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30 October 2020

Press Conference by Security Council President for October

October’s Security Council meetings focused on signature matters like the situation in the Middle East, as well as the women, peace and security agenda, Council President Vassily A. Nebenzia (Russian Federation) said today at a press conference to sum up the month’s activities.

Underscoring the importance of current developments in the Persian Gulf, he said most Council members expressed genuine interest in proposals to tackle remaining issues in the region, especially those surrounding Palestine.  Security matters can be resolved through regular means, with the Council taking the first step by playing a leading role and following through by holding discussions with regional States, he added.

Concerning women, peace and security, he noted that the Council held a debate on that agenda item and the Russian Federation proposed a revised draft resolution, which failed to win adoption by a vote of 5 in favour to none against, with 10 abstentions.  That was unfortunate, he said, explaining that the revised draft attempted to accommodate a broad spectrum of views in light of the current desire by certain countries to monopolize the state of women’s rights.

He went on to recall that the Council also reacted to other urgent events in October, heeding the situations in Mali, the Great Lakes region and other conflicted areas, including Western Sahara.  In addition, it held a combined meeting on Syria to review developments on the ground and adopted a resolution to extend the mission in Haiti.

Asked why Persian Gulf countries failed to adequately participate in the debate on their region, he emphasized the initial importance of briefings, small steps and expressions of political will from Council members.  The presidency had encouraged all delegations to attend the meeting and some had chosen to do so, he said, adding that he will continue to work with Person Gulf nations in turning to a new page of coexistence.

Reminded that delegations abstaining from the women, peace and security draft felt it was watered down from previous texts, with no mention in its operative paragraphs of civil society and human rights, as in the preambular section, the President said that explanations of vote, soon to be issued publicly, will demonstrate that the text appropriately represented civil society and human rights.  Accusations of striking out such references are mistaken, he stressed.

Asked why the revised text failed to consider rape and other forms of sexual violence, he noted that a paragraph on impunity for sexual violence was initially included, but subsequently replaced with a different focus after several requests from Western colleagues.

Responding to a query on the situation in Libya, he pointed to recent developments suggesting a “light at the end of the tunnel”, expressing hope that recent headway in negotiations will lead to reunification and a single country.  Underlining the need for a Special Envoy for Libya, he said the Council should soon reach consensus on that matter.

As for concessions that Iran might receive if it complies with all provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and whether strengthening the nuclear deal might depend on the United States presidential election result, the President said Tehran is complying with the deal and should be released from sanctions, with all economic opportunities reinstated.

The nuclear deal’s signatories are the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russian Federation, China, European Union and Iran.

For information media. Not an official record.