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Press Conference by Security Council President on Work Programme for May

Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York

3 May 2012

Laying out the programme of work of the Security Council in May, under the first presidency of Azerbaijan, the country’s Permanent Representative this afternoon vowed to work to maintain unity among members for addressing the conflict in Syria and the many other complex situations the body was seized with.

“As President, I will do my best to keep unanimity and consensus approach to that kind of sensitive issue,” Agshin Mehdiyev told correspondents at Headquarters, saying that the presidency ushered in an “historic period” for his country.

During the month, he said, the Council had planned some 12 open meetings, including a central thematic event on counter-terrorism, a range of briefings, two debates on Balkan issues, a meeting on the renewal of the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA), as well as yesterday’s adoption of a resolution calling for the end of cross-border violence between South Sudan and Sudan. He hoped that would help end hostilities and facilitate negotiations, while upholding the principles of peaceful settlement of disputes and the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the two countries.

Council members were also planning a visit to Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone in West Africa to assess implementation of the respective Council resolutions on those countries. A briefing on that visit would be held on 31 May. Members had also been invited to the third retreat organized by Turkey in Istanbul on new political realities in the Middle East and North Africa, and other topics.

The thematic event on counter-terrorism was planned for 4 May and would be presided over by President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and hear a briefing by the Secretary-General. His country attached much importance to the issue of terrorism and participated steadily in the international counter-terrorism coalition, as it had suffered greatly from the scourge, with thousands of victims in the 1990s and attack attempts still occurring from time to time. He hoped the meeting would result in coordinated action at national, regional and international levels. Asked about the outcome of the event, he could not predict whether a presidential statement would result, but he would do his best to make that happen.

The next scheduled discussion of Syria would be in consultations on 8 May, during which Special Envoy Kofi Annan and Under-Secretary-General Hervé Ladsous were expected to brief on the implementation of the latest resolutions, with another briefing to follow on 30 May, in keeping with the provisions of resolution 2043 (2012). Asked about expected action on Syria, Mr. Mehdiyev said that there was no way to predict. However, he would do his best to keep unity on the Council.

Describing the remainder of the calendar, he said that this morning, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was discussed in consultations and a press statement had been released. On the 7th, there would be a discussion of a report on the status of the reestablishment of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau, followed by a briefing on the latest report on the implementation of resolution 1559 (2004) in Lebanon, by Terje Roed-Larsen.

On 10 May, an open briefing by the Chairs of counter-terrorism committees would be followed by another on Libya, he said, with Special Representative Ian Martin planning to appear. Special Representative Farid Zarif was scheduled for 14 May for an open briefing on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). The European Union High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina was slated to address the Council on the 15th. Earlier that day, the transitional President of Somalia was scheduled to address the Council during an open meeting that would also feature a briefing by Special Representative Augustine Mahiga.

Consideration of the renewal of UNISFA’s mandate was scheduled for 16 May, followed by a briefing by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Libya, he continued. On 17 May, during consultations, there would be briefings by the Chair of the Sanctions Committee on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and by Humanitarian Coordinator Valerie Amos, speaking on Afghanistan. The regular open monthly briefing on the Middle East, probably to be given by Under-Secretary-General Lynn Pascoe, would take place on the 29th, followed by consultations on that topic and on Yemen.

In response to additional questions, he said that a meeting on Mali had not yet been scheduled, but the Council would come back to that issue if necessary. On the general briefing on other subjects not on the month’s agenda – the so-called “horizon” briefings — he said that the continuation of those briefings was under discussion and that was why it was not being held this month. It was possible there would be more frequent briefings on specific topics. “No one is avoiding briefings,” he stressed.

To several questions about low rankings for freedom of expression in Azerbaijan on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Mr. Mehdiyev replied in his national capacity that anyone could see for themselves the real situation if they looked at Azerbaijani publications. “People can write whatever they want; no one is censuring the newspapers,” he said. On imprisoned journalists, he said that it could be the case that some people who were imprisoned for crimes were calling themselves journalists, but there was no one in prison for his political views.

Also in his national capacity, he said that his Government used any appropriate opportunity to bring the occupation of national territory by Armenia to the attention of the international community, but there were no plans to try to put the issue on the Council agenda this month. To final questions, he said he had no information on an agreement between his country and Israel on use of airbases, but affirmed his country’s support for full membership of Palestine in the United Nations.

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For information media • not an official record

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