Kuwait set priorities for its presidency of UNSC

Kuwait, which took over the rotating presidency of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for June has its plate nearly full of ‘Arab and global issues. “Kuwait will work with the other members of the UN Security Council to realize the Sustainable Development Goals, and protect the world peace and security issues’,  said Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi, the country’s permanent representative at the UN.

The ambassador was speaking at a press conference shortly after Kuwait assumed presidency of the UNSC.  Outlining some of the priorities during Kuwait’s presidency, Ambassador Al-Otaibi said: “Kuwait will work with the other members of the UN Security Council to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and protect the world peace and security.”

The SDG agenda sets forth noble goals that can only be realized through multilateral action by, and close cooperation among, all UN member countries. And, Kuwait maintains the policy that multilateralism is the mainstay in addressing the multiple problems of the world, said the ambassador.

He pointed out that the UNSC agenda for June includes a host of topics of common concern for the different parts of the world particularly the Arab and African regions.

Elaborating on the issues that will be brought to the attention of the Council in June, Ambassador Al-Otaibi said: “Before holding its non-permanent seat in the UNSC, Kuwait had set four priorities, namely the Arab issues, the humanitarian issues, the prevention of conflicts and the activation of the UNSC.”

“Kuwait will arrange for a number of UNSC meetings on how to make the Council more effective, as well as on the missing people in armed conflicts, and the prevention of armed conflicts, and the cooperation between the Council and the Arab League.

The Secretary General, he continued, will also brief the meeting on conflict prevention and mediation alongside former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and former Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, of the Elders. The Secretary General is also expected to address the meeting on Arab League-United Nations cooperation, alongside the head of that 22-member regional bloc, he said, expressing hope that it will lay the groundwork for greater cooperation and interaction between the two organizations

“Kuwait has already distributed to the Council members a draft resolution on the issue of the missing people in armed conflicts which, if passed, will be the first such humanitarian resolution,” Ambassador Al-Otaibi said, noting that some Kuwaiti nationals are still missing since the Iraqi invasion of 1990-1991.

The UN has scheduled three separate meetings on Syria, dealing with the political and humanitarian aspects of the conflict there, as well as the use of chemical weapons.

Regarding the situation in the Syrian town of Idlib, he confirmed that one Council member released a draft press statement that re-emphasized the need to respect international humanitarian law and that included a paragraph on the right of refugees freely to return to their homes in dignity. The Council has discussed Idlib three times in the past two weeks and remains focused on the issue, he added.

The US brokered peace plan that aims to bring together Israelis and Palestinians in what is often described as the ‘Deal of the Century’ is unlikely to be discussed in the UN Security Council during Kuwait’s presidency. Clarifying this, Kuwait’s top diplomat at the UN said: “The Middle-East peace plan currently being prepared by the United States has not been shared with the Council. “We don’t know what it looks like or if it will even be discussed in the Council.”

Asked about developments in Yemen, he acknowledged that implementation of the Stockholm agreement of 13 December, 2018 between the Government and the Houthi militia remains “very slow” since the adoption of resolution 2452 (2019) on Hodeidah. While the Council has issued several press statements, and looks forward to a briefing from the Secretary General’s Special Envoy on June 17, no Council members have submitted draft resolutions that would condemn the parties, he said.

On the Gulf rift, UNSC President Al-Otaibi said that efforts of His Highness the Amir (of Kuwait) Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah are continuing, and His Highness is working hard on the issue in a bid to make amends. “We are optimistic.”

Elaborating  on the recent escalations in tension between Iran and the United States, Kuwait top representative at the UN pointed out that “we support dialogue between Iran and GCC countries, and we always respect UN ‘intentions’ of not interfering with countries’ internal affairs,” hoping for the situation to be addressed through dialogue and peaceful efforts.’

Also scheduled for the June presidency of Kuwait are nine meetings on Africa-related topics, as well as a meeting on Kosovo set for June 10. On June 18, he continued, the Council will hold a briefing on United Nations peacekeeping operations, featuring briefings by the force commanders of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

Draft resolutions scheduled for adoption include one renewing the Council’s authorization to inspect ships on the high seas off Libya, another involving the technical rollover of sanctions related to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and mandate renewals for UNAMID, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).