October 20, 2017

Statement by the Representative of Cyprus Ambassador Constantine Moushoutas at the Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly – Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization

Mr. President,

My delegation would like to join the previous speakers, who have congratulated the Secretary-General for his lucid and thought provoking report now before us.

We have no doubt that the Secretary-General’s recommendation, if implemented faithfully, would contribute greatly towards achieving the goals for which the UN were created.

Mr. President,

Our Organization’s primary responsibility for the maintenance of the international peace and security is going through a crucial phase. The absoluteness of its authority to the legitimate use of force is being tested, even doubted. We do not share these doubts. The Charter, which has been signed by 188 member states, bestows on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security. Except in situations of self-defense, Article 51 of the Charter, only the Council may employ coercive measures including the use of armed force.

The Charter cannot be substituted nor superseded. For there are no other legal international instruments which enjoy the unanimous support of the membership of the United Nations. Despite its five decades of existence, the Charter is still not only relevant but indispensable, and its provisions and purposes need not change. What is needed, we hold, is the faithful implementation of all its provisions including that for the establishment of a Permanent International Security System under Article 43, chapter 7 of the Charter, which remains since the inception of the UN, unimplemented.

So being, the Charter remains exclusively and solely the legal source for the legitimate use of armed force when dealing with breaches to peace and security.

What about situations, we are asked, of brutal disregard of humanitarian norms within a state? Is the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs applicable? Does respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states prevail? We believe that in such situations the international community cannot remain apathetic, especially in cases where gross and systematic human rights must be based on the Charter and on the legality of a UN mandate. If we accept, Mr. President, interventions outside the UN we may be opening Pandora’s box. For there will always be those leaders who under the pretext of humanitarianism and the protection of minorities and ethnic groups they will endeavour to cover their sinister design of expansion through aggression. Article 2 paragraph 4 prohibits such use of force.

What is to be done, however, when the Security Council finds itself unable to undertake military action? First of all, the Charter provides a number of coercive measure, not involving the use of armed force, which the Council may adopt. If these measures, provided in Article 41 of the Charter prove inadequate, the issue may be brought before the General Assembly for consideration.

Mr. President,

The Secretary-General in his report identifies numerous causes for the probability of wars such as poverty and inequality, economic decline, control of economic resources, and dehumanizing ideologies, propagated by the hate media.

We agree with previous speakers that militant separatist movements can also be causes of conflict and pose grave dangers to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States. Separatism, besides being anachronistic in globalized and interdependent world, attacks the very substance of peaceful integrated coexistence. It emphasizes what divides and segregates, rather than what unites and integrates. That is why we find the item “Dialogue Among Civilizations” of special usefulness for bridging differences.

We agree that prevention of conflict saves both human lives and valuable resources. We must assure, however, that preventive diplomacy is conducted in accordance with the Charter. Primary attention should be given to the long unresolved problem which needs to be dealt with justice and fairness and under United Nations principles and resolutions, before they become even greater crises.

We agree that the cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations should be further strengthened, so long as this does not lead to disregarding the indispensability of the united Nations regarding the commencement and the carrying out of the peace-keeping operations.

Finally, Mr. President, we support discussions on the issue of “humanitarian intervention” to clarify terms like humanitarian crises, and in order to agree on criteria and the legal framework for any enforcement actions on the basis of the United Nations Charter.

The initiative of Egypt to discuss the international response to humanitarian crises within the General Assembly Working Group on the Agenda for Peace, meets with our full support.

Thank you, Mr. President.