Statement by President of the UN Security Council, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation Vassily Nebenzia at the General Assembly meeting on agenda item 31 "Annual report of the Security Council"
Let me begin by thanking you, Mm President, on behalf of all the members of the Security Council, for your service as President of the General Assembly, and for arranging today’s meeting.
Russia, as the President of the Security Council for the month of September, has the honor to introduce the annual report of the Council, which covers the period from 1 January to 31 December 2018.
The Charter of the United Nations entrusts the Security Council with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Over the past year, with the support of the United Nations membership, the Security Council has sought to discharge its responsibilities actively, urging the peaceful resolution of conflicts and undertaking a series of peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities all over the world.
In keeping with recent trends, the activity of the Security Council increased during the reporting period. During the period under review, the Council held 288 formal meetings, of which 275 were public. The Council adopted 54 resolutions and 21 presidential statements and issued 87 statements to the press. During the reporting period, the Council conducted three missions.
In 2018, the Council continued to focus on a number of serious unresolved conflicts, in particular in the Middle East and Africa. The impact of these conflicts on civilians was severe. Large-scale humanitarian crises persisted and in some cases worsened, and large flows of displaced people within and across borders continued as a result of conflict. Divisions in the Council prevented it from taking effective action on some key conflicts.
However, there were also several positive developments in 2018. In Africa, countries of the Horn of Africa were able to make progress in resolving long-standing bilateral disputes, the United Nations Mission in Liberia concluded its work and a peace agreement was signed in South Sudan.
In Asia, the level of tension on the Korean Peninsula reduced as a result of dialogue between the parties. In the Middle East, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh) was driven out of Iraq and lost control of most of the territory that it held in the Syrian Arab Republic.
Progress was made in the peace process in Colombia, and elections in countries including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq and Lebanon made important contributions to political stability.
The Council remained convinced of the vital role that the United Nations and the multilateral system should play in preventing and resolving conflicts on its agenda, as set out by all Council members during an open debate on the subject in November.
The Council took advantage of a wide range of tools to that end, including mediation, the deployment of peacekeeping and special political missions and the use of targeted sanctions and arms embargoes.
Some Council members consistently underlined the importance of taking action at every stage in the conflict cycle and focusing on sustaining peace. Council members also stressed the need to respect international law and to maintain the international non-proliferation regime.
Throughout 2018, Council members continued to focus on the implementation of the Council’s thematic resolutions in the context of the conflicts on its agenda, including the need to consider the role of women in preventing and resolving conflict.
At the end of 2018, almost 90,000 peacekeepers were deployed in 14 missions in support of Council mandates. A total of 98 peacekeepers were killed in 2018. Council members note with appreciation the contribution of United Nations peacekeepers to supporting international peace and security and pay tribute to the 98 peacekeepers who sacrificed their lives in 2018.
In conclusion, consistent with usual practice, the introduction to the report was prepared by the United Kingdom, which held the presidency of the Security Council in August 2018. Members of the Council also contributed to the preparation of the report.
I extend thanks to the Secretariat for compiling the report and to all those involved in producing it. I look forward to this morning’s discussion of the report by Member States and will convey the views of members of the General Assembly to my colleagues in the Security Council.
I thank you.
Right of reply by Representative of the Russian Federation Alexey Boguslavsky:
Frankly speaking, today’s discussion of the Security Council Annual Report produces a strange impression. Instead of discussing the essence and the subject matter of the document, some of our colleagues, in particular from the Accountability, Coherence, and Transparency Group focused on the schedule of its preparation. By the way, the discussion was initially scheduled for 30 August; however, we granted their request and rescheduled it for today. Now you are saying you are not satisfied with this date either. It is no quite clear what you drive at. Are such meetings a mere occasion for you to criticize the Security Council?
We accept your recommendations to present the report earlier. We will seek to do so. However, to be frank, to study 12 pages of a document (this is how large the introductory part is) over three weeks does not seem impossible. All the remaining data can be easily taken from open sources.
We would like to call upon our colleagues to be more constructive and responsible when it comes to such an important topic as relations between the General Assembly and the Security Council.