Press Conference by H.E. Ambassador José Javier De la Gasca Lopez Domínguez, Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the UN and Security Council President, on Programme of Work for December

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December 1, 2024

The Security Council will hold in December two separate open debates on transnational organized crime and the threats from small arms, its President for the month said at a Headquarters press conference today.

José Javier De la Gasca Lopez Domínguez (Ecuador) — whose country holds the 15-nation organ’s rotating presidency for December — said the open debate format aims to make the Council more inclusive and participatory.

He said his delegation will address in an open debate on 7 December the growing challenges of and new threats from transnational organized crime, building on the legacy of Latin American nations’ past work on the topic.  Organized crime is a scourge in various parts of the world, including Ecuador.  “There is a need for greater synergies between United Nations system bodies to favour international cooperation and to ensure that we have the necessary tools to support national forces in each State. This will allow us to overcome emerging threats and challenges,” he said.  UN Secretary-General António Guterres will participate in the debate.

The Council will hold a second open debate on 15 December on the threat to peace and security posed by the diversion, illicit trafficking and misuse of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition. The meeting will discuss the Secretary-General’s biannual report on the topic.

There will be consultations on the Middle East during December, particularly on the Palestinian issue, he said.  That includes a briefing on the peace process in the Middle East on 19 December, with more meetings likely on the same issue.  “We will work closely with all interested parties to ensure that our work on this very important matter will continue this month and will respond to the events on the ground,” he said.  The Council will also hear from investigators on accountability for crimes by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as Da’esh, in Syria; be briefed on the conflict in Syria; and discuss the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the peacekeeping mission maintaining the ceasefire between Israeli and Syrian troops in the Golan and supervising the areas of separation and limitation.

Non-proliferation and combating the illicit trafficking of weapons is one of the Ecuadorian presidency’s priorities for the month, alongside protection of civilians as the best way to commemorate next year’s 75th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, sustaining peace through preventing conflict and emerging threats, the peaceful settlement of disputes and the women, peace and security agenda, he said.  It also aims to strengthen the participation of civil society, particularly that of women, and incorporate the gender approach in debates.

There will be votes on three draft resolutions on Al-Shabaab, Somalia and the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in the Sudan (UNITAMS) on 1 December, with two more on 14 December on sanctions concerning Afghanistan and on 19 December on the orderly withdrawal of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

Discussions will take place on the situations in Haiti, Sudan, South Sudan, Yemen, Central Africa, Libya and the Secretary-General’s report on Iran’s nuclear plan, he said.  On 20 December, the latest report on Afghanistan will be presented to the Council, focusing on restrictions of fundamental rights and freedoms for girls.

Speaking on his country’s presidency this month, he said it is “important to move from words to deeds, and in this context we will seek to strengthen the youth, peace and security agenda”.

In response to journalists’ questions on the Israel-Hamas war, he said Ecuador as president will be working “as much as we can to address the situation” and “there will be consultations, as soon as possible”.  He said his country’s position regarding accountability for violations of human rights in Gaza fall under the principles of international law, humanitarian law and therefore the Council’s resolutions. He hoped that the Council would be able to vote on a new resolution on the situation this month, saying in its role as president his country will work to channel this type of dialogue.

Responding to a question on navigating tensions in the Council, for instance between the United States and the Russian Federation, he said that it would be an open-door presidency.  He understood that such tensions exist, but that Ecuador would try to find solutions, build bridges and maintain good relations with all countries, without exception.

Questioned on what his country would do to make progress in Haiti, considering that it had been 14 months since that country requested a multinational force, he said while it was always desired that things move as fast as possible, first some domestic elements have to be resolved by Haiti. He expected to see soon a response from Kenya, that is leading the Multinational Security Support Mission to Haiti.

Asked whether the Council will take measures to deal with consequences of the withdrawal of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), he said the Council’s decisions must always be respected and this must be no exception, and that the matter is not on the Council’s schedule at present.

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