to bring them to the table in the spirit of the Charter.
On nuclear arms control, The Elders have spoken out clearly and forcefully about the need for all nuclear Powers to get serious about disarmament based on four D’s the doctrine of no first use , de-alerting by taking all warheads off high-alert status, reducing deployment of operational nuclear warheads and decreasing the number of nuclear weapons in existence, with the United States and the Russian Federation reducing to no more than 500 each. The Elders hope to see in 2020, instead of a new arms race, a re-energized Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation to extend Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, or new START, until 2026.
On the climate crisis, a bold initiative and a new mind-set are needed, she stressed, such as agreement to end fossil fuel production, with a view to reducing global carbon emissions by 45 per cent by 2030. The Security Council should be a key player in shaping a new mind-set. As a woman and a grandmother, Ms. Robinson said: If women had equal power in the world today, I believe we would have a very different problem-solving way of dealing with the challenges. She went on to recall that this year marks the twentieth anniversary of Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security, while highlighting the need to listen to children and young people. We need a bold new vision, where every country, city and corporation commits to being carbon neutral by 2050 she said. The time for a new initiative to protect people and planet is surely now, as future generations will neither forget nor forgive squandering this opportunity.
PH?M BANH MINH, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, Council President for January, spoke in his national capacity, stressing that respect for the Charter of the United Nations has been pivotal in preventing another world war. Worrying events in the Middle East underscore the utmost importance of upholding its principles of non-use of force, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and peaceful dispute settlement. Unequal opportunity, unilateralism and the abandonment of multilateral efforts are among the causes of protracted armed conflict, he said, while power politics, coercion and interference in State affairs only exacerbate tensions. In such difficult times, the United Nations Charter proves to be more relevant and essential than ever he said, stressing that multilateralism and equitable State relations represent the only way to maintain international peace and security. The Council must be at the forefront to ensure respect for the Charter. He called for reinforcing the commitment to multilateralism, with States maximizing their use of Charter tools, especially in conflict prevention and settlement. The role of regional organizations must be enhanced, and adherence to international law ensured.
RALPH GONSALVES, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, said that the Charter codified an international legal framework to regulate State relations. While there are always spheres of contention stemming from national interests or technical interpretation, too often States are inclined to present what is plainly wrong, as right and vice versa . It is unacceptable for one State or a group of like-minded States to drive a horse and chariot through the principles of sovereignty, independence, equality, non-interference and non-intervention. It is likewise wrong to engage in the unilateral weaponizing of international trade, finance or banking, or to harbour terrorists, facilitate the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons or to deny human rights. Yet, there is a daily diet of justification at the United Nations for that which is plainly wrong. For small States, the Charter promises economic well-being, which bear upon international peace and security. Collective efforts should, therefore, focus on fixing underdevelopment, economic insecurity and vulnerability to external shocks, as well as acting upon the security consequences of climate change, he said, stressing that, in the absence of virtue, irresponsibility and rank hypocrisy present clear and present dangers.
URMAS REINSALU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia, described the multilateral system established after the Second World War as a network of agreements and organizations born to save future generations from grave suffering. Institutionalized international cooperation provides relative stability, and if it fails then we fail to collectively stop acts of aggression , he said, condemning attacks on the United States Embassy in Baghdad and on two bases that also house Estonian troops. He called for serious negotiations between the parties. The United Nations is the primary infrastructure for global cooperation, and the Charter, its constitution. While the Council has drawn attention to grave breaches of international law against Ukraine and Georgia, it must also react to grave violations of international humanitarian law, which has not been the case regarding Syria. Those with privileges granted by the Charter bear a special responsibility, he said, cautioning against using the veto against initiatives to prevent or halt mass atrocities.
MICHELLE MANTEFERING, Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, called on Council members and the wider United Nations to return to the Organization’s roots, which were built on the basis of shared power, mutual respect and joint responsibility. It isn’t enough to talk about peace; one must believe in it and work at it she said, quoting Eleanor Roosevelt. She encouraged the Council, in line with the Charter, to address new threats, including gross human rights violations, the effects of climate change and the risks emanating from new technologies. Expressing serious concern about recent events in the Middle East, she said a military confrontation, let alone full-scale war, would have terrible consequences. Germany is relieved to see signs of de-escalation and calls for maximum restraint, she added.
JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa) expressed regret that the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran was not granted a visa to attend today’s meeting. Denying entry to a representative of a Member State that participated in the drafting of the Charter contravenes the 1947 Agreement regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations and curtails the resolution of disputes through constructive dialogue. Despite the Charter’s noble aspirations, some Member States continue to violate some of its central tenets, he said, adding that any recourse to the use of force for self-defence even in the event of evidence of a real and credible threat should be brought before the Council to authorize. Competing political interests should not be allowed to undermine respect for international law and self-determination in such cases as Western Sahara and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, he added. Noting that the Charter was last amended 47 years ago, he said changes should be made to ensure that Member States are adequately represented in all the Organization’s principal organs, including the Council.
ZHANG JUN (China) recalled that 75 years ago the Charter of the United Nations was created, opening a brand new chapter for humanity. The Charter is the cornerstone of multilateralism, and with it the Organization charted the way forward for humanity. Universal peace remains elusive. Given the increased risk of war in the Middle East and Gulf region, it is more imperative to uphold the Charter. Member States should not seek hegemony or unilateral sanctions as their actions should be guided by international rule of law and mutually beneficial international cooperation. All countries are equal regardless of size, and the big must help the small, respecting their own paths to development. Referring to the Iran nuclear deal, he urged all concerned parties to abide by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. China will not seek hegemony or expansions. It seeks to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the dividends of its Belt and Road initiative could benefit other countries.
NICOLAS DE RIVIERE (France) said that President Emmanuel Macron, speaking on 24 September 2019 at the United Nations, expressed concern about the multipolar world and stressed the need for robust multilateralism, with the spirit of the Charter winning over narrow national interests. This is more necessary now, in the Middle East, where tensions are rising. It is time to move towards de-escalation through political initiative. The impact of climate change is a future source of conflict and, therefore, must be addressed. The universality of human rights should not be challenged when humanitarian and human rights laws were massively violated. Since 2013, France, together with Mexico, has been calling for the suspension of use of veto in this Council with regards to mass atrocities, with 105 States joining this request. Emphasizing the need to modernize the United Nations, he expressed support for reforming the Council
MUHSIN SYIHAB (Indonesia), aligning himself with ASEAN, voiced regret about the growing resort to unilateralism, the withdrawal by some countries from internationally agreed commitments and the increased use of coercive measures to achieve national policy objectives. Calling for action against those negative trends, he said nations should promote dialogue and the peaceful settlement of disputes while ending escalations. They should also recommit to multilateralism, as no nation no matter how powerful can effectively tackle global challenges alone. Emphasizing the important role of regional and subregional organizations, he said neighbours know best and cited examples from the ASEAN group. In addition, he stressed that the question of upholding the Charter cannot be properly addressed without tackling the question of Palestine, where a prevailing disrespect for international law and Charter principles has further diminished the chances of achieving a two-State solution.
JOSA� SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic) said that now is the right time to discuss the Charter as tensions grow considerably in some parts of the world. The Charter is far from being a mere document, but an indispensable guide for peaceful coexistence. His country is honoured to have signed the Charter, which safeguards the dignity of human beings, pledging to defend, promote and respect its provisions while calling on other countries to do the same. Lasting peace remains essential to creating inclusive society, with human rights guaranteed. The international community must restore faith in dialogue-based decision-making, he said, also emphasizing the need to strengthen the culture of peace.
MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium) said that multilateralism should manifest on a daily basis, not just during the general debate of the General Assembly. Since 51 countries signed the Charter and joined the United Nations, membership almost quadrupled and in the recent decades, and new tools were developed, including the International Criminal Court, civilian protection mechanisms, targeted sanctions, and good offices for peaceful settlements of disputes and cooperation with regional organizations. There is a need to make the United Nations system more operational. The fight against atrocity crimes is not just the responsibility of States. The Council must act in a timely fashion, but its responses are often slow. The International Court of Justice can be fully effective if all States accept jurisdictions. Belgium supports the initiative of France and Mexico and the proposed code of conduct of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, which seeks to limit the use of veto in resolutions regarding genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
KELLY CRAFT (United States) said that the Charter was designed to stand the test of time, stressing its enduring importance today. United States democracy supports the value of central tenets of the Charter, including fundamental freedoms and equal rights for all. Unfortunately, there is scepticism about whether the United Nations is serving its mission faithfully, with the Security Council facing credibility gaps and the need to recapture a sense of unity and purpose. Council members must stand together to uphold the Charter’s core principles. As the host country, the United States is firmly committed to these principles. On too many occasions, however, Member States oppress the human rights of their own citizens. The United States must act, not just talk, against the use of chemical weapons in Syria and threats of use of nuclear weapons while seeking close partnerships in the Council and the wider United Nations membership. Regarding recent developments in that regard, the United States took defensive military action in direct responses to Iran’s attacks. Noting that Iran has threatened the lives of Americans, she said that the United States has the right to self-defence when necessary, as recognized by the Charter. Wishing a great future for Iran, she said her country will embrace those who seek harmony.
ABDOU ABARRY (Niger) said terrorism is one of the greatest threats to international peace and security today. It claims lives and undermines the foundations of States, including in the Sahel region, and it requires international action, particularly in the Council. He stated that even as he was speaking, terrorists were attacking a Nigerien military contingent near the border with Mali. The principles that underpin multilateralism call upon nations to prioritize collective measures to address threats to peace while also respecting State sovereignty. Over the course of history, he added, multilateralism has made progress only in the aftermath of conflict. Every time, the objective was to establish rules and institutions to promote peaceful international relations. The teachings of history must not be forgotten, he said, quoting the President of Niger as saying that while national interests govern the foreign policy of States, such interests are better defended through cooperation rather than confrontation.
PA�TER SZIJJA�RTA�, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Hungary, said there is a very, very strong correlation between the security situations in the Middle East and Europe. Hungary is therefore strongly interest in a de-escalation of the current situation, with dialogue and diplomatic efforts more important than ever. He urged the United Nations and the Council to fulfil its mission and take all necessary measures to maintain international peace and security. The Charter was signed 75 years ago, so it is time to take it seriously he said. He went on to say that Europeans recently had a bad experience with large-scale migration and that another crisis in the Middle East will put even more migratory pressures on the continent. The time is right for the United Nations to recognize the danger posed by such migratory flows. He added that the fight against terrorism must continue and commended the United States for leading the global coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh). Emphasis must also be put on non-proliferation, he said, noting that Hungary definitely does not want to see more countries acquire nuclear weapons.
DIONA�SIO BABO SOARES, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste, spotlighted a range of challenges holding the world back from achieving the promise of inclusive, just and peaceful societies. Those include extremism, financial crises, transnational crime, poverty, environmental degradation, unilateral foreign interventions and occupation. Calling for more attention to their root causes, he said the history of Timor-Leste which hosted successive United Nations missions from 1999 to 2012 is an example of what can be achieved through Council unity. Timor-Leste’s experience reveals that global tensions and challenges can be addressed and prevented through multilateralism, solidarity, inclusivity and partnership. Citing the connections between poverty and rising inequalities, weak State institutions and the lack of political will to act, he said the Council’s authority is critically needed and urged the major Powers to lead by example , ensuing that their actions do not contravene or undermine the principles of the Charter. In addition, he voiced support for a more restrained use of the veto power as well as substantial and progressive discussions about the Council’s composition.
DENIS RONALDO MONCADA COLINDRES, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua, noting that recent global events indicate the world is at a dangerous juncture, said that peace-loving nations reject the use or threat of the use of force as these would not help resolve conflict. Onn the contrary, they would create greater tensions. Noting the importance of respect for the principles of sovereignty and non-aggression, he said that inter-State conflicts must be resolved using Charter principles. Warning against attempts to overthrow legitimate Governments in other countries, he also rejected any aggression and unilateral economic measures and sanctions. Latin America remains a zone of peace and his country remains a force for peace which rejects State terrorism and supports the peaceful settlements of disputes through Charter-prescribed tools. He also stressed the need to promote a culture of peace, avoid warmongering, and prevent the breakout of another war.
BOCCHIT EDMOND, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Worship of Haiti, echoed the call by the Secretary-General to use maximum restraint at a time of escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf. Haiti was among the 51 States that signed the Charter, which remains relevant. The United Nations must preserve future generations from the scourge of war. To reach this ambitious goal, Article 2 of the Charter provides a legal basis for multilateralism. Tangible and indisputable progress has been made in several areas, including decolonization, economic assistance, human rights and codification of international law. The international community must bolster efforts to tackle other challenges.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, aligning himself with the European Union, thanked delegations for their condolences and called for unconditional support as experts investigate the 8 January Ukrainian International Airlines crash in Tehran, whose causes remain unclear. Today’s meeting is taking place against the backdrop of escalating regional conflicts and an ongoing war between United Nations Member States in Europe. One of the Council’s permanent members also a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe champions the Charter’s principles in its speeches, while unleashing wars against its neighbours. Meanwhile, he said, a rule contained in Article 27 of the Charter prohibiting Council members from voting in cases of conflicts of interest is often overlooked for the sake of political expediency . He voiced regret that, under such circumstances, the Council was unable to take action on his delegation’s 2015 request for the deployment of a robust, United Nations-mandated multinational peacekeeping force in the occupied Donbas region. The quality of the work of the Security Council largely depends on the quality of its membership , he stressed, urging the new non-permanent members to fully dedicate themselves to their important mission.
TOM AMOLO, Special Envoy for the United Nations Security Council Campaign and Political and Diplomatic Secretary of Kenya, urged Member States to identify and eliminate the common threats facing them while harnessing the many opportunities offered by innovation, technology and cooperation. Hailing the foresight of the Charter’s drafters namely, their decision to link social, political and economic issues in a structured manner he said the United Nations three main organs nevertheless have specific mandates that need to be respected. Seventy-five years ago, only a handful of us were free , he said, noting that the number has now grown to close to 200. It is therefore inevitable that the United Nations organs must expand their representation structure and democratize their decision-making processes. Emphasizing that Africa remains the only region not represented in the Council’s permanent membership, he underlined the Ten Point Agenda guiding Kenya’s Security Council Campaign, which calls for building bridges, striking a balance between peacekeeping and the pacific settlement of disputes, creativity in working with the private sector and other stakeholders, a stronger Security Council-General Assembly partnership and closer links with regional organizations.
PORNPIMOL KANCHANALAK, Special Envoy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand, said that in pondering the Charter’s relevance and effectiveness, it should be kept in mind that great Powers always write the rules and then break them . Moreover, when one nation is pushed against the wall, it will resort to any means, however short-sighted or dangerous it may be, to get out of its plight. With wars becoming less conventional, and global conflicts more complex, preventative measures and crisis management tools must be recalibrated. In that regard, the United Nations efforts would be more effective if they are carried out in concert with regional organizations. The proliferation of nuclear weapons makes such collaboration a necessity, she added. While the principles of the Charter remain essential, its tools must be revitalized to address today’s international peace and security questions. The Council has abundant tools at its disposal, she said, adding that it must engage more with other United Nations bodies, including the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and specialized agencies.
ISHIKANE KIMIHIRO (Japan) said Member States must uphold a rules-based international order by promoting and accepting the peaceful settlement of disputes, including in the Middle East, and refraining from making unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion. Agreed rules must be also observed, he said, regretting to note the failure of some States, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, to comply with Council resolutions. Developing and maintaining the international judicial system is essential, and due attention must be paid to the evolution of technology. The world governing body must also maintain its effectiveness and legitimacy, including by reforming the Council to better reflect the contemporary world, he said, adding that Charter provisions the General Assembly has declared as obsolete should be removed immediately. States must use a human security lens to ensure the rules-based order remains sustainable and flexible when addressing increasingly complex challenges facing the world today.
AUDRA PLEPYTE (Lithuania), associating herself with the European Union and noting that her country marks its thirtieth anniversary of independence in 2020, recalled that a commitment to the rules-based international order enabled Lithuania’s revived statehood. Our national experience is an important factor encouraging and motivating us to defend and adhere to the principles of the United Nations Charter she assured. Integrity of the rules-based system is vital for maintaining international peace and security. Yet some Governments turn their contested claims into faits accomplis by violating the Charter, she said, citing conflicts in Moldova and Georgia, along with the annexation of Crimea and military action in eastern Ukraine by the Russian Federation. These blatant and systemic breaches of the Charter of the United Nations constitute a threat to international peace she said, calling for accountability. Preventive diplomacy, along with early action and mediation, are vital for preventing mass atrocities. Inaction by the Council only encourages aggression, she said, calling for limiting use of the veto in responding to mass atrocities. Justice cannot be vetoed , she insisted. It must surpass political manipulation.
BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria) voiced regret over the United States refusal to issue an entry visa to Iran’s Foreign Minister, thereby preventing the Council from listening to the point of view of an important player in the region. Describing that move as a violation of the principle of equal rights among Member States, he emphasized that we are living in a world that suffers from the spread of polarization due to the belief, held by some countries, that their power gives them higher status than others. Warning that such a dangerous trend threatens the very fate of the United Nations, he said the present meeting should seek to reach conclusions on such issues as transparency and self-criticism, as well as the rise of international terrorism, the manufacture and proliferation of weapons and the misuse of Article 51 by some States to perpetrate aggression against others. Indeed, he said, some countries including several with permanent seats on the Council abuse United Nations mechanisms to try to overthrow legitimate Governments, such as in Iraq, Venezuela and Syria. The Council remains silent as such acts continue, and as those States continue to support terrorist groups and now also assassinate Government leaders. Citing specific aggressions and military occupations by Turkey, the United States and France, he emphasized that the Charter should be for everyone , regardless of their political might.
MYRIAM OEHRI (Liechtenstein) said that when joining the United Nations, Member States all accepted that the use of force is illegal, except when authorized by the Security Council or carried out in self-defence. When invoking Article 51 of the Charter preventively, States owe the international community a thorough justification, including evidence of the imminence of an external threat and the proportionality of measures taken in response. Excessively expansive and unchecked interpretations of this Article are a threat to the international rules-based order and an obstacle to the promotion of international peace and security. As the Security Council acts on behalf of the entire membership, her country supports the automatic convening of the General Assembly on an agenda item whenever a veto on the issue is cast in the Council.
LUIS GALLEGOS CHIRIBOGA (Ecuador) said the Charter’s principles remain intact, however a resurgence of nationalism and negative rhetoric requires a renewal of commitments. Pointing to the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and other key events, he said there are many opportunities to work towards peace. Yet, geopolitical tensions are high and conflicts persist in various regions. Member States must choose the right path forward and offer their political will to make this a decade of collective efforts. Common challenges should muster a common approach, guided by the Charter. Indeed, defending the Charter depends on listening to one another, working together and exercising tolerance.
MOHAMMAD W. NAEEMI (Afghanistan) said that in a world that continues to suffer from havoc caused by conflict and the evolving threat of terrorism, it is time to recommit to the Charter’s values and revitalize the role of the United Nations in achieving this endeavour. Reform and revitalization efforts must continue by using a proactive approach that avoids polarization, he said, highlighting Council reform and initiatives such as the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan and the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process. The Council must evaluate ways to make their many tools more effective and continue to work towards ensuring the full implementation of its resolutions, as failing to do so deters efforts to fight for international peace and security. The United Nations-launched global conversation on the role of international cooperation must, among other things, provide input on ways to reform and revitalize the Organization to better tackle new and emerging challenges.
ANDREJS PILDEGOVICS (Latvia), expressing deep concern for the latest spike in violence in the Middle East, said the credibility of the global system depends on the ability to prevent grave violations of international law and to respond to new challenges, with the Council being a gate keeper of peace and security. Yet, the Council has not always lived up to the challenge, as demonstrated by escalating crises and erupting conflicts, he said, adding that the use of veto power should never be reserved for situations involving mass atrocities. The Council must have one voice in calling for an end to impunity regarding mass atrocities in Syria, he said, also drawing attention to the Russian Federation’s annexation of Crimea and frozen conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and in Nagorno-Karabakh.
MARIUSZ LEWICKI (Poland) said discussions of the Charter’s principles are not enough, and determined action is also needed to achieve the goals of peace, security, respect for human rights, justice, social progress and the expansion of freedom. Underlining the need to react to Charter violations, he spotlighted some of the gravest ones in recent times, including the Russian Federation’s illegal annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. Moscow’s claims of sovereignty over territory seized by force should not be recognized, he said, calling on States to reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine’s unity and territorial integrity. Countries must take steps to punish and prevent atrocity crimes, including by joining and implementing relevant international instruments, and promoting work on an international convention on crimes against humanity. The Council’s own resolutions including those on the protection of civilians in armed conflict must also be implemented, and States should act in conformity with the organ’s presidential statements. Those who are not yet parties to the 1949 Geneva Conventions should consider joining them at the earliest possible date and all should take appropriate steps to implement their obligations thereunder, he added.
CHO HYUN (Republic of Korea) said his country’s very existence is a living testament to the relevance of the United Nations Charter. The Organization helped the country overcome the horrors of war and develop through its reconstruction period, and without it the Republic of Korea as it stands today would not exist . Underlining Seoul’s zero tolerance for war and its desire for a mutual security guarantee and co-prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, he called for international support as the journey towards a permanent peace continues. The world also faces daunting challenges more broadly, including protracted conflicts, large-scale human rights abuses, terrorism and human trafficking. Amid the international community’s slow progress, multilateralism and the United Nations itself are being viewed with increasing scepticism. Calling on States to renew their overarching commitments, he said the Council should exemplify the value of international cooperation and do more to overcome divisions, embrace conflict prevention and realize a consensual and equitable structural reform. In addition, the United Nations should also break down silos between its main organs, he said.
MITCHELL FIFIELD (Australia), citing recent intensifying strains on the international rules�based order, called for a collective solution. Underlining the need to ensure the Charter norms are protected for millions of people around the globe, he declared: The credibility of the United Nations system depends on its willingness and capacity to do so. Upon warning signs, the Organization must use its political authority and preventive tools to address potential conflicts and seek de-escalation, he said, calling on Member States to be alert to such critical signals. Australia continues to advocate for the principle of the responsibility to protect , including in all of the Council’s discussions, and calls for greater cooperation both within and outside the United Nations. From Member States, we need a recommitment to collective security that can enable the system to adopt to new challenges he said.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said that the world order established 75 years ago, based on the Charter, is eroding amid resort to unilateral force, foreign occupation, conflict and ideologies of hate, including Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and fascism. Old political and military blocs are being resurrected, and new ones built, while global growth is declining under the weight of trade and technology wars. Pakistan seeks to build a new structure of sustainable peace with its neighbours, he said, advocating a political solution in Afghanistan, and citing the Prime Minister’s efforts to reduce tensions in the Gulf region. We will not become party to any regional conflict he said. Calling unilateral measures imposed on Jammu and Kashmir a first step in India’s efforts to suppress Muslims and claims that normalcy has been restored false and duplicitous , he warned that India could initiate another military adventure against Pakistan. It has issued new political maps, laying claim not only to Jammu and Kashmir, but Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and having committed 3,000 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control in 2019. While Pakistan does not want war with India, if attacked, it will respond resolutely. He called on the Council and the Secretary-General to prevent such an outcome by enabling Kashmiris to exercise their right to self-determination.
SYED MOHAMAD HASRIN AIDID (Malaysia) joined other delegations in calling for all parties concerned to avoid further provocation, exercise maximum restraint and de-escalate tensions in the Middle East, stressing that conflicts must be resolved by peaceful means without resorting to the use of force. As a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Malaysia will remain steadfast in contributing to regional and global peace and security and stands ready to enhance existing collaboration between the group and the United Nations in peacekeeping and peacebuilding. His delegation calls for collective efforts to reform the Security Council and improve its working methods amid a growing demand for the organ to adapt to new political realities.
MAJID TAKHT RAVANCHI (Iran) spoke on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of his country, whose request for a visa had been denied by the United States in contravention of the Headquarters Agreement. He said the world is at a crossroads, with one unhinged regime clamouring to turn back time. Damaging United States unilateralism in defiance of international norms and law most recently led to the targeted assassination of heroes who were the nightmare of such groups as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh). Since its inauguration, that regime has carried out more threats and attacks against Iran and other sovereign nations in utter disregard of the Charter. Iran’s action against an air base in Iraq on 8 January the base from which the cowardly attack on Qasem Soleimani was launched was a measured and proportionate response to a terrorist attack, carried out in exercise of its right to self-defence in accordance with the Charter. He added that the rogue United States regime has withdrawn from several landmark accords, not least the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and strangled ordinary Iranians’ access to food and medicine through economic terrorism. He went on to say that States that become passive unilateralists or which compromise Charter principles for the sake of short-term gains inadvertently encourage lawless unilateralists to bully them. To protect multilateralism, we must never appease unilateralist regimes , he said, calling for a renewed commitment to the Charter and a rejection of coercive unilateral measures. Iran’s commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and its Hormuz Peace Endeavour are proof of its strategic approach to multilateralism and its commitment to the Charter, he added.
TAYE ATSKESELASSIE AMDE (Ethiopia) said the United Nations remains the only truly global multilateral body dedicated to safeguarding peace, promoting human rights and ensuring sustainable development for all. Highlighting peacekeeping achievements, and noting Ethiopia’s 8,000 uniformed personnel serving in various missions, he said the world now faces unprecedented challenges and threats. The need for revitalizing multilateralism has never been greater, requiring a renewed commitment by bolstering partnerships at all levels and strengthening cooperation. Pointing at the new era of cooperation in the Horn of Africa, he said the Council’s recognition of these developments must be followed by concrete support. While the Charter’s ban on inter-State war has, so far, contributed to forestalling another world war, maintaining this trajectory will not be easy going forward. As such, States must show greater wisdom and not be deterred by temporary waves of populism and unilateral tendencies.
DOMINIQUE MICHEL FAVRE (Switzerland) said that the Charter is a powerful tool for conflict prevention and peacekeeping, provided that States fully implement it. For the security and prosperity of small and medium-sized States, an effective rules-based multilateral system is essential. Pointing to striking similarities between the Charter and Switzerland’s Federal Constitution, which both promote inclusive prosperity, sustainable development and respect for human rights, he welcomed the Secretary-General’s reflection on what kind of United Nations young people need and cited activities taking place in Switzerland to both raise awareness of the Charter and to recall its political relevance in the twenty-first century. The Charter provides the basis for the Council’s action notably to ensure its interaction with the Assembly under Article 24 and constitutes the starting point for strengthening multilateralism in a spirit of inclusion and dialogue.
BESIANA KADARE (Albania) said upholding the Charter rested on three critical elements, including making conflict prevention a reality by collectively mobilizing stakeholders through a proactive approach to stop a conflict before it starts and address the root causes of tensions. Prevention also depends on advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, with the 2030 Agenda offering a framework for action. Another element calls for a more responsive and effective Security Council that can overcome trust deficits and act as one. Council membership is a responsibility, not a privilege, and the use of the veto to protect narrow national interests in situations of mass atrocities is unacceptable. Finally, respecting and protecting human rights and international humanitarian law are essential. This element represents the business of the Security Council, not only because the Charter calls on Member States to respect these rights, but also because violations inevitably lead to instability, threatening peace and security.
MARIA ANGELA ZAPPIA (Italy), associating herself with the European Union, agreed with others that the United Nations and the multilateral system based on its Charter are today faced with growing criticism. The Security Council struggles to offer solutions to the main political crises of our day she said. Nevertheless, the Charter’s underlying principles are as compelling today as they were in 1945. Calling for more multilateralism driven by a more sophisticated approach, she said Italy a Mediterranean country on the frontlines of an area affected by major instability is aware of the need for a more holistic approach that combines security, development, the rule of law and human rights, as well as environmental protection and the fight against climate change. International cooperation stands at a crossroads and Member States need to do better to uphold the Charter’s values, she said, underlining the crucial process of United Nations reform and the Organization’s growing commitment to conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding. As the top troop-contributor among Western countries, Italy also champions the Action for Peacekeeping initiative and the Declaration of Shared Commitments, she said.
JOA�O GENA�SIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil), recalling the words of President Jair Bolsonaro at the General Assembly’s seventy-fourth session, said the United Nations was created not to suppress nationalities but to promote a world in which sovereign nations respect each other. Much of the Organization’s success in preventing another systemic war among the world’s greatest Powers is due to the United Nations position at the core of international relations and the Charter principle of the peaceful settlement of disputes. Article 33 crystalizes the duty of parties to seek peaceful solutions to their disputes, and goes hand-in-hand with the prohibition on the use of force. Regarding Article VII, he said all authorizations of force must be limited in their legal, operational and temporal dimensions, and the Council must demand adequate reporting and establish panels of experts to monitor implementation. The time has come to renew the United Nations overall approach to peace and security and the structure of the Security Council, he said, calling for an expansion in both categories of membership and noting that Africa still lacks a permanent seat.
BURHAN GAFOOR (Singapore), aligning himself with ASEAN, joined other speakers in voicing deep concern that the new year is already marked by rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. All parties should exercise maximum restraint and return to dialogue and diplomacy to resolve their differences, he said, underlining the need to strengthen respect for the Charter not only through words but through actions. Every United Nations Member State, especially the Council’s permanent members, bears a responsibility to uphold international law and the Charter’s principles. Warning against a selective approach to the implementation of international law as well as unilateral actions that ignore it, he called for a greater emphasis on preventive diplomacy and the peaceful settlement of disputes. The Security Council must work harder to be cohesive and united on key issues, and all its members especially the permanent ones should work harder to find common ground. We cannot allow countries to selectively implement or selectively ignore Council decisions he stressed, warning that disrespect for such texts undermines the organ’s broader credibility and its ability to maintain international peace and security.
ANDREAS D. MAVROYIANNIS (Cyprus) called for a reassessment of the Council’s evolution, noting that it reflects the Charter and the United Nations as a whole. The organ remains a sui generis body legitimized to some extent by history and power relations, but more so by its capacity to uphold international peace and security. Such an approach comes with a number of caveats, he said, and requires full accountability of all stakeholders. The Council needs to constantly demonstrate its relevance, including by continuing debates on its working methods, enlargement and representativeness. The world has changed since 1945, and adaptation is both normal and welcome, he said, spotlighting such emerging challenges as the global climate crisis and the rise of conflict prevention as an international tool. In the face of such changes as well as the diametrically opposed trends of globalization and fragmentation, more synergy and complementarity is needed between the Security Council and other United Nations bodies, States and international institutions. The Council, located at the epicentre of the system, stands to gain from such a redefinition, he said.
MHER MARGARYAN (Armenia) said that the Charter rests on the goal of developing friendly relations among nations based on respect for self-determination and equal rights. The inalienable right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to self-determination through the legally binding expression of free will represents a basic premise for the peaceful resolution of the conflict. Today’s discussion gains even more relevance in light of recent developments in Iraq and the wider Middle East, he said, appealing to parties for a de-escalation of tensions. The fight against ISIL and Al-Qaida in Iraq and Syria should continue to unite the international community and serve as a basis for consolidating regional peace and security. Despite the United Nations making major progress in preserving peace, the world still faces armed conflicts, pervasive poverty and rising inequality. Multilateral cooperation remains an important tool to take action on these global challenges.
MOHAMED MOHAMED FOUAD ABDULLAH AHMED (Egypt) said that his country contributed to the drafting of the Charter 75 years ago. Its principles of sovereignty, non-interference, good neighbourliness, and peaceful settlement of disputes are all foundations without which States cannot function properly. New challenges have emerged since then, including the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen, as well as climate change. All these require transnational cooperation. His country has a good track record in implementing General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. But this is not the case for all countries in the region, he said, warning against double standards on the question of Palestine. A contradiction is that the Charter provides for sovereign equality, but only five States have veto power. The United Nations is not the babysitter of crises, he said, stressing the importance of mediation and good neighbourliness.
LUIS ANTONIO LAM PADILLA (Guatemala) stressed that 2020 is an emblematic year given the global backdrop, recalling a commitment in the preamble of the Charter to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. For this to happen, the Council must fulfil its responsibilities, in particular under Chapter VI. Citing the Organization’s very first resolution on removing the atomic weapons of destruction, he highlighted the need for all nations to abide by this obligation. His delegation considers the International Court of Justice to be a useful tool to resolve disputes, he said, expressing support for the Court. Recalling the words of Pope Francis on the occasion of adopting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017, he stressed the need to avoid mutual destruction, which is contrary to the spirit of the Charter.
SUKHBOLD SUKHEE (Mongolia) said that the world is still facing enormous challenges, including protracted conflicts, persistent poverty, terrorism and a fast-changing climate, at a time of weakening respect for international norms and institutions. These challenges call for the global community to renew its commitment to uphold and defend the Charter and the principles of international law. All Member States must fulfil their obligations, including by refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any nation or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. Expressing support for settling international disputes peacefully, he said that this anniversary year presents an opportunity for the international community to show its commitment to the Charter to maintain global peace and security.
KIRA CHRISTIANNE DANGANAN AZUCENA (Philippines), speaking on behalf of ASEAN, said regionalism and multilateralism are important frameworks for cooperation their value derived from their inclusivity, rules-based nature and emphasis on mutual benefit and respect. ASEAN promotes sustainable security by reinforcing strategic trust within the bloc, and in the wider Asia-Pacific region, she said, reaffirming the principles of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. Its cooperation with the United Nations in peacekeeping and peacebuilding continues to strengthen, and efforts have intensified to advance the women, peace and security agenda through the provision of more female peacekeepers. Cooperation has also intensified on terrorism-related matters and non-traditional threats.
Speaking in her national capacity, she said the Philippines is firmly committed to international law as the foundation of its efforts to build a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. All disputes must be settled peacefully, in line with the Charter’s Article 2 (3) and Chapter VI. The Philippines supports Charter-mandated efforts to prevent and remove threats to peace, and such legal instruments as Council resolutions to fight terrorism. Underscoring the importance of sovereignty, as enshrined in the Charter, she said resolving conflict requires respect for that principle. Working against sovereignty undermines the international order, as seen when States are made to fail by insistence upon multilateral action.
ISBETH LISBETH QUIEL MURCIA (Panama) said her country has always defended multilateralism as the best way to effectively address the international agenda and to promote a just, peaceful world order. Collective efforts for peace are crucial, as is a renewed commitment to preserve succeeding generations from the scourge of war, ensuring coexistence, trust and tolerance for all. Underscoring the importance of reflecting on that world, she said conflict, inequality, terrorism, extremism, xenophobia and hate speech, along with humanitarian crises exacerbated by the effects of climate change, persist today. We cannot continue to issue documents and statements while the cost of the collective inability to act is measured by the loss of life, she insisted. The United Nations must return to its origins, endowed with a renewed culture of peace and defending its Charter principles and values. In sum, she called for a strengthened multilateral system.
ION JINGA (Romania) said that Chapter VIII of the Charter provides the basis for the involvement of regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security. Romania, during its 2004-2005 mandate as a non-permanent Council member, promoted the very first Council resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations. Also, under the country’s chairmanship of the Peacebuilding Commission in 2018, cooperation between the Commission and the African Union was institutionalized for the first time. Although the establishment of peacekeeping operations is not explicitly mentioned in the Charter, it is the spirit of the Charter that United Nations peacekeeping is implementing, he said, recalling Dag HammarskjAlld defining peacekeeping operations as Chapter Six and a Half of the Charter, projecting them between peaceful settlement of disputes under Chapter VI and the more coercive measures, including use of force, under Chapter VII.
OLOF SKOOG, Head of the European Union delegation, said the Charter not only serves as the legal basis of the United Nations but also as an enduring symbol of the rules-based international order. Written in the darkest days of history, it is as relevant and important today as when it was first signed. Calling it and the multilateral cooperation it established a remarkable success , he pointed to a decline in the type of inter-State conflict it was designed to handle. There is no need to question that multilateralism and international law works  for all of us , he said. Yet, new threats are on the rise in the form of hybrid warfare, foreign interference and violent extremism. New ways must be found to handle these global challenges by strengthening and reforming the multilateral system and the only point of departure for tackling them is through multilateral cooperation. The United Nations Charter is at the very core of that , he said. While new competition and tensions are undermining the multilateral system, side-lining the rules-based order would prompt a return to chaos and violence. The European Union will continue to be a guardian of multilateralism, he said, stressing that upholding the Charter is the responsibility of all Member States.
MARTAN GARCAA MORITAN (Argentina) recalled his country’s 4 January statement, observing with concern violence in the Middle East, and urged parties to work towards a peaceful negotiated outcome. Argentina promotes negotiation and diplomacy, he said, calling on the international community to adopt constructive stances and demanding multilateral organizations to assume their responsibilities in the area of peace and security. He expressed support for the Charter’s role in preventing war, noting that the collective security system bestows on the Council a responsibility to maintain peace. Thus, Member States must agree to accept and comply with its decisions. Recalling that the Charter provides for negotiation, research, investigation, arbitrage, regional agreements and other peaceful measures, he underscored the cardinal importance of peaceful dispute resolution, with negotiation as the primary means to achieve that outcome. An end to colonialism and the promotion of human rights are gradual developments that stem from the Charter, and thus bolster the maintenance of international peace and security. Given this week’s events, defence of the Charter is more necessary than ever.
PABLO ADRIAN ARROCHA OLABUENAGA (Mexico) said that the United Nations potential to consolidate a world characterized by development, harmony and social equality depends on respect for the Charter. The Council plays a fundamental role in this regard and must consolidate itself as a quintessential preventative body, he said, stressing that States must act in line with the Charter and international law in matters of international peace and security. When States fail in this obligation, the Council must ensure compliance with the Charter, fully exercising its responsibility. He called on States that have not done so especially the five permanent Council members to join the France-Mexico initiative on veto restriction in cases of mass atrocity, reiterating concern about invocations of the Charter’s Article 51 on the use of military means to address peace and security threats, especially against non-State actors. He urged the Council to revise its work methods to ensure full compliance with the Charter, particularly when invoking the inherent right to self-defence.
MONA JUUL (Norway), speaking also for Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, said they are staunch supporters of the rules-based international order and speak with one voice in support of multilateralism, peaceful resolution of conflict, the fight against poverty and respect for human rights. Special political missions and envoys have played a crucial role to reduce tension. In many instances they have prevented and show the way out of conflict through creative and persistent diplomacy. The recent dramatic escalation in the Middle East is deeply concerning to Nordic countries, she said, urging all parties to exercise maximum restraint, restart dialogue and engage in peaceful means to resolve their differences. The United Nations is not only about halting conflicts, but about sustaining peace and creating conditions for sustainable development. When women participate and shape peace and reconciliation processes, achievement of sustainable development is more likely.
SYED AKBARUDDIN (India) said that despite all its imperfections, the Charter remains the main incarnation of the global spirit. Constancy to its principles promotes common good. Moving away from a formal system may have unexpected consequences. Justice dispensed on the fly may come to be resented. The Council faces crises of identity and legitimacy, as well as relevance and performance. The inability to counter some challenges is exposing the shortcomings of the body. The answer to the crises lies in invoking and working through Charter provisions, he said, stressing the need for the Council to be representative, credible and legitimate, rather than one that rests merely on the claim that it existed at the inception. The Council must be fit for purpose for the twenty-first century. He also expressed regret at the statement made by his counterpart from Pakistan.
Source: UN Security Council