UK Statement by Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the UN Security Council meeting on Working Methods of the Security Council.

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Russia has increasingly used this Council as a platform for propaganda and disinformation

5 September 2023

President, let me start by congratulating you on assuming the Presidency and wishing you a very productive month of September. I also start by thanking Albania for your role as Chair of the Informal Working Group, for your team’s excellent stewardship of this important topic.

On the 17th January 1946, the Security Council held its first meeting in Church House, in Westminster in the United Kingdom. In the 77 years since, the Council has worked to discharge its responsibility for maintaining international peace and security.

Dag Hammarskjold, of course, said it best: “The UN was created not to take mankind to heaven, but to save humanity from hell”. For all its faults, fractures and inefficiencies, the Council continues to play a vital role. It has outlasted the League of Nations by 51 years, it has helped to prevent a third world war.

Our vision remains for a Council that is able to solve problems through interactive debate, building consensus, responsible and inclusive penholdership, and decisions that have real impact on the ground.

Realising this means looking ahead to forthcoming threats to peace and security and being proactive in preventing conflict or deterring escalation, using all the tools at the Council’s disposal.

It means tackling issues head on, even where they are uncomfortable for some.

It means hearing from genuine experts, including Civil Society, who can enrich our deliberations.

It also means striking a balance between transparency and confidentiality.

Sometimes the Council is most effective when it holds frank discussions in private – when it does so we should strive to agree press elements in the interest of transparency.

And it means, most importantly, that Council members have a responsibility to uphold the UN Charter.

It is 50 years since the UK last unilaterally vetoed a Council resolution. We are glad that GA resolution 76/262 has helped secure transparency and accountability when a permanent member blocks action to maintain international peace and security.

President, by invading its sovereign neighbour and engaging in a brutal war of aggression, one permanent member has shown a flagrant disregard for the Charter.

In attempting to defend the indefensible, Russia has increasingly used this Council as a platform for propaganda and disinformation. It has requested briefers on the basis of their willingness to defend or distract from Russian aggression and it has allowed its narrative to seep into other important issues on the Council’s agenda.

It is incumbent on all of us to maintain the authority, integrity and legitimacy of this Council. All the more so when the actions of one permanent member threaten this.

President, we will continue to work with you in your capacity as Chair of the Informal Working Group, and collectively with colleagues around this table, to maximise the Council’s effectiveness and to uphold the UN Charter.

Thank you.

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