The Security Council has scheduled five open debates for April, all in a virtual format, as it looks forward to reconvening in person if the COVID-19 situation in New York significantly improves, its President for the month said today at a Headquarters press conference unveiling its programme of work.
Dang Dinh Quy (Viet Nam) said that his country’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs will chair a high-level open debate on mine action on 8 April, to be followed by an open debate focused on sexual violence and armed conflict on 14 April. The President of Viet Nam will chair an open debate on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organization in the area of conflict prevention on 19 April. The Minister for Foreign Affairs will then chair an open debate on the protection of objects indispensable to survivors of armed conflict on 27 April.
The Council’s regular open debate on the Middle East, including the question of Palestine, will be held on 22 April.
Altogether, the Council — which met earlier today to approve its programme of work — has scheduled 15 open meetings and 10 closed meetings in April, the Council President said. He revealed that, during a lengthy discussion on procedural matters, “a large number” of Council members favoured the resumption of in-person meetings in the Council Chamber. While some members remain hesitant, there is agreement that, if the COVID-19 situation improves “very much” in the second half of April, and if safe physical distancing arrangements can be implemented, then it would be possible to resume in-person meetings, he said.
[In normal times, open debates enable Member States to take the Council floor to share their views on the issue under discussion. During the pandemic, however, with the Council meeting via video-teleconference, delegations are invited to submit written statements for inclusion in the official record.]
Responding to questions on Myanmar, he said that the Council held consultations on 31 March and that, hopefully, press elements will be released shortly today or on 2 April. He added that the Council will hold an Arria-formula meeting on Myanmar on 9 April during which Member States will be able to express their views. He stressed that the Council’s number-one job is to stop violence and save lives, and that any steps taken must contribute to a satisfactory solution to the crisis.
Asked about Iran’s nuclear programme and the possibility that the United States will return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, he said that, so far, there have been no requests to add that topic to this month’s programme of work.
In the same vein, he said that no meeting has been requested on peace talks in Afghanistan, although he added that the programme of work is an open document, with Member States having the option of requesting that an issue be included.
For the full programme of work, please see: www.un.org/securitycouncil/events/calendar.