Press Conference by Security Council President on October Programme of Work

Elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the exploitation of natural resources during conflict and women’s empowerment will be among the topics of special focus in the Security Council this month alongside a range of other ongoing issues, that organ’s President for October said at a Headquarters press briefing this afternoon.

It is important to consider a wide view of the role that natural resources play as a root source of conflict, said Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz (Bolivia) as he delivered the monthly briefing on the Council’s programme of work. He expressed hope, therefore, that the 16 October meeting on that topic, to be addressed by the Secretary General, will link the issue of national management of resources to international finance, foreign networks, armed groups and unlawful invasions. Bolivia plans to invite a yet unnamed high level representative to head the meeting.

He said that a visiting mission focused on the upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is scheduled from 4 8 October, adding that it will be followed by briefing on 11 October by the mission’s co leads � Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea and France. Although meetings have already been scheduled in Kinshasa with high Government and United Nations officials as well as representatives of civil society, meetings with the President and the Prime Minister are still to be confirmed.

In response to questions, the President said that the mission’s message to the Government is to uphold the resolutions that the Council has already adopted.

He went on to state that Leila Zerrougui, the Secretary General’s Special Representative, is scheduled to brief on the activities of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) on the same day. He added that the Council heard a World Health Organization (WHO) briefing during consultations today on the Ebola outbreak in that country. A press statement issued subsequently calls for international support for efforts to fight the disease, and on armed groups to cease any violence in the affected area to allow access for humanitarian assistance.

An open debate scheduled for 25 October on women, peace and security will focus on the empowerment of women in political processes, he continued, adding that the Secretary General and civil society representatives will brief. A Palestinian representative will also participate as part of an effort to highlight that issue as much as possible in October, he added. In that context, additional briefers, as yet unidentified, will address the quarterly open debate on Israel Palestine on 18 October. No separate meeting on settlements is scheduled this month, but one is planned for December, with a written report expected.

He said the Council also hopes to consider a draft resolution on mine action. Among other items to be considered are the mandates of peacekeeping operations including the United Nations Interim Disengagement Force (UNDOF), the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and support for the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). A wrap up session is planned for the afternoon of 30 October, he added.

Asked about a mandate extension for the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), he said that issue is prominent in the programme of work because the last extension was only for six months, and the matter will require some consideration before the draft is tabled for adoption on 29 October. Recalling that the last such text was not adopted unanimously last time, he said it is hard to predict the outcome.

Queried about the lack of meetings on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said the Council will meet on that issue if there are new developments, adding that there are no draft resolutions ready for submission. Similarly, the Council is ready to meet on Yemen if need be, he said, adding that no meetings on Venezuela are planned.

In response to questions about Lebanon, he emphasized the importance of fully implementing resolution 1559 (2004).

Responding to questions about the blockade of Cuba, he said it is not on the agenda. Since no Council meeting is scheduled on 31 October, when the General Assembly holds its session on that issue, the matter will receive the attention it deserves, he said, adding that the extension of sanctions for humanitarian reasons remains an ongoing concern in many situations on the Council’s agenda.

Source: United Nations

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