December 16, 2017

Statement by the Representative of Cyprus Ambassador Constantine Moushoutas at the Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly – Report of the Security Council

Mr. President,

The heavy demands on the Security Council for responses to conflicts, threats and breaches of peace, are evident from the enormous work load carried out by the Council between 16 June 1999 and 15 June 2000. The 146 record formal meetings, the 194 informal consultations, the 57 resolutions and the 85 reports considered, constitute the body of the annual report, document A/55/2, which the Council pursuant to article 24 of the United Nations Charter is submitting to the General Assembly, on whose behalf it acts. The submission of the report which is expected to contain substantive, analytical and material account of the work of the Council is, itself, evidence of its accountability to the general membership of the UN.

There is no doubt that the working methods of the Security Council have in general improved, though there is still room for further improvement. We welcome the inclusion again of the addendum to the report, of monthly assessments prepared by outgoing Presidents, and the continuation of the daily briefings by the Presidency, attended by a growing number of non-Council members.

The numbers show that despite the decrease of behind doors meetings, they are still far more, in comparison to regular open formal meetings. Though there may be good reasons for these closed meetings to be called from time to time, by nature they lack openness and thus emanate a message of exclusion of the rest of the UN membership. No degree of briefings, after the event, can compensate for full transparency and the information received by witnessing the Council’s open meetings.

Openness is of special importance when peacekeeping operations are considered. The host country whose consent is needed for the stationing of peacekeeping forces and is therefore directly involved and those participating as contributors or potential contributors to peacekeeping operations, have a right to be consulted when these operations are discussed.

On the substantive side the report demonstrates a broad spectrum of activities, with which the Security Council is seized. The conflicts and crises in the world have not diminished. What is more, many long-standing problems remain unresolved, including our very own, due to lack of political will and the lack of action to implement the Council’s mandatory resolutions and decisions. There should not be selectivity in the implementation of Security Council resolutions, for it shakes the faith of the general membership, especially of the small states in this main organ, entrusted with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Mr. President,

The Council must be able to face the new challenges of the new century. To do so, it must be primarily representative reflecting the realities of a changed world. Increasing its membership on the basis of an equitable geographical distribution of seats, both in permanent and non-permanent members, will give the Council more legitimacy and strengthen its effectiveness. Secondly, the availability of funds and personnel is a necessary prerequisite for a strong Security Council, so that, as the Secretary-General stated, never to let down those who placed their faith in it.

Turning to some other parts of the report, we offer the following observations:

1. There should be more restraint of the Security Council in considering issues which may be falling within the domain of the General Assembly. The need for a good relationship and coordination between the responsibilities of these two main UN organs cannot be overemphasized.

2. The Security Council must become more sensitive to the collateral humanitarian impact of sanctions. Sanctions cause economic losses, create problems to innocent populations and to neighboring countries who observe them. We agree that sanctions should be very sparingly used and we see the need to review the whole sanctions regime.

3. We agree with India, as to the incorporation into the report of an assessment of the Security Council of the usefulness and helpfulness of its own actions.

4. We continue to favor the German proposal of giving explanations to the General Assembly of the UN, after the exercise of a veto.

5. Except in extraordinary situations of urgency, decisions of the Council should be taken after the debate is completed and not before. Such sequence in voting will contribute to strengthen the positive impressions of the Council within and outside the UN, erasing any possible impressions that the Council’s decisions are routinely taken.

6. We support greater collaboration between the United Nations and regional organizations, so long as this collaboration is based on the UN Charter and in the promotion of goals, in line with its provisions.

7. No reform can be more effective and useful than the willingness of the Security Council to implement its own resolutions and decisions.

Mr. President,

Representing a country whose problem remains inscribed on the agenda for the past several years long awaiting a just solution on the basis of the resolutions of the Security Council, we express our appreciation to the members of the Council, and congratulate the five newly elected members, Colombia, Ireland, Mauritius, Norway and Singapore, pledging at the same time our cooperation and support.

Thank you, Mr. President.