During a “complex” month of July, the Security Council will focus on issues including the crises in Ukraine and Syria, as well as renewals of a raft of peacekeeping or special political missions and sanctions regimes, its President for the month told a United Nations Headquarters press conference today.
Ronaldo Costa Filho (Brazil), holding the 15-nation Council’s rotating presidency for July, emphasized his delegation’s intention to establish a balance between open and closed meetings. While journalists like open meetings for their transparency, he pointed out that closed sessions are more appropriate for delicate and challenging issues.
He also said he would aim to foster greater cooperation between the Council and other bodies of the United Nations, especially the Peacebuilding Commission, as it can make a comprehensive contribution to discussions on renewal of peacekeeping and political missions. Brazil’s priorities also include incorporating a gender perspective as a cross-cutting issue throughout Brazil’s presidency and inviting civil society briefers into meetings whenever possible.
Among the signature events, he cited the adoption of a presidential statement, the renewal of four peacekeeping or special political missions, renewal of two sanctions regimes and one authorization of humanitarian assistance. Affirming that the issue of Ukraine is the most visible item on the Council agenda today, he said a meeting will focus on food security, which impacts not only the region’s populations but the whole world. Because negotiations are ongoing, a precise date would depend on their evolution.
Turning to Syria, he noted that, on 10 July, the Council will hold consultations on the chemical weapons file on that country, while on 13 July, it will address the political and humanitarian aspects of the Syrian crisis — a busy day that will also include a meeting on troop- and police-contributing countries to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), discussions on the United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) in Yemen and the sanctions regime in Libya
On 7 July, a Council briefing will be followed by consultations on the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) — and he had his “fingers crossed” for the adoption of a renewal of humanitarian assistance to Syria, both cross-border and cross-line, as the current mandate one expires on 10 July. The month will also feature the regular monthly meeting on Yemen on 11 July, and a high-level open debate on strategic communications in peacekeeping operations on 12 July as the issue of communication with local communities on goals and operations is crucial to their success.
Turning to other matters, he said the Council will also hold meetings on Colombia, children and armed conflict, Libya and Sudan. Brazil will also showcase its culture and history with an event on 12 July, as 2022 marks the bicentennial of the country’s independence. His delegation will pay tribute to Ruy Barbosa, head of Brazil’s delegation to the Hague Peace Conference in 1907.
Mr. Filho then responded to several questions posed by media correspondents, both in person and virtually.
Asked if he was already planning to take steps regarding the wheat crisis and the possibility of opening corridors for exports, he reaffirmed that Ukraine is the most visible issue on the Council and the international agenda. Noting that the Council has “underperformed” in its mandate to maintain international peace and security, he said he aimed to have it focus on concrete discussions on the food security issue and how to alleviate it. To a follow-up question regarding a closed meeting on Ukraine, he said the format has not been agreed upon and that a private meeting is possible. Ukraine would be invited to participate.
Another correspondent asked for an update on discussions towards a resolution on cross-border delivery of aid to north-west Syria, and the prospect of renewing the current mandate on the one border crossing from Türkiye. Mr. Filho said that Ireland and Norway are co-sponsors of the cross-border draft, but as it is a sensitive and contentious issue, he was hesitant to comment on its terms. He also expressed hope that the draft will be accomplished “without too much suffering” and within the timelines.
Asked about plans to transcend Council divisions and how to reform it, he said it is clear that the Ukraine crisis has foreground rifts in the 15-member organ, but the only way towards solutions “is to get people around the table to talk — because finger-pointing is not helpful in any way”. While there has been no progress on urgently required reform of the Council, emerging economies must play a more important role. Negotiations have been going on for 30 years, he said, adding: “We are still hopeful.”
One correspondent, reporting that experts on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea expect a nuclear test this month, asked about the possibility of increased sanctions on that State. He responded that he cannot pre-judge what his Government may decide, but that Brazil has unequivocally condemned every violation of non-proliferation to date. Further asked about non-proliferation, he said that issue was not on the regular agenda, but if anything happens, the Council would respond. He noted that his country’s President [Jair Bolsonaro] intends to attend the high-level general debate of the seventy-seventh session in September; that may be complicated as Brazil will hold general elections two weeks afterwards.
Another correspondent asked about the killing of Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh, noting on 11 May the Council called for investigation, but Israel is refusing to respond. Mr. Filho had no comment, except that investigations are underway, but they are not easy. However, if the Council needs to reaffirm that call, it will do so.
Asked about the recent deaths of 53 migrants in a truck in San Antonio, Texas, in the United States, and the issue of human trafficking, he said the issue should be brought to the table — but it is not an issue for the Council as it is not a threat to international peace and security. In that regard, the Human Rights Council and other relevant bodies should take it up.
Another correspondent, commenting on Mr. Filho’s mention of Mr. Barbosa, asked if there were any women behind Brazil’s diplomacy. He noted that the Council on 24 June adopted a resolution on women in diplomacy citing three women in Brazilian diplomatic history, including Maria José de Castro, the first female civil servant in 1918, whose appointment went all the way to the President’s desk because “having a female civil servant at that time was something quite extraordinary”.