UN Security Council Priorities under the French Presidency

By Jasmine Elshear


This month H.E. Ambassador François Delattre of France is Chairing the UN Security Council. During a #MeetUNSCPres briefing to civil society, he highlighted the situation in the Sahel region of Africa, the protection of civilians and human rights in conflict situations, and the on-going crisis in the Middle East and Myanmar as the key priorities for the French presidency, noting that above all, France seeks a multilateral approach that encourages the UN as a whole to respond to global challenges, voiced by French President Macron in his statement to the UN General Assembly.

Ambassador Delattre stressed the idea of moral responsibility in assisting countries in Africa who are currently facing terrorism, calling on support from the UN to the G5 Sahel Force (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa). Terrorism concerns us”, added the President, “it impacts the entire world – terrorism has no border”.

Concerning human rights and protection of civilians, he highlighted that his presidency will hold thematic debates and meetings regarding issues such as “Children in Armed Conflicts” and “Protection of Women in Conflicts” on 26 and 27 October.

Additionally, the French presidency will address violence against an ethnic minority group in Myanmar by holding an informal meeting aiming to release a strong unanimous statement. And, the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East are being addressed in upcoming debates on the status of de-escalation zones and the work of opposition forces in Syria (26 October), and the humanitarian access in Syria due to the use of chemical weapons (30 October).

After the Ambassador’s presentation, listeners challenged him on questions regarding the Iran peace agreement, North Korea’s nuclear weapons, the French-American differences in that regard, and the Syria-chemical weapons discussion. One NGO representative raised eyebrows when challenging the President on the role of Security Council members regarding human rights violations related to the arms trade. With regards to sanctions on North Korea, he referenced an article in The Washington Post, which reported a ship en route to Egypt from North Korea containing arms worth  US$23 million. He questioned the role of UN Security Council members asking if the Council is similar to the Human Rights Council, “where violators of human rights still have a seat” and countries can vote and not adhere to it?” The Ambassador replied with regard to the global threat of North Korea, stating “we have made progress in terms of implementation in certain areas, there are real efforts by member states to also implement”.

The meeting can be found at http://webtv.un.org/search/-briefing-on-frances-presidency-of-the-un-security-council-meetunscpres/5595545978001/?term=&lan=english&page=12. The calendar of meetings for the UN Security Council is found at http://www.un.org/en/sections/general/meetings-and-events/.

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