|Date||15 December 2008|
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Briefings by Chairmen of subsidiary bodies of the Security Council
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Zhang Yesui
|Mr. De Rivière
|Mr. Terzi di Sant’Agata
|Mr. Bui The Giang
Adoption of the agenda
Briefings by Chairmen of subsidiary bodies of the Security Council
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.
At this meeting, the Council will hear briefings by Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, Permanent Representative of Italy and Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan and the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006) concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Ambassador Dumisani Shadrack Kumalo, Permanent Representative of South Africa and Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa; Ambassador R. M. Marty M. Natelegawa, Permanent Representative of Indonesia and Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 918 (1994) concerning Rwanda, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Working Group of the Whole on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations; Ambassador Jan Grauls, Permanent Representative of Belgium and Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1572 (2004) concerning Côte d’Ivoire and the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006); and Ambassador Ricardo Alberto Arias, Permanent Representative of Panama and Chairman of the Security Council Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions.
I now give the floor to Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan and the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006) concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
I would like to take this opportunity to share with the Council some observations concerning the two Sanctions Committees that Italy has had the honour to chair over the past two years, namely, the Sudan Sanctions Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) and the Security Council Sanctions Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006). I will start with the Sudan Sanctions Committee, and then I will talk about the Sanctions Committee on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The work undertaken by the 1591 Sanctions Committee, on the Sudan, has been quite challenging. While all the members of the Committee share a common objective — to bring peace and stability to Darfur — their understanding of the role of sanctions in ending the conflict, and of the conflict itself, is different. That is evident in the fact that, after almost four years in existence, the Committee has yet to designate any individual as subject to the travel ban and the assets freeze. The Council designated four individuals who are currently subject to the targeted sanctions. In addition, experience with sanctions has shown that it is difficult to monitor — and therefore to enforce — an arms embargo covering only part of the territory of a country, as in the case of Darfur. Notwithstanding those constraints, the Committee has been able to discharge its mandate, which is to monitor, and not enforce, the measures imposed under resolutions 1556 (2004) and 1591 (2005).
The Committee has regularly reported to the Council on the lack of compliance with the existing measures by all parties to the conflict. It has provided a forum to discuss the implementation of those measures and has assessed the reports of the Panel of Experts, as mandated by resolution 1591 (2005). The direction that both my predecessor, Ambassador Spatafora, and I have given to the work of the Committee in order to achieve those limited, yet important, results has been based on a constant drive for consensus as the best way to keep the Committee united on key tasks.
Our work, however, has not been as effective as we would have liked. In particular, many Panel recommendations have not been given the desired follow-up because of the lack of consensus. I wish the new Chairman a more productive biennium in that regard. On that point, I have noted with interest remarks made by some delegations during my last briefing to the Council encouraging a review of the decision-making procedures of the subsidiary bodies of the Security Council in order to better align their work with the direction given to them by the principal organ.
I wish to thank the members of the Committee for their active contributions. I also wish to thank present and past members of the Panel of Experts for having been the Committee’s eyes and ears on the ground, often under very difficult conditions. My thanks also go to the Secretariat staff for their sound advice and accurate drafting. My recommendations for the future are as follows.
My first recommendation is to also reach out to other sources of information on Darfur, in particular within international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In that connection, I wish to add that, last Friday, for the first time since its establishment, the Committee heard a briefing by an NGO about information it had gathered concerning ongoing violations of resolutions 1556 (2004) and 1591 (2005). I hope that such a practice can continue.
My second recommendation is to promote dialogue with the countries in the region and to explore further the opportunities provided by the mandate of the Committee in that regard.
My third recommendation is to ensure liaison with the mediation of the political process and with the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). In that connection, I wish to note that, while the Council gave UNAMID a mandate to monitor the arms embargo, the mission does not yet have the resources to effectively carry out that task.
The rationale behind my three suggestions is that the Committee does not operate in a vacuum and cannot remain self-referential. On the contrary, it needs to be in tune with the other components of the Security Council’s strategy for Darfur, whose common aim is to bring peace and stability to all Darfurians. As I mentioned before, despite the differing views on the role of sanctions, all members of the Committee strongly share that objective. Building on that common ground will be the key to the success of the Committee.
I should now like to refer to the 1718 Committee. As I near the end of my chairmanship of that Committee, I am pleased to brief the members of the Security Council on that important body.
In discharging its mandate, the Committee was guided by paragraph 12 of resolution 1718 (2006). Since 1 January 2007, the Committee, while ready to meet as frequently as necessary to carry out its duties effectively, held 14 sessions of informal consultations at the expert level and one formal meeting.
Owing to keen interest from Member States outside the Council, but also on the part of many represented on the Council, the Committee addressed the issue of implementing subparagraph 8(a)(iii) of resolution 1718 (2006), concerning the ban on the export of luxury goods to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In that connection, on 21 February 2007, the Committee issued a letter to Member States clarifying that any definition of luxury goods as may be necessary for Member States to implement that provision of the resolution would be the national responsibility of individual Member States. The Committee also reaffirmed that the measures contained in subparagraph 8(a)(iii) of resolution 1718 (2006) are consistent with the objectives of the resolution and are not intended to restrict the supply of ordinary goods to the wider population of the country, or to have a negative humanitarian impact on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Committee further referred Member States to national reports submitted pursuant to paragraph 11 of the resolution as cases of national definitions and implementation with respect to luxury goods.
On 15 March 2007, the Committee issued two letters in reply to communications received from the International Air Transport Association and the Permanent Mission of Uganda to the United Nations, which had sought guidance on specific cases of cooperation with the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea after the adoption of resolution 1718 (2006).
On 20 June 2007, at a formal meeting, the Committee adopted the guidelines for the conduct of its work. That document — which was transmitted to all States for their information and use as necessary and which was posted on the Committee’s web page — serves as a tool to guide the work of the Committee and to facilitate the implementation of the measures imposed by resolution 1718 (2006).
In accordance with its mandate, the Committee continued the process of determining additional items, materials, equipment, goods and technology to be specified for the purpose of subparagraph 8(a)(ii) of the resolution, and of adjusting the lists contained in documents S/2006/814, S/2006/815 and S/2006/853 through the consideration of amendments proposed by the members of the Committee.
Paragraph 11 of resolution 1718 (2006) calls upon all States Members of the United Nations to report to the Security Council within 30 days of the adoption of the resolution on the steps they have taken to implement effectively the provisions of paragraph 8 of the resolution. As of 15 December 2008, the Committee had received reports from 73 countries and one organization — the European Union — concerning the implementation of the resolution. In that regard, Member States’ reports are issued as official documents of the Committee and are also accessible electronically on the Committee’s website, unless a State requests that its reply be kept confidential.
In subparagraph 12(e) of resolution 1718 (2006), the Security Council mandated the Committee to designate individuals and entities subject to the measures imposed by subparagraphs 8(d) and (e) of resolution 1718 (2006) — for instance, targeted financial sanctions and the travel ban, respectively. Since its inception, the Committee has received no request for designation on the basis of the criteria contained in the two subparagraphs to which I have referred.
Since July 2007, no information relevant to the implementation of its mandate has been brought to the attention of the Committee.
While affirming that the primary responsibility for implementing the provisions of the resolution rests with States, the Committee stands ready to facilitate the implementation of those measures once it is requested to do so. The Committee continues to cooperate with Member States and relevant organizations upon receiving specific requests in that regard.
I thank Ambassador Terzi di Sant’Agata for his briefings.
I now give the floor to Ambassador Kumalo, Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992), concerning Somalia, and of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa.
For the past two years, I have had the honour to serve as the Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia and the Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa.
Regarding the 751 Committee on Somalia, the information we have considered has indeed been consistently sobering as well as troubling. The reports of the Monitoring Group have documented the worsening security situation in Somalia. They have been unsparing in describing the widespread violations of the arms embargo by land, air and sea, which has continued unabated for the past 16 years.
The Monitoring Group has consistently reported on the general state of lawlessness and the lack of accountability that prevails in Somalia. Recently, the link between piracy, kidnapping and ransom payments in financing embargo violations committed by armed groups has received increased attention. In recent months, the number of piracy incidents has increased dramatically, capturing global attention. The Monitoring Group has described piracy as a multi-million dollar industry involving up to 2,000 people, using over 60 small boats and several mother ships. The pirates are said to have earned enormous amounts of money, estimated to be more than $100 million in recent years.
This has made Somali piracy very compelling indeed. Yet Somali piracy is only one of the symptoms of the root causes of the Somali conflict. The Monitoring Group has noted that pirates invoke legitimate Somali grievances regarding illegal fishing in Somali waters by foreign ships, together with the illegal dumping of toxic waste off the Somali coast. These grievances have earned the pirates general support for their activities among Somali society.
In its latest report, the Monitoring Group has recommended the creation of a maritime administration caretaker authority for Somalia that could mitigate the scourge of piracy, as well as begin to address the problems of toxic waste dumping and illegal fishing on the Somali coast. But, even if this recommendation could be accepted, that would still be addressing only one part of the Somali problem, albeit a visible one. This also explains why the arms embargo imposed by the Council in 1992 has had such a minimal effect. What Somalia urgently needs is for its tragic situation to be addressed in a comprehensive and holistic manner. In other words, the solution for Somalia lies in addressing piracy and the arms embargo together with a political solution that will lead to the establishment of reliable Government authority in Somalia. Otherwise, systematic violations will continue to occur in an environment that has been one of impunity, where there are few or no consequences for any violations.
A promising start has already been made with the Djibouti Agreement, which brought the Transitional Federal Government together with some of the Islamic groups interested in rebuilding Somalia. Besides the fact that the Djibouti Agreement is desperately in need of international political support, there is a lack of the security stabilization inside Somalia that would allow for the political process to grow some roots. The African Union has contributed the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to help stabilize the situation and support the Transitional Federal Government. And AMISOM, which is in dire need of strengthening, can never be enough on its own.
The Security Council and the international community must address Somalia in a holistic manner, because we cannot watch Somalia become an even worst disaster than it is right now. Thousands of people are dying of hunger and disease in Somalia — that is if the murderous militias that run freely throughout Somalia do not kill them first.
So, the Council can pass the toughest resolutions on piracy; the Council can strengthen the arms embargo and can even aim the most stringent measures at individuals and entities that may be seen as obstructing the process in Somalia; but such fragmented efforts are unlikely to succeed without a comprehensive solution. Meanwhile, Somalia will continue to sink further and further into despair. Surely the people of Somalia deserve a better life than the one they have right now.
I would like to offer my warmest wishes to my successor as Chair of this Committee — I am not sure whether to say condolences. I would also like to express appreciation to the Monitoring Group for its commendable work. We could not have done our work without the tireless Secretariat, which has provided support and advice to me and my delegation, as well as to the Committee, over the past two years.
South Africa assumed the Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa because we felt that this would strengthen the African agenda on peace, security and development. Our overall contribution to this Council was in line with the aims of the Working Group. During our presidency of the Council, we highlighted the need to strengthen the working relationship between the African Union and the United Nations, in particular the Security Council. We hosted thematic debates that brought several heads of State and Government from Africa to the Security Council. Right now, we look forward to a report of the African Union-United Nations panel headed by former Prime Minister Romano Prodi of Italy, which will make concrete proposals on how the United Nations can support the work of the African Union with predictable and sustainable resources.
Regarding the programme of the Working Group, we held four meetings, including a session at which the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr. Lynn Pascoe, briefed the Working Group on the reform of the Department of Political Affairs. The briefing provided the Working Group with an opportunity to understand how the Department of Political Affairs sees its role in conflict prevention and resolution efforts.
Another important meeting took place on 1 December 2008 and addressed the concept of responsibility to protect. There were two main purposes for holding the meeting. The first was that the Secretary-General is expected to present his report on the responsibility to protect to the General Assembly early next year, which will then hold a debate on that report. Our deliberations in the Working Group on the concept of responsibility to protect could contribute to that debate, whose objective is, among others, to arrive at a common understanding on issues that are set forth in paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document (A/60/L.1).
Second, it was our understanding that the concept of responsibility to protect falls within the mandate of the Working Group. Therefore, it was critical that the meeting be understood within the context of the mandate of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, which set forth
“To propose recommendations to the Security Council to enhance cooperation in conflict prevention and resolution, between the United Nations and regional (OAU) and subregional organizations” (S/2002/207, section III (iv)).
Finally, I would like to express my deep appreciation for the cooperation of the members of the Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa in our endeavour to contribute to the successful implementation of the Working Group’s mandate. I also wish to thank the Secretariat for its support throughout the activities of the Working Group.
I thank Ambassador Kumalo his briefings.
I now give the floor to Ambassador Marty Natalegawa, Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 918 (1994) concerning Rwanda, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations.
With your permission, Sir, I would like to share with members of the Council some reflections in my personal capacity on the work of the three subsidiary bodies of the Security Council to which you just referred: the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 918 (1994) concerning Rwanda, and the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations.
I would like at the outset to refer to the sanctions Committee on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In general terms, the measures established and progressively adapted by the Security Council in resolutions 1493 (2003), 1596 (2005), 1698 (2006), 1771 (2007) and 1807 (2008) aim at preventing all rebel groups operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo from being supplied with arms and/or participating in military activities. Adopted on 31 March 2008, resolution 1807 (2008) marked an important watershed in the duration of the sanctions regime. While supplier States continue to be required by the resolution to notify the sanctions Committee of arms shipments to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to include in such notifications all relevant information — including, where appropriate, the end user, the proposed date of delivery and the itinerary of shipments — the Security Council effectively lifted the arms embargo on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Resolution 1807 (2008) was also adopted by the Council with a view to simplifying the sanctions regime and improving the implementation of the arms embargo, for instance by terminating the requirement on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to designate receiving sites for the authorized shipments of arms and related materiel. One could make the case, in fact, that the introduction of more clarity and the simplification of the sanctions regime played a positive role in the renewed cooperation which the Democratic Republic of the Congo authorities extended to the Group of Experts, as noted in the Group’s final report submitted this month.
During the course of 2008, the Committee proactively conducted its work and convened a number of sessions of informal consultations, the majority of which were held to discuss the reports of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including possible actions to be taken by the Committee arising from the Group’s recommendations.
In connection with the list of individuals and entities subject to the measures imposed under paragraphs 13 and 15 of resolution 1596 (2005), the Committee acted on new information conveyed by the Group of Experts and Member States by updating the list and with a view to providing Member States with the most accurate information possible to facilitate implementation of the measures imposed on listed individuals and entities. Implementation is hindered, however, when listed individuals have no tangible assets or do not travel across international borders, thus limiting the impact of the assets freeze and travel ban.
The Committee also considered four requests in 2008 for de-listing. In terms of proposals for listing, the Committee currently has under consideration a request submitted by the Permanent Representative of Rwanda in May 2008, whose delegation transmitted a list of individuals to the Committee, requesting their inclusion in the list.
Further to its efforts to engage with Member States, the Committee continued its practice of acknowledging notifications received by supplier States during the course of 2008. However, challenges remain, as only seven notifications have been received by the Committee since the adoption of resolution 1807 (2008) on 31 March 2008.
The Committee also interacted with a number of Member States in connection with a request for exemption to the assets freeze, and transmitted a number of letters to Member States drawing their attention to the recommendations contained in various reports of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Committee also addressed letters to a number of international organizations, drawing their attention to possible areas of assistance to reinforce the capacity of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to fully implement the arms embargo.
The Group of Experts has played an instrumental role in monitoring the sanctions regime and in facilitating action by the Committee towards the improvement of the implementation of the sanctions regime. As part of these efforts, the Group collaborated extensively with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with a view to analysing information gathered by the Mission on the ground that is relevant to the mandate of the Group and the Committee.
As highlighted in the latest report of the Group of Experts, many challenges remain towards achieving full implementation of the sanctions regime. It is unfortunate that, several years after the adoption of the Committee’s travel ban and assets freeze against individuals and entities violating the arms embargo, the level of awareness and implementation of such measures remain very limited. To that end, the full collaboration and engagement of States in the region are essential.
Looking back over the course of 2008, I have relied on the support and the flexibility of members in moving the Committee’s work forward. As Chairman, I have endeavoured to engage actively with my colleagues to bridge differences and build the consensus that is very crucial to the work of the Committee.
Looking forward, it is my personal view that the final report of the Group of Experts submitted this month has broken new ground in terms of the Committee’s and the Council’s understanding of the support networks for the two major rebel groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda and the Congrès national pour la défense du peuple, particularly these groups’ financial networks. It is my hope that, in 2009, the Committee and the Council will actively use the sanctions regime as a positive instrument that can be integrated into a wider political strategy to end a conflict which has so deeply harmed the civilian population in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to reinforce the Government’s efforts to exercise authority in the eastern part of the country. This may also include the Committee’s engaging further with States in the region and other States with a view to ensuring increased compliance with the sanctions regime.
Let me now turn to the sanctions Committee on Rwanda. As Council members are aware, the Security Council decided in resolution 1823 (2008), adopted in July, to dissolve the Committee. The Security Council also decided in that resolution to terminate the remaining measures relating to Rwanda.
It will be recalled that the Committee was established in 1994 to oversee the arms embargo and to undertake other tasks mandated by the Security Council. In subsequent years, the complete arms embargo and other measures were gradually terminated by the Security Council. In 2007, for example, the Security Council, in its resolution 1749 (2007), terminated the notification requirement for the delivery of arms to the Government of Rwanda.
Prior to its termination, the Committee met on 11 April 2008, at which time members noted that it had been largely inactive over the past 10 years and that the signing of the Nairobi joint communiqué of November 2007 could be seen as a sign of the continued improvement of the political climate in the subregion. It was also noted that the termination of an inactive subsidiary body could be seen as a good business practice that could help rationalize the functions of the Security Council. Some members expressed the view that the termination of the sanctions regime should be considered a technical rather than a political matter. Committee members agreed that I should recommend the dissolution of the Committee, which I subsequently did on 22 May. The Security Council agreed with that view.
Let me now make a few observations regarding the work on the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations. The Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations met on 27 March 2007. The meeting took up two subjects: surge in peacekeeping operations and security sector reform. The members of the Working Group expressed their views on the various related issues and provided suggestions on enhancing the effectiveness of the United Nations peacekeeping system.
On 26 March 2008, the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations again convened to exchange views on issues related to United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE). The members of the Security Council, a number of the troop-contributing countries to UNMEE, and representatives of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support participated in the meeting.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the Permanent Representatives of Costa Rica and Viet Nam, who serve as Vice-Chairs of the Sanctions Committee on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the Permanent Representative of Italy, who serves as Vice-Chair of the Sanctions Committee on Rwanda, for their respective support and assistance.
I also thank all delegations for their constructive cooperation with the Chair.
I also wish to convey my appreciation to the Security Council Subsidiary Organs Branch, led by Mr. Aleksandar Martinovic. In particular, I would like to thank Mr. David Biggs, Ms. Francesca Jannotti-Pecci and Mr. James Sutterlin for their untiring support to the work of the Chair.
I thank Ambassador Natalegawa for his briefing.
I now give the floor to Ambassador Jan Grauls, Chair of the Security Council committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999), concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities; the Security Council committee established pursuant to resolution 1572 (2004), concerning Côte d’Ivoire; and the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006).
Thank you, Mr. President, for giving me the opportunity to speak today in my capacity as Chair of three Sanctions Committees: the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999), concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities; the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1572 (2004), concerning Côte d’Ivoire; and the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006), concerning Iran.
Since the departure of my predecessor, Ambassador Johan Verbeke, in June of this year to take on new responsibilities within the United Nations system, I have had the honour to preside over these three Committees. This has proven to be both a privilege and a challenge.
The comments I am about to make are my personal observations based on my experience and that of my predecessor. They are not attributable to any other delegation, nor should they be seen as a record of the work of these subsidiary organs. For a factual account of the work delivered in the past two years, I would like to refer to the annual reports of the three Committees, which may be found on their respective websites at the end of each year. At the end of my briefing, I will also say a few words about the state of play within the Informal Working Group on international tribunals.
I would like to start my briefing with the Al-Qaida/Taliban Committee.
When my predecessor took on the chairmanship in January 2007, he did so in the wake of the adoption of two important Security Council resolutions at the end of 2006: resolution 1730 (2006) establishing the focal point process for de-listing requests, and resolution 1735 (2006), strengthening the sanctions regime and enhancing the Committee’s procedures in order to ensure more clarity and transparency.
Subsequently, the Security Council adopted resolution 1822 (2008) in June, which in my view represents a milestone in the life of the Committee. Resolution 1822 (2008) introduced a number of important innovations with regard to the procedures for listing and de-listing, the notification of sanctioned individuals and entities, the posting of narrative summaries of reasons for the listing of all entries on the Committee’s website and the review mechanisms, thus adding to the transparency and fair and clear procedures character of the sanctions regime.
The Committee members committed themselves to transposing resolution 1822 (2008) in a new framework for the practical implementation of these new mechanisms before the end of this year. In order to find solutions fitting for all members, multiple rounds of negotiations ensued that were sometimes arduous and complex. This new framework has now been approved and will form a solid basis for my successor to continue the implementation work on resolution 1822 (2008).
May I pay tribute here to the very professional support I got from the experts of the member States and from the Monitoring Team. I also appreciated the flexibility shown by delegations during the final stages of the negotiations. All these efforts have truly paid off, since the Security Council included many of the aforementioned innovations when it adopted the recent resolution imposing targeted sanctions in the context of Somalia.
One cannot ignore the international context in which these developments have taken place. The reality is that Security Council sanctions regimes find themselves increasingly under pressure and have recently been questioned, especially in light of the need for fair and clear procedures for listing, de-listing and the granting of humanitarian exemptions.
I do believe that the Al-Qaida/Taliban Committee has made significant progress in this regard. However, it is also my belief that all of us must remain committed to continuing to ensure that due, and probably even more, attention is given to these concerns.
I do not think there is any doubt in anyone’s mind that terrorism remains one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. The sanctions regime against Al-Qaida, the Taliban and their associates is still one of the most important tools of the international community in the fight against terrorism.
In that light, it is important that Member States use this tool to the fullest extent possible by proposing the names of key actors for listing and complying fully with the sanctions measures. In that spirit, my predecessor and I gave four briefings to the larger membership in order to engage it in the activities of the Committee.
That said, I know that the challenges ahead will be great. More needs to be done to ensure that the right individuals and entities are targeted. Due respect for fair and clear procedures can only increase the effectiveness of the sanctions regime.
I now turn to the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1572 (2004) concerning Côte d’Ivoire. Primarily, I shall address three characteristics of the activities carried out by the Committee during the two years of the Belgian chairmanship.
First, those activities took place in the broader context of the momentum resulting from the Ouagadougou Agreement of 4 March 2007. While resolution 1721 (2006) had proved difficult to implement, the Ouagadougou Agreement marked the assumption of ownership of the peace process by the Ivorians and regional actors, which entailed a relative withdrawal by the Security Council. The Ouagadougou Agreement contained sanctions provisions, to which the Ivorian political actors have referred regularly in their statements, including before the General Assembly. On the other hand, neither the Security Council nor the Sanctions Committee has ever considered any request based on those provisions of the Agreement.
Another characteristic of the Committee is that various reports of the Group of Experts have identified serious failures in the implementation of Security Council measures both by Côte d’Ivoire itself and by other countries, particularly those in the region. In particular, the experts noted a certain degree of ignorance, indifference and, in certain cases, contempt in Côte d’Ivoire regarding the sanctions measures adopted by the Council. The Republican Guard’s persistent refusal to authorize embargo inspections by the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire and the subsequent halt in those inspections are elements of great concern. One may suppose that, in the current context in Côte d’Ivoire, better acceptance of the sanctions by the Ivorian authorities and others, as well as improvements in implementation, will remain challenges for the international community.
Finally, I was struck by the lack of follow-up to the allegations of human rights violations noted in particular by the United Nations. Despite some observed progress, allegations of human rights violations remain numerous and grave, in particular cases involving sexual violence against women and children. Most reported cases are not being prosecuted by the Ivorian legal authorities. That situation is intolerable and should be followed very closely.
The activities of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006), concerning Iran, were carried out against the backdrop of the verification efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and political negotiations related to the nuclear issue. The Committee’s activities were carried out in strict compliance with the mandate received from the Security Council. Moreover, during the first two years of the Committee’s existence, the sanctions regime saw three successive waves of new measures imposed under resolutions 1737 (2006) of December 2006, 1747 (2007) of March 2007 and 1803 (2008) of March 2008.
The Iran sanctions have undoubtedly affected the nuclear programme and the major actors and intermediaries involved in it. However, it must be noted that, despite the pressure exerted by the sanctions and the repeated offers of cooperation from the international community, the Iranian authorities persist in refusing dialogue and in cultivating ambiguity. More than five years after the disclosure of Iran’s clandestine programme, the IAEA remains incapable of confirming its peaceful nature. The last report of the IAEA shows once again that, at most, the sanctions have delayed the programme, not stopped it, nor — which is crucial — have they been able to reassure the international community of its peaceful nature.
The dual-track approach adopted by the Security Council — pressure and dialogue — was further confirmed by resolution 1835 (2008) of last September. I believe that that resolution is both an invitation to strengthen efforts to launch the dialogue and a request for increased attention to the strict implementation of the sanctions by all.
The Committee on Transactions could, therefore, take a closer look at the national reports and examine more thoroughly the breaches in the implementation of the resolutions. In order to do that, in my view it would be particularly useful for the Committee, following the example of other sanctions committees, to be assisted by a panel of experts and to undertake visits in certain countries. In my view, such instruments are quite simply the logical complements to a sanctions committee.
Finally, I would like to mention the activities of the Informal Working Group on Tribunals, which Belgium has chaired during 2008. The discussions within the Group mainly concentrated on the establishment of a residual mechanism to carry out certain essential functions of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda after their closure.
My delegation delivered a statement regarding the work of that body during the Security Council debate last Friday. So, I do not wish to come back to that in detail here. Moreover, there are further details on that process in a letter that I will forward to the President shortly and that will be circulated as an official document.
To conclude, I would like to thank all those who have been involved in the work of those subsidiary organs over the past two years. I would most especially like to thank the delegates, the Monitoring Team and the Group of Experts on Côte d’Ivoire, as well as the Secretariat for their valuable work and cooperation.
During my chairmanship of those three sanctions committees, I have been able to observe how different and, in a sense, how unique they are. Each committee works within its own political context, being a country-specific committee or tackling a global terrorist phenomenon. Each has its specific mandate and its own tools to implement it, for instance, with or without a group of independent experts. The interplay of those distinct characteristics always seems to produce a unique result.
The world is not the same as when we started, nor is the Security Council. But certain threats to peace and security remain and they must be addressed effectively and fairly. Sanctions are a valuable tool in that respect, and I am convinced that they can be further developed to become an even better tool.
I thank Ambassador Grauls for his briefing.
I now give the floor to Ambassador Ricardo Arias, Chairman of the Security Council Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions.
Thank you, Sir, for giving me the opportunity to speak today in my capacity as Chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions. In my statement, I should like to give the Council an overview of the work undertaken by that subsidiary body under my chairmanship and to make a few personal remarks.
In 2008, the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions built on the work completed under previous Chairmen and continued to examine ways to best implement the notes by the President of the Security Council in documents S/2006/507 and S/2007/749. Among the priorities set by the Working Group in 2008 were issues related to the summary statements on matters of which the Security Council is seized, meeting formats, the participation of non-Council members in the work of the Security Council and the role of the Security Council President and the Chairs of subsidiary bodies. Owing to time constraints, we were unable to examine the last issue.
Early in the year, the Working Group worked towards improving the summary statements by making them more user-friendly. The Working Group subsumed similar and related items into a single agenda item. The Working Group is still considering a proposal to make the summary statement more accurate, reflecting the items of which the Council is actually seized and giving the Council greater involvement in its preparation. We expect agreement to be reached on that matter in the coming days. The Working Group also considered a proposal by the Chair on meeting formats and the participation of non-Council members, but was unable to reach a decision on that matter.
Further, the Working Group received a letter dated 5 September from the Chair of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, requesting us to examine their current procedures and to recommend measures to improve them, based on the practices of other Council subsidiary bodies. In deliberating that issue, we consulted the Secretariat and were briefed by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. Following those consultations, we drafted a response that is currently under no-objection procedure and should be delivered to the Chair in the following days. That communication includes a response from the Secretariat on the questions posed to them and highlights relevant passages of note of the President of the Security Council in document S/2006/507 that could assist them in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the methods of the Working Group.
As a follow-up to the open debate on the implementation on the note by the President of the Security Council (S/2006/507), the delegation of Belgium submitted a proposal to update that note. However, some delegations suggested that we defer the consideration of that issue until 2009.
Finally, I would like to point out that, regardless of specific results, the fruitful exchanges held this year within the Working Group were crucial to clarifying and improving the implementation of current working methods, as well as to exploring new ways to make the Council more efficient in its deliberations.
Before closing, on a more personal note, I would like to extend my particular gratitude to all members of the Working Group for their time and effort. Their contributions to improving the working methods will definitely be translated into concrete results in the subsequent work of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions.
I thank Ambassador Arias for his briefing.
There are no other speakers inscribed on my list. On behalf of the Security Council, I would like to take this opportunity to express appreciation to the five outgoing Chairmen, Ambassador Terzi, Ambassador Kumalo, Ambassador Natalegawa, Ambassador Grauls and Ambassador Arias, for the manner in which they have discharged their important responsibilities on behalf of the Council.
The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.