Let me start by thanking my colleagues, members of the Security Council, for their continued support to the Rwanda presidency and for their full cooperation, which enabled us to carry out the programme of this busy, unpredictable and nocturnal month of July 2014, ending tomorrow with another emergency meeting on Gaza.
I shall also congratulate Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, for assuming the presidency of the Security Council for the month of August 2014. I am particularly pleased that the UK presidency will organize an open debate on prevention of conflict, which is in line with the briefing that Rwanda had organized in April 2013 on the prevention of conflicts in Africa by addressing their root causes. I also appreciate that Ambassador Grant and his team will continue organizing wrap-up sessions under the format of a public briefing.
As you all know, the main topic of this month of July 2014 was the thematic debate on peacekeeping, as Rwanda is celebrating, this very month, its tenth anniversary in peacekeeping operations. You would recall that, two days ago, on Monday 28 July, Rwanda convened an open debate on regional partnerships in peacekeeping and its evolution, during which resolution 2167 (2014) was unanimously adopted. This resolution expressed its determination to take effective steps to further enhance the relationship between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, in particular the African Union, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations. It further stressed the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing regional organizations when they undertake peacekeeping under a Security Council mandate.
Furthermore, Rwanda firmly believes that peacekeeping, multidimensional and robust as it may be, cannot alone resolve conflicts. Indeed, maintenance of international peace and security requires concrete, coordinated and sustained action from the stage of conflict prevention to that of post-conflict peacebuilding. It’s in this context that the Security Council held, on Tuesday 15 July, a briefing on post-conflict peacebuilding. This meeting was followed by an informal interactive dialogue between members of the Security Council, the PBC Chairs Group, countries on the PBC agenda and with the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support.
The meeting was frank, direct and fruitful, as it was an opportunity to further discuss on how to strengthen the PBC advisory function to the Security Council, and on how to address the recurring relapse into conflict. Nonetheless, Rwanda regretted that, while all PBC configurations were represented at an ambassadorial level, Council members were, most of them, represented at a lower level; not to mention that among the six (6) countries on the PBC agenda – all Africans -, only Sierra Leone, represented by its Permanent Representative, attended the informal interactive dialogue.
This month of July 2014, the Security Council also considered a number of country-specific situations. It is important to note that although African conflicts continue to be present in our work, they were not a majority of situations considered in the programme of work for July 2014. However, this was not due to the reduction of conflicts in Africa, always dominated by crises in South Sudan and Central African Republic, but to the worsening situations in other parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East and in Ukraine.
On Syria, following the violation of resolution 2139 (2014) by all sides, the Council unanimously adopted this month another humanitarian resolution, resolution 2165 (2014), by which it authorized UN humanitarian agencies to use routes across conflict lines and four (4) additional border crossings, in order to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches people in need throughout Syria, through the most direct routes.
On Ukraine, the Security Council met in emergency on Friday 18 July, following the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, resulting in the tragic loss of 298 lives. The Council also adopted a press statement, followed by a resolution, calling for a full, thorough, independent and unhindered international investigation.
On Gaza and Israel, the Security Council was yet again confronted with the resumption of hostilities in Gaza. Given the magnitude of the conflict, which took more than thirteen hundred (1,300) lives so far, mostly civilians, women and children, the Security Council adopted, for the first time since 2009, a Council product on the Palestinian question (in this case, a presidential statement) calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. Unfortunately, this presidential statement was not implemented on the ground; and, tomorrow morning, the Security Council will again convene in emergency, to consider the humanitarian consequences of this conflict.
It is worth noting that these three (3) situations, Syria, Ukraine and Gaza/Israel, brought to light, in a single month, the division among Council members, especially when involving interests of the permanent members. To be fair, the Security Council should be commended for overcoming its divisions and adopting critical decisions, such as resolution 2165 on Syria, resolution 2166 on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and the presidential statement on Gaza; but nonetheless, it is clear that in July 2014 like in previous months, members of the Security Council were once again unable or unwilling to use their influence to find a sustainable political solution to all those crises.
In relation to this, Rwanda believes that, as far as the work of the Security Council is concerned, initial consultations between the permanent members alone or between penholders and countries of the region on a particular situation, are important to clear the ground and facilitate a smooth decision of the Security Council. However, we also believe, as reminded by the 2014 FIFA World Cup (which ended this month), that teamwork, more than individuals, is the best chance for success. We therefore recall that this Council comprises of fifteen members, and that all of them should be given enough time to consult and contribute to its work and to its decisions.
To conclude, dear colleagues, I would like to thank UN member states for participating in this wrap-up session and in other public meetings convened by the Council this month, sometimes on short notice. I wish particularly to commend the UN members who actively participated in and contributed to the two open debates organized this month. I would however encourage African members of this organization to participate more in open debates of the Security Council, particularly those related to issues concerning Africa, such as the open debate on regional partnerships, held last Monday. Indeed, Rwanda believes that the Security Council needs, more than ever, the contribution of the wider UN membership and their various experiences, which will help the Council in effectively carrying out its mandate of maintenance of international peace and security.
I thank you.