Transcript of remarks at UN Security Council stakeout
Remarks by the Australian Ambassador to the United Nations, Gary Quinlan, at the UN Security Council Stakeout
10 September 2013
Quinlan: Well, good afternoon everybody. It’s good to see you. I’ve just got a couple of very quick comments following the meeting of the Council this morning on Liberia, I’ll come to that in a moment.
First of all, I think you probably already know that the Council will meet at 4 o’clock this afternoon to discuss Syria. You’ve all seen comments, of course, in the last 24 hours and indeed a bit longer from various countries – Russia, the United States – President Obama’s comments overnight and again today – also France and the UK. The Secretary-General made a number of comments yesterday as well in his press conference. All of which need to be brought together for a discussion within the Council and that has been requested by one member, and agreed of course. So we’ll proceed to have a meeting at 4 o’clock this afternoon.
Now it’s a bit premature to speculate and say anything further or (offer) any further comment from me on how that discussion will go and what the steps which come out of that discussion will be. So I don’t want to speculate, because that won’t be helpful. This is very much a step by step process and we have to treat it very systematically that way, I think. But it is good that the Council is meeting and we will do that, as I said, at 4 o’clock this afternoon.
This morning on Liberia, just a couple of very quick comments. As you know we had the Special Representative and the Head of the Liberia Mission – the Peacekeeping and Political Mission – Karin Landgren. She reported to the Council prior to our considering the next mandate renewal for the Liberian mission which will be considered on the 18th of September. So we reviewed progress in the peacekeeping and political mission and in the drawdown of peacekeeping forces and the transition to greater security control by the Liberian Government itself; progress with political and social reform; difficulties that exist in the security sector – it needs more reform; land reform issues and agricultural issues remain a problem; corruption and the question of impunity related to what is still quite a, quite an alarming rate of sexual- and gender-based violence. But there is hope; there is hope. It’s 10 years in Liberia now without civil war following two terrible civil wars, as we know, prior to that.
Last Thursday you’ll recall we discussed Sudan/South Sudan. I didn’t have the opportunity to briefly mention one element that came out of those discussions that I do need to mention. There was a particular discussion about Abyei. As you know, the final status of Abyei has not yet been determined between the parties. There is a referendum that will be held to determine that status. There is concern that various parties might take or are beginning to take unilateral steps which could compromise a proper process for determining that status. This, of course, could give rise, potentially, to conflict – certainly increasing tension. So the Council was united in wanting a signal to be sent that we must be very careful in that situation and we would ask all parties to desist from any unilateral actions which might lead in that direction.
Finally I might note that on Thursday morning the Council will also be discussing and reviewing the DRC, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the situation there. We’re all familiar with the security situation with M23 and the conflict between Congolese armed forces in which the UN Mission, MONUSCO with a robust mandate -historically given this year by the Security Council – has also had a significant role. We need to review that situation. The military situation appears at the moment to be in a state of lull and the political process, the Kampala talks between the parties, including M23, has begun again but we do need to review that and see if there is anything further the Council needs to do.
So really, that’s where it’s at until we meet this afternoon at 4 on Syria.
Q: Can I ask, was it Russia who called for this meeting and have you received any proposals from the Russian delegation on Syria?
Quinlan: As President of the Council I haven’t yet. People may have prepared pieces of paper. There’s been quite a lot of speculation in the media and elsewhere about that. It’s premature before we start meeting at 4 o’clock this afternoon, so I don’t think any further comment from me is going to help. As I say, this is very much a step by step process but I expect people will be making comments this afternoon after the 4 o’clock meeting. And I’m afraid that’s really it.
Q: But on Abyei…
Q: Can you confirm that it was Russia who requested the meeting?
Q: On Abyei, I wanted to know if in that briefing whether Under-Secretary-General Ladsous – any report was given back on the investigation of the killing of the paramount chief that took place in the summer? There was a lot of heat about that.
And also on DRC, since you mentioned it. You mentioned M23 twice and I wonder is there any sense in the Council that this Brigade should also be targeting the FDLR which is obviously a group that Rwanda has raised repeatedly…
Quinlan: In relation to the investigation, that is still underway and there’s been no report back as yet.
In relation to the M23 and where all that’s going, Matthew, very happy to talk to you about that on Thursday after we talk about it in the Council.
Ok, thank you very much. No, that’s it.
10 September 2013