Security Council meeting 5106

Date22 December 2004
S-PV-5106 2004-12-22 10:00 22 December 2004 [[22 December]] [[2004]] /

Briefings by Chairmen of Security Council Committees and Working Groups

The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.

Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.

Briefings by Chairmen of Security Council Committees and Working Groups

The President

In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, and in the absence of objection, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend invitations under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to: Ambassador Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa; Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz, Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Al Qaeda and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities; Ambassador Munir Akram, Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1521 (2003) concerning Liberia; and Ambassador Gunter Pleuger, Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1572 (2004) concerning Côte d’Ivoire.

There being no objection, it is so decided.

The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Security Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.

I should like to draw the attention of members to photocopies of a letter dated 21 December 2004 from the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa addressed to the President of the Security Council, which will be issued as document S/2004/989.

At this meeting, the Council will hear briefings by the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Al Qaeda and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities, the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1521 (2003) concerning Liberia and the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1572 (2004) concerning Côte d’Ivoire.

I now give the floor to Ambassador Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa.

Mr. Gaspar Martins

First of all, Sir, I would like to say that this is a major occasion: it is likely to be the final day of meetings under your presidency and with the participation of the outgoing members.

Let me thank you, Mr. President, for allowing me to brief the Council on the activities of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa. Your presidency of the Security Council coincides with the end of the Angolan mandate on the Council and our chairmanship of the Working Group. May I express, through you, my delegation’s appreciation for the excellent working relations that have existed among all delegations on the Council in our collective search for enduring peace and stability, particularly in Africa.

I am particularly grateful for their invaluable contributions towards advancing the objectives of the Ad Hoc Working Group. It is my delegation’s belief that the Group will continue to benefit from the rich and valuable experiences of all.

Members of the Council will recall that the Ad Hoc Working Group issued a detailed interim report on its activities, dated 18 December 2003 and circulated as a document of the Council under the symbol S/2003/1188. A final report has been sent to you, Mr. President, and will be circulated as a document of the Council. Photocopies of the report have been distributed to members.

My statement will highlight some aspects of that report.

Regarding conflict prevention and resolution, the Group has carried out actions aimed at examining regional and cross-conflict issues. In that regard, the Group held meetings on the Security Council missions to Africa and on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with special emphasis on the enhancement of the United Nations role. The Group is particularly pleased with the reinforced role of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as decided by the Security Council. Moreover, the holding of the first international conference of the Great Lakes region represents an important step forward in meeting the concerns raised by the members of the Group.

In order to implement effectively its timetable for action and hear varying points of view on issues of interest to the Group and to the Security Council, the Ad Hoc Working Group took advantage of the informal nature of its meetings by involving non-Council members in its deliberations.

In that connection, the Group held a roundtable discussion with the International Peace Academy on constraints, challenges and opportunities in resolving conflicts, during which participants had a useful exchange of views on the Sudan, Somalia, Guinea-Bissau and the role of the Council in preventing conflicts in Africa. Under the theme of regional and international norms on unconstitutional regime changes in Africa, the participants reflected on the proposal of the Secretary-General inviting the international community to consider how to deal with post-conflict situations in which Governments, although democratically elected, defy constitutional order and flout basic practices of governance, thus becoming an added source of instability. I would like to thank the International Peace Academy for making it possible to hold that important event. It is my conviction that the Group will continue that experience with the Academy and other relevant institutions.

In its paper on post-conflict recovery in Africa, the World Bank states that because of their very nature, African conflicts have become a development issue. Taking that into account, especially given the magnitude of the problem, no single institution can address that challenge on its own.

The Security Council has reaffirmed the importance of strengthening its cooperation and interaction with the Economic and Social Council, given that economic rehabilitation and reconstruction constitute important elements in the long-term development of post-conflict societies and in the maintenance of peace.

The Security Council’s Ad Hoc Working Group and the Economic and Social Council’s advisory groups on countries emerging from conflict, for Guinea-Bissau and Burundi, have been instrumental in materializing cooperation between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.

At its historic meeting in Nairobi last month, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement on its institutional relationship with the African Union. In the statement, the Council invited the Secretary-General to explore, in close cooperation with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, new means of cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, especially taking into consideration the expanded mandate and the new organs of the African Union.

To that end, the Group can play a pivotal role in enhancing cooperation between the Security Council and the newly established Peace and Security Council of the African Union, bearing in mind that conflict prevention, management and resolution in Africa must be a truly complementary effort by Africans and their international partners.

I take this opportunity to underline the active participation in the Group’s meetings of the representatives of the Chairmanship of the African Union, the office of the Permanent Observer of the African Union in New York and the Department of Political Affairs, mainly from its divisions dealing with Africa. I express appreciation to those countries and institutions that attended the Group’s meetings and stress once more the role played in the establishment of the Group by the delegation of Mauritius when it was a member of the Council.

As Angola ends its mandate on the Security Council, it is our hope, as Chairman of the Group, that the Group will continue to monitor implementation of recommendations and resolutions concerning conflict prevention and resolution in Africa, in conformity with its mandate.

Three years after its establishment, the Ad Hoc Working Group should reflect on how it can better implement its mandate effectively. In that connection, the Group should continue to develop partnerships with other institutions by involving non-Council members and by making relevant recommendations to the Council based on those partnerships.

There is need for reflection on the future status of the Ad Hoc Working Group within the Security Council in order to respond to new trends in the search for solutions to African conflicts, including cooperation with the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.

As a general observation, the Council’s current practice of assessing the work of the Working Groups when their Chairmanships leave the Security Council deserves reassessment. As a final recommendation, it would be useful for Working Groups to present mid-term reports on their activities, which, together with the assessment of the members of the Council, could help to identify areas for improvement in the work of the Working Groups.

Finally, I would like to thank all members of the Council for the spirit of cooperation they demonstrated during our mandate and thank the Secretariat for their invaluable support.

I thank you, Mr. President, and wish you success in your future endeavours, and I wish all a happy New Year.

The President

I thank the representative of Angola for his kind words addressed to me and for the valuable service he rendered to Africa, the Security Council and the United Nations during the two years of his country’s mandate as a member of the Security Council. I wish him every success in the future.

I now give the floor to Mr. Heraldo Muñoz, Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Al Qaeda and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities

Mr. Muñoz

Two years have passed since Chile assumed the responsibility of chairing the Al Qaeda and Taliban sanctions Committee. It has been a demanding experience requiring great sacrifices and, at the same time, an honour and one of the most enriching experiences I have acquired among my various duties during my time on the Council, which now is under your responsible and effective presidency, Mr. President.

In addition to sharing some objective facts on my guidance of the Committee during the period, I would like to reflect, from a personal point of view, on some of the advances and challenges on which we should continue working in order to improve the functioning of this important Committee.

Over the past two years, we have held 80 formal and informal meetings, with a constant workload. Now, at the end of that period, I will focus my remarks on a few principal points.

The first relates to the consolidated list. Since the consolidated list is the main tool used by the Committee, one of my major tasks as Chairman has been to improve it, quantitatively and qualitatively. In the first area, I would note that over the past two years, 88 individuals and 23 entities have been added to the Committee’s consolidated list. There have also been more than 98 amendments to the list, with a view to rectifying errors, adding information and clarifying some points. Here, I have been able to count on the valuable cooperation of the Secretariat staff working with the Committee and on that of the Monitoring Team.

Despite progress made, it is clear that much remains to be done. The effectiveness of the list must be enhanced, especially through cooperation on the part of Member States. I urge them to continue to propose in a proactive fashion for inclusion on the consolidated list, recalling that resolution 1526 (2004) reiterates that request to States and indicates that it is necessary to propose such names unless to do so would compromise investigations or enforcement actions. I should also like to request that Member States should continue to provide additional information so that the quality of that information can continue to be improved.

The report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (A/59/565) has just been submitted to the General Assembly, and I would like to make a preliminary reference to the chapter on sanctions. Sanctions against Al Qaeda and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities are not traditional sanctions against countries: they are applied by all States to a list of persons and entities, whatever their place of residence or location. Frequently, the subjects are elusive in nature or operate as charitable organizations or legal or illegal enterprises. Moreover, a large number of possible subjects do not appear on the Committee’s consolidated list and may not be proposed by Member States for inclusion. But paradoxically, those who are not listed could possibly be the ones who could carry out the most serious terrorist attacks, without any prior indication or warning.

The report of the Panel requests that the Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee institute “a process for reviewing the cases of individuals and institutions claiming to have been wrongly included or retained” (A/59/565, para. 152). That does not conform to reality, as the Committee already has a process in its guidelines to de-list individuals or entities. Moreover, humanitarian exemptions were adopted in resolution 1452 (2002), which lists various reasons why we can entertain such requests by States with respect to individuals included on the list.

We think it highly important to continue to pay great attention to the human rights dimension and due process in using this instrument. This humanitarian concern must be approached in a well-balanced fashion with a view to ensuring that any concerns can be addressed, without the list losing its effectiveness.

As I had said at a previous meeting, visits to States have been very useful, both in obtaining useful information on the implementation of the sanctions and in promoting dialogue with Member States. During this period I had the pleasure of visiting 21 countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Australia, Belgium in the context of the European Union, Cambodia, Germany, Indonesia twice, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. I believe that visits to selected countries are of core importance in establishing dialogue and gaining field knowledge of how sanctions are being implemented, as well as what problems, successes and suggestions may exist. Because other Committee Chairmen will travel in the future, it would be a good idea to consider joint visits when appropriate. It is also important for dialogue with States to take place periodically in New York.

I would like to emphasize that one of the most recurrent features I have observed is the need for long-term technical cooperation with countries that need it in order to strengthen their capabilities to combat terrorism. Many countries requested this during our visits. Some of them, fortunately very few, naively believe that, although they do not have the appropriate legislation or the necessary instruments, since there have been no terrorist attacks on their territory, they are safe from this scourge and do not have to risk damaging their economic or touristic image by requesting cooperation. They are wrong. The greatest security for a country is international cooperation to strengthen its capabilities, as no country is exempt from this global threat. Moreover, we should recall that Security Council decisions are not optional in nature. Rather, they are binding under Chapter VII. In any case, the broad majority of countries understand this.

Another aspect that I have noted is the need to continue close cooperation with the Counter-Terrorism Committee and with the Committee established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1540 (2004). This cooperation should be extended to other bodies and agencies of the United Nations, as well as other international bodies. Personally, I began some fruitful collaboration with the European Union, Interpol and others. I hope that this will continue and will be consolidated. International cooperation in intelligence-sharing is, as mentioned by many countries, essential.

There is another point that I believe is very important. A continuous dialogue must be pursued among cultures. We must avoid approaches based on the “clash of civilizations” when combating terrorism, nor should we identify the phenomenon with any particular religion, culture or people. That could lead to discrimination or intolerance, which, in the long term, will only serve the purposes of terrorism.

With regard to certain radical interpretations of Islam, authorities in many countries requested me, during my visits, to pay more attention to statements by moderate Islamic leaders who condemn Al Qaeda terrorism and that of its associates. Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and others stated this very clearly. In other words, terrorism must also be fought on the ideological plane.

Another aspect that I have noted during this period is that poverty, discrimination and social exclusion abet terrorism. Youth frequently do not have opportunities and find a sense of identity, esteem and social support in terrorist organizations. It is only the leaders of terrorist groups who come from comfortable and wealthy sectors and have higher education, but most of the base comes from a modest origin. It is clear that, whatever the underlying causes, nothing can justify terrorism.

I must add, as many studies on Al Qaeda have said, that the war in Iraq has attracted and encouraged “jihad” fighters, who are using that country as a theatre of operations, a theatre of opportunity. As long as the conflict in Iraq is prolonged and becomes more deep-rooted, recruitment for Al Qaeda will flourish. The expansion of democracy, the rule of law and pluralism erode the support for the extremist ideology of Al Qaeda.

I believe that the persistence of the conflict in the Middle East also encourages the sense of injustice, frustration and hatred, which serves as a breeding ground for Al Qaeda terrorism. If progress is not made on the road map and peace between Palestinians and Israelis is not achieved, if the right of Palestine to be a sovereign State living in peace and security, side by side with Israel is denied, the perception of unequal and degrading treatment will grow in the Islamic world and this will be used by Al Qaeda, whose manipulative message seeks to offer a palliative for the widely felt injury to dignity and pride.

Finally I would like to speak of the relative effectiveness of different sanctions measures. The freezing of financial assets and economic resources has been one of the greatest successes in the implementation of the sanctions, and it has been possible to freeze a substantial quantity of such assets. More than $135 million deposited in the accounts of individuals or entities has been frozen throughout the world. Many countries have established financial intelligence units and have implemented the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force. However, since Al Qaeda has sought new ways to finance its operations, it is essential that the Committee continue to carefully monitor alternative means of collecting and transferring funds.

Concerning travel bans, although there have been no reports of persons having been detained at the border control points, I think it would be excessive to assume that the measure has been a failure. It is possible that the Committee’s travel ban has had an important deterrent effect on individuals on the list. In other words, there may be individuals who have been prevented from travelling, or have been forced to do so illegally. As a preventive measure, this has been very important, although I must note that implementation should continue to be improved, including through cooperation with Interpol.

With reference to the arms embargo, I believe that progress has been made. Terrorists have been unable to gain commercial access to military weapons, since States have exercised proper control. Now we must make further efforts to ensure that Al Qaeda does not continue to have access to small arms and light weapons or, even more important, to dual-use material. We therefore believe that there must be, inter alia, an international instrument which would make it possible to identify and trace small arms and light weapons. Accordingly, the Council should promote the adoption of good practices for the reliable regulation of materials such as ammonium nitrate, practices which already exist in some countries.

In that connection, it must not be forgotten that the effectiveness of sanctions depends upon their implementation by Member States and upon the cooperation of those States in combating Al Qaeda.

There are clear distinctions in the implementation of sanctions. While some States have greater means for complying with their obligations, they have not yet demonstrated in their reports that they have fully implemented the measures. I believe that in future the Committee, with the support of the Monitoring Team, should focus on those States and that they should together explore specific cooperative steps towards raising the level of compliance.

In conclusion, I note that the sanctions regime is relatively new, but it has evolved from suggesting a few names for the list to providing sufficient information to identify the subjects of sanctions and to explain the reasons for which they have been added to the list. It has grown from listing individuals and entities to elaborating procedures for removing names from the list and applying procedures for humanitarian exceptions. The focus of the Committee has moved from the preparation of reports on sanctions implementation by States, to concrete, active dialogue with States. Because of the unique nature of the regime, other sanctions regimes provide no example to follow or imitate. Frequently, members of the Committee have had to create new procedures on the fly.

I believe that the Committee is playing an essential role in combating terrorism and that it should therefore continue to act quickly and efficiently.

While the struggle against terrorism has made headway, the international community is far from winning the war against terrorism. As an extremist ideology and an extremist message, Al Qaeda has grown, and today enjoys greater support as a decentralized network of terrorist groups than it did when Osama bin Laden established it as a structured organization. Therefore, the efforts of the international community must be doubled, given that we are facing a challenge that is not only military, but also eminently political, diplomatic, sociological and ideological. Accordingly, cooperation, through the United Nations is essential and irreplaceable.

Finally, I want to thank the members of the Security Council for their exceptional work in the Committee. It has been an honour to work with a group of diplomats who showed great professionalism, dedication and enthusiasm, and who have spent long days working on highly complex tasks. As an example, I would mention Carla Serazzi of my Mission, a tireless professional who often coordinated the work of the members of the Committee. I would also like to mention the support I have received from the panel of experts, first of all those of the Monitoring Group, as well as those of the Monitoring Team, headed by Mr. Richard Barrett, whose work has been professional, effective and important. Similarly, I would like, in particular, to emphasize the invaluable and dedicated work of the Secretariat, through its sanctions section, and in particular, the work of Ms. Tatiana Cosio, Mr. Ulrik Ahnfeldt-Mollerup and other members of the team. In addition, all of my colleagues in the Council have always given solid support for our work — which is in the common interest. Without their unwavering and tireless support, we would have been unable to advance in so many different areas. I thank them, one and all.

The President

I thank Ambassador Muñoz for his briefing and for the kind words he addressed to me, as well as for the tremendous efforts he has made and the results he achieved during the past two years as a member of the Council and as Chairman of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999).

I now give the floor to Ambassador Munir Akram, Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1521 (2003) concerning Liberia.

Mr. Akram

I welcome this opportunity to share some personal thoughts as Chair of the Liberia Committee for the last two years. I take this opportunity, first of all, to thank all Council members and, in particular, the Committee experts, as well as the Secretariat staff, for their contributions to the Committee’s work and their support for the Chairman. I commend, in particular, Loraine Richard-Martin, the Secretary of the Committee during 2003, and her equally able successor James Sutterlin, as well as their colleagues Tilo Stolz and Arminia Decepida, for their outstanding performance.

Our work over the past two years could be divided into two distinct periods: the first period, from January to December 2003 as the 1343 Committee; and the second period, from December 2003 to the present time, as the successor 1521 Committee. The first period was marked by ongoing civil war and continuing violations of the sanctions and the arms embargo. The second period, in 2004, was marked by an improvement in the situation as Liberia underwent a transition from conflict to peacebuilding.

Since August 2003, there have been no violations of the arms embargo that have been reported. However, the Committee agreed to adopt an approach towards the continuation of sanctions that is differentiated between the arms sanctions and the economic sanctions.

The Committee has had to rely a great deal on the Panel of Experts, in the absence of a mechanism for reporting by Member States. Also, the guidelines for the Committee’s work have not been approved since the Committee was established in 2001. It is my hope that those matters will be finalized as a matter of priority next year.

My first and foremost priority in the Committee has been to maintain transparency in its work. I would like to briefly comment on some aspects of the Committee, and perhaps my comments may apply to others.

In my view, in devising and implementing measures under Chapter VII, we must remain focused on the initial objectives that led to their imposition. The goalposts for the maintenance of sanctions should not be shifted in mid-course. The monitoring and implementation of sanctions is a difficult task and an expensive one. Sanctions need a closer cost-benefit analysis. The socio-economic and humanitarian impact of sanctions must be clearly and regularly assessed. It is equally important to objectively assess the capacity of the Government concerned to fulfil the conditionalities imposed by the Council. There is a need to promote coordination in policies with regional and subregional organizations — in Liberia’s case, with the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union.

The lifting of sanctions should be based on a political judgement rather than on technical requirements linked to conditions for lifting such sanctions; and in transitional situations, ways must be found to remove the stigma of sanctions against the country.

Having offered those comments as Chairman of the Liberia Committee, I would like to add a few comments as Pakistan completes its two-year term on the Security Council at the end of this month.

It has been a singular privilege for the members of my delegation and myself to serve on the Security Council with so many able and outstanding colleagues. Our term has coincided with momentous developments in international relations — developments in which the Council and the United Nations have been in the eye of the storm. We have entered a new era in history marked, paradoxically, by the asymmetry of power as well as the interdependence of nations.

We have yet to determine a new paradigm for managing global affairs in this new era, but the United Nations and the Security Council will have a central role in it. The United Nations is an indispensable instrument for the promotion of humankind’s shared goals. The Security Council is the crown jewel of the United Nations, entrusted with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and empowered with the unique capacity to create international obligations and take enforcement action. Yet the essence of the Charter is cooperative, not coercive multilateralism.

The Security Council’s scope of action extends sequentially from pre-conflict peacemaking, through conflict-management and termination to post-conflict pacification. In our view, where the Council and the United Nations really fall short is in exploiting the tremendous possibilities contained in Chapter VI of the Charter for the pacific settlement of disputes. The Secretary-General, his special representatives, the Security Council itself, its subsidiary bodies and missions, as well as other United Nations judicial and humanitarian structures can play a much more active role in reconciling differences and settling disputes before they result in open conflict. The special debate on the pacific settlement of disputes, held during Pakistan’s first presidency in May 2003, identified a number of views, ideas and proposals which need to be seriously pursued and promoted.

In the recent past, the Council has been too quick to evoke its authority under Chapter VII of the Charter, often where the threat to international peace was neither imminent nor fully visible. The provisions of Article 41 have been utilized with increasing frequency to impose sanctions and punish recalcitrant regimes and warring parties. The effectiveness, value and negative consequences of such sanctions measures have yet to be fully analysed and evaluated, as is apparent from the report of our working group on sanctions.

Moreover, there is a visible impatience on the part of some, once Chapter VII has been invoked, to move rapidly towards the application of Article 42 of the Charter and to threaten or authorize enforcement action. In our view, the space between Articles 41 and 42 of the Charter is not always fully explored, including in some celebrated cases, to achieve the international community’s objectives without recourse to the use of force and military intervention.

One consequence of the proclivity to punish and enforce, rather than conciliate and mediate, is that the major threats to international peace and security — such as in South Asia, North Asia and the Middle East — are prevented by one or the other of our permanent members from being addressed substantively in the Security Council. Thus, while the Council expends most of its time in seeking, not always successfully, to manage internal conflicts — some, admittedly, with cross-border or regional implications — and in worrying about putative threats from terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the real threats to global security are being addressed through arrangements outside the Security Council. It is almost as if the real threats to international peace and security are considered to be too important to be entrusted to the Security Council.

The Council’s power of enforcement is most often directed, at present, against weak regimes, militias or mullahs. Since Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait, the Security Council has not taken enforcement action against States which have resorted to the use of force, aggression and occupation against other States and peoples. United Nations peacekeeping missions have emerged as the principal instrument of enforcement action by the Security Council. After the failures of Somalia, Srebrenica and Rwanda, United Nations peacekeeping succeeded in Sierra Leone. That success and the Council’s preoccupation with intra-State conflicts have led to a strong surge in demand for United Nations peacekeeping, especially in West Africa, Central Africa and, perhaps, in the southern Sudan.

Today, the United Nations fields over 70,000 military and civilian personnel in 16 missions. Pakistan is proud to be the largest contributor to those United Nations peacekeeping operations. However, the nature of peacekeeping has changed from simple operations involving the observance and enforcement of ceasefires to the management of complex crises involving duties in disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and reconstruction. In short, the United Nations is now in the business of nation-building.

The oversight and management of such nation-building consumes at least half the time and attention of the Security Council, inevitably diffusing its focus on the more existential threats to international peace and security. Huge expenditures are incurred on peacekeeping, but there are consistent shortfalls in the resources required to reconstruct broken nations and build sustainable security.

Pakistan has held the consistent view that many of those complex crises should be entrusted to mechanisms involving other major United Nations organs, especially the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly, so that comprehensive action can be taken to address the political, economic and social dimensions of such crises. While the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change has proposed the creation of a peacebuilding commission under the Security Council, Pakistan’s view remains that a more practical mechanism would be the creation of ad hoc composite committees to address such crises as and when they arise.

The preoccupation of the Security Council with intra-State conflict has been conceptualized in the thesis of the responsibility to protect populations that are at risk in so-called failed or failing States. The question, of course, arises as to when that responsibility to protect commences — once the State is on the verge of collapse or well before, when conditions of poverty and underdevelopment clearly indicate that a country might collapse into State failure unless it is assisted by the international community.

An international responsibility to protect can only become legitimate if it flows from a prior acceptance of the right to development of all peoples — a right that encompasses the right to food, shelter, fair terms of trade, relief from crippling debt, and adequate access to finance and technology. Without the international solidarity implied by the right to development, the world is destined to witness a host of failed States. Humanitarian interventions invoking the responsibility to protect could come to be perceived as the birth of a new era of recolonization. Nor is it clear that such interventions could be funded or well managed by the international community. In our view, it would be much wiser to devote the required resources for a pre-emptive strike against poverty and underdevelopment.

There are two other areas in which the work of the Security Council cannot remain exclusive: terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. After 11 September 2001, the adoption of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001), creating the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), was a necessary and desirable response. But if the CTC is to be effective in eradicating terrorism rather than in only addressing symptoms, its scope of action must be broadened to address the root causes of terrorism, especially the political and economic injustice against Muslim peoples in Palestine, Kashmir and elsewhere. We look forward to the comprehensive strategy to be proposed by the Secretary-General. Clearly, counter-terrorism endeavours must involve the active participation of all those countries whose contributions are essential to achieving the objectives of a comprehensive strategy.

Similarly, the Security Council adopted resolution 1540 (2004) as a stopgap measure to prevent the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists and non-State actors. A comprehensive non-proliferation strategy can only be pursued with the universal participation and cooperative action of all the Member States of the United Nations. It cannot be achieved by the Security Council alone, where some enjoy extraordinary powers and unequalled privileges in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament.

It is obvious that the Security Council can be, and should be, made more effective and efficient. Due to the unequal power enjoyed by five of its permanent members, the Security Council is structurally constrained from always acting in an objective, consistent and just manner. But some steps can be taken to improve its functioning. Transparency and accountability are prerequisites to achieve that. As provided in the Charter and the Council’s provisional rules of procedure, the Security Council’s meetings should, as a rule, be open. Close consultations should be the exception. The dictum “open covenants openly arrived at” must also apply to the Security Council.

The election of non-permanent members is also an instrument to ensure accountability on the part of those States that are accorded the privilege of serving on the Council. During its term, therefore, Pakistan sought to reflect not only its national interests but also the aspirations of our constituency, namely, the countries of Asia and the Islamic, non-aligned and developing world. The accountability of Council members will not be enhanced by creating new permanent members, as they will not be obliged to face the democratic test of a periodic election by their peers in the General Assembly. The privilege and claim of a country to represent its region or a group must be subjected to the periodic democratic test of elections by the General Assembly.

During our two years in the Security Council, the delegation of Pakistan was often advised to temper its idealism in the face of power realities. However, that has not shaken our belief that sustainable security can only be secured when principles have primacy over power. The world needs a Security Council that does not always mirror power realities, but one that also acts with moral authority and credibility. The world needs a Council that can also stand up for the weak and powerless, a Council that is a force for objectivity, fairness, equality and justice in the management of international relations.

I would like to thank the President of the Council very much. I am very glad to have ended our term under his presidency, which reflects not only the great skill of Algerian diplomacy but also the spirit of the season.

The President

I thank Ambassador Munir Akram for his briefing and for his kind words addressed to me and my country, as well as for the great service he rendered to the United Nations as Chairman of a sanctions Committee during the two years he was a member of the Security Council. I wish him every success.

I now call on the last speaker on my list, Ambassador Gunter Pleuger, Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1572 (2004), concerning Côte d’Ivoire.

Mr. Pleuger

My report will be extremely short. As the whole Council knows, the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1572 (2004) was set up only two weeks ago. We held our first formal meeting on 6 December, and held one informal meeting on 16 December. We issued a note verbale on 17 December, informing all Member States of the measures taken, namely, concerning the arms embargo — which has been in force since 15 November — and such targeted sanctions as a travel ban and the freezing of assets, which went into force on 15 December. We also informed Member States of the fact that the Committee has initiated a process to establish a list of individuals and entities to be subject to the travel ban and to the freezing of assets. In that process, which has not yet been concluded, the Committee will fully take into account the current efforts at mediation being undertaken by the African Union, in line with the Council’s presidential statement adopted on 16 December.

As our term on the Security Council will also expire at the end of this month, I would like, on behalf of my delegation, to thank all colleagues for their good cooperation.

I will resist the temptation to respond to what was said by Ambassador Munir Akram, because I think that is a discussion that we will have to have in the General Assembly, and not in the Security Council. But allow me to say just one short word in that regard. I agree with Ambassador Akram that we have gone through troubled times in the Council over the last two years. I think that we also agree around the table that the Secretary-General was right when he spoke about a fork in the road as regards keeping the United Nations relevant against a backdrop of new threats and challenges. We now have before us the report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (A/59/565). I believe it essential that we all work together, within and outside the Council, to implement the Panel’s proposals.

I think we have a common interest in strengthening the only global multilateral system that we have. In order to strengthen its most important organ, which has the main responsibility for peace and stability — that is, the Security Council — we have to make sure that it gains in effectiveness, gains in legitimacy and gains in transparency so as to make its decisions not only more legitimate, but also acceptable and implementable. I think that we will do that next year. I hope that States members of the General Assembly will find the political will and meet the responsibility to increase the effectiveness and the legitimacy of the Council.

The President

I thank Ambassador Pleuger for his briefing and for his service to the United Nations during his chairmanship — albeit brief — of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1572 (2004).

Mr. Yáñez-Barnuevo (Spain)

I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for having given me the floor at this very special meeting — the last such meeting to be held during the presidency of Algeria and the last Council meeting at which the departing non-permanent members have an opportunity to speak.

The item on our agenda is briefings by Chairmen of Security Council committees and working groups. By chance or, perhaps, design, the four previous speakers — the Permanent Representatives of Angola, Chile, Pakistan and Germany — represent non-permanent member countries that will be leaving the Council at the end of the year. As my delegation is the fifth non-permanent member to be leaving on 31 December, I would like briefly to express, as my colleagues have done, our satisfaction at having been able to work side by side with other members of the Council in fulfilling the weighty responsibilities involved in working in such an important United Nations organ, whose critical role, pursuant to the Charter, is to contribute to the maintenance and the re-establishment of peace and security throughout the world.

I should like to thank all the members of the Council and, through you, Sir, the Secretariat and other delegations that contribute to the Council’s work, for their cooperation, which we have been able to count upon. I should also like to point out that there is life beyond the Security Council — that the United Nations extends far beyond the Security Council and that we are all called upon to cooperate, in one way or another, in the work that is expected of us to revitalize the Organization in all of its aspects, as called for by the Secretary-General and by the recent report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. Spain stands ready to do everything possible to cooperate in this task.

The President

I thank Ambassador Yáñez-Barnuevo of Spain for his kind words. We appreciate the important role that Spain played during its chairmanship of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001). I agree that there is life beyond the Council; I wish him every success outside the Council.

The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.

The meeting rose at 11.15 a.m.
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