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Core principles … They work if we do – Kuwaiti FM chairs high-level UNSC meeting
NEW YORK, Feb 22, (KUNA): Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah on Wednesday presided over a high-level UN Security Council meeting on “Purposes and Principles of the Charter of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security.”
The meeting, proposed by the State of Kuwait, saw the UNSC member states renewing their commitments to improve the mechanisms for addressing the risks posed to the international community and enable the Council to deliver its mandate in preserving peace and security worldwide.
Speakers at the gathering noted that the meeting took place shortly ahead of Kuwait celebrating its 27th liberation day, a reminder of the collective will and ability of the international community to liberate Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion of 1991 pursuant to the provisions of the UN Charter.
In his address to the meeting, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled thanked the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres for “the valuable briefing” he offered to the Council. He reaffirmed Kuwait’s support to the efforts of the UN chief and his vision for improving the working mechanism of the UN and minimizing the threats facing the world. He also thanked former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon for his briefing. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said, “The theme of our meeting today ‘Purposes and Principles of the Charter of the United Nations in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security’ is exactly the same as the targets of the UN Charter.
“Let me quote the first lines of the preamble of the Charter: ‘We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.’ Kuwait’s invitation for holding this important meeting aims to provide a chance for assessing our collective responsibilities towards the commitments specified in the UN Charter.”
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled regretted that some members of the UN failed to deliver their commitments and committed flagrant violations of the principles of the UN Charter, thus posing grave risks to the international peace and security.
He noted that the Kuwait’s selection of the theme and timing of this session bears the significance that commitment to the purposes of the UN Charter and international laws is of great importance for all UN member states, particularly the small ones. “Kuwait will be celebrating, on Feb 26, the 27th anniversary of its liberation from the Iraqi invasion in 1991; this liberation was the fruit of global commitment to the principles of the UN Charter,” he pointed out. On the tools available for the UN Security Council to deliver its mandate in maintaining peace and security, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled highlighted the roles of chapters VI, VII and VIII on action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression; and regional arrangements, respectively.
“After more than seven decades of its adoption, the UN Charter remains to be an effective means of preventing and settling disputes through peaceful ways,” he went on. Regarding the unity of the UNSC, Sheikh Sabah Al- Khaled said the ability of the Council to shoulder its responsibility depends primarily on consensus among its permanent members. “The recent years or decades showed that the Council failed to act vis-? -vis grave crisis due to divisions among its five permanent members which abused their veto powers,” he regretted. He cited as examples the Palestinian cause that remained unsolved over the last 70 years and the Syrian crisis the entered its seventh year with the death toll rising to more than 400,000.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled appreciated the vision of the Secretary General for improving the working mechanisms of the UN bodies and finding preventive measures and diplomatic solutions to disputes based on the provisions of Chapter 99 of the UN Charter. “Kuwait is returning to the UNSC membership four decades after its first membership in 1978-1979 with a renewed commitment to contribute to maintenance of the international peace and security, favoring dialogue to force in solving dispute, building the best possibly relations with neighbors and other countries of the world, leading mediation to solve disputes through peaceful means, “That’s a long and complex process to achieve. Cessations cannot be established by putting a word in the resolution.” Soon after final draft of the resolution was circulated, Nebenzia called for an open Security Council meeting Thursday on eastern Ghouta. Some diplomats complained privately that Russia was trying to delay action on the 30-day cease-fire resolution. The UN human rights office said Wednesday that at least 346 people have been killed in eastern Ghouta since the Syrian government and its allies escalated an offensive on Feb 4.
Nebenzia told the council it’s important that all sides in the conflict present their understanding of the situation in eastern Ghouta “and come up the ways of getting out of the situation there.” Russia understands “there are terrorists there who the Syrian army is fighting and the terrorists are shelling heavily Damascus — and that has been neglected,” he said. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier urged an immediate suspension of “all war activities” in eastern Ghouta, where he said 400,000 people are living “in hell on earth.”
The UN chief said a suspension of fighting must allow for humanitarian aid to reach all in need and the evacuation of some 700 people needing urgent medical treatment. “This is a human tragedy that is unfolding in front of our eyes and I don’t think we can let things go on in this horrendous way,” he said. US Ambassador Nikki Haley supported the UN chief saying “it is time for us to realize that we can’t continue to look away.” Later, she accused “the barbaric Assad regime” of attacking men, women and children. “It is simply preposterous to claim that these attacks on civilians have anything to do with fighting terrorism,” Haley said in a statement.
“The Security Council must move to adopt a resolution establishing a cease-fire.” But since the Syrian conflict began nearly seven years ago, the Security Council has been deeply divided, with Russia backing President Bashar Assad’s government and the US, Britain and France supporting the opposition. The result has been paralysis and inaction.
The proposed Syria humanitarian resolution drafted by Sweden and Kuwait expresses “grave distress” that more than 13.1 million people in Syria need urgent humanitarian assistance and “outrage” at the escalating violence and lack of access to civilians in need. It calls for a cease-fire throughout Syria to begin 72 hours after the resolution’s adoption.
It states that 48 hours after a cease-fire starts humanitarian convoys must be allowed “unimpeded and sustained access” and the UN and its partners must be allowed to evacuate urgent cases. The draft resolution also calls for the immediate lifting of sieges including in eastern Ghouta, Yarmouk, Foua and Kefraya.