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Cooperation between the UN and the European Union

UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL

Statement by H.E. Mr Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
of Australia to the United Nations

Mr President,

I warmly welcome your presence in the Council today to preside over this debate. And I thank both the Secretary-General and the High Representative for their statements.

A reading of the history of the negotiation of the United Nations Charter reveals that the framing of Chapter VIII on “Regional Arrangements” was particularly contentious. While the Charter clearly needed to confer primacy for the maintenance of international peace and security on the universal institution it was creating, a clear recognition of the contribution that regional organisations could make to collective security was required, and the relationship between the United Nations and regional organisations needed to be defined. Discussions on these issues at Dumbarton Oaks and San Francisco were particularly intense. And Chapter VIII was the result. Drafted decades before the emergence of transformative regional organisations such as the EU and AU, Chapter VIII has proven to be prescient and utilitarian. As this Council recognised in its PRST last August, “cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organisations is [now] an integral part of collective security as provided for in the Charter”.

The European Union (EU) is self-evidently a natural and crucial partner for the UN in this regard. It is actively engaged, both within its region and – necessarily – beyond, in conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, as well as combatting proliferation and terrorism – all key objectives of our collective endeavours in this Council – all underwritten by the fact that the EU and its 28 member states together provide the single largest financial contribution to the UN system. This EU engagement contributes directly to our collective efforts on peacekeeping, peacebuilding and conflict prevention.

Mr President

Since the Council was last briefed by High Representative Ashton in February 2013, significant security challenges have emerged or persisted in a number of countries in Africa. The EU has significantly assisted UN and AU efforts to address these. EU provision of capacity-building in Mali and Somalia, and its direct support for the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia, is playing an instrumental role towards building stability and sustainable peace in those countries.

As the Security Council has said, the situation in the Central African Republic is of grave concern. Strong support at this time for the African-led International Support Mission (MISCA) is essential. Australia therefore welcomes the EU’s support for MISCA and the establishment, by the EU, of its military mission to the Central African Republic. We welcome the strong commitment on continuing support articulated this morning.

Australia commends High Representative Ashton for brokering the historic agreement of April last year between Serbia and Kosovo, and for her continued support for the high-level dialogue between the parties to achieve full normalisation of their relations.

On Iran, the EU’s efforts have been pivotal in facilitating the interim agreement with the P5+1, which took effect on 20 January . The agreement provides a path towards a long-term comprehensive solution to the Iran nuclear issue. In the meantime, as Chair of the UNSC Iran Sanctions Committee, Australia is working to ensure the effectiveness of existing UNSC sanctions measures.

On Syria, Australia and the EU share the view that the international community must support efforts led by Joint Special Representative Brahimi to build a credible political framework to end the conflict. We welcome the support of EU member States in the rapid establishment of the joint UN/OPCW mission in Syria and their efforts to promote unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to affected people in Syria and neighbouring countries, as well as their significant contributions to the UN’s humanitarian and refugee appeals for Syria. We look forward to their support for an urgent Security Council resolution on the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

On the Middle East peace process, Australia commends High Representative Ashton for her contribution as a principal member of the Middle East Quartet. We welcome the EU’s 16 December announcement of an unprecedented package of security, political, and economic support to Israel and the Palestinians in the context of a final status agreement.

On Ukraine, we welcome the EU’s constructive response to the ongoing protests. We support the High Representative’s calls for a dialogue between the parties.

Australia acknowledges the important role High Representative Ashton herself has played including through her multiple recent visits to Ukraine. We encourage the EU to continue to promote a peaceful and democratic resolution to this crisis.

To conclude, Mr President

Given the number and complexity of conflicts around the world, continued close cooperation between the UN and regional organisations obviously remains crucial. The EU-UN relationship shows the continued relevance, utility and adaptability of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter.

Finally, I would like to thank the High Representative for her personal dedication during her time in office towards efforts to enhance peace and security.

Thank you, Mr President.

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