From 31 January to 3 February, Council members took part in a visiting mission to Mali (Bamako and Mopti) led by Chad and France (S/2014/72). The mission was undertaken to reiterate the Council’s urgent call for an inclusive and credible negotiation process open to all communities of the north, as well as emphasising the Council’s full support of the good offices of the Special Representative for Mali. On 26 February, the Council was briefed by the co-leads of the visiting mission (S/PV.7120).
On 10 February, the Council held its quarterly debate on Kosovo (S/PV.7108) and was briefed by Farid Zarif, the Special Representative and head of UNMIK on the latest report of the Secretary-General (S/2014/68).
UNOCA (Central Africa)
On 11 February, the Council issued a press statement welcoming the joint communiqué agreed between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots leaders (SC/11273).
Protection of Civilians
On 12 February, the Council held its semi-annual open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict (S/PV.7109) and adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2014/3). The concept note for the debate proposed a focus on effective implementation of protection of civilians mandates in UN peacekeeping missions, which is one of the five core protection challenges identified by the Secretary-General (S/2014/74). (The other four are enhancing compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law; enhancing compliance by non-state armed groups; ensuring humanitarian access; and promoting accountability.) The debate also provided an opportunity to consider the Secretary-General’s most recent thematic report on the protection of civilians, issued on 22 November (S/2013/689). It featured briefings by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and the Director General of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Yves Daccord. In addition to Council members, more than 45 member states also spoke. The presidential statement reiterated the Council’s commitment to the protection of civilians and contained as an annex an updated aide mémoire aimed at facilitating the Council’s consideration of protection issues. (First endorsed by the Council in a presidential statement on 15 March 2002 [S/PRST/2002/6] the aide memoire has been updated several times, most recently in a 22 November 2010 presidential statement [S/PRST/2010/25]). While the Council had in the past “adopted” the aide memoire, this time it instead “recognize[d] the contribution of the updated aide memoire for the consideration of issues pertaining to the protection of civilians in armed conflict.”
On 13 February, the Council adopted resolution 2137, extending the mandate of BNUB until 31 December 2014 (S/PV.7110). The Council also requested the Secretary-General to prepare BNUB’s transition and transfer of responsibilities to the UN country team by that date.
On 14 February, the Council held a meeting focusing on its cooperation with the EU (S/PV.7112). Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, briefed the Council on the activities of the EU in maintenance of international peace and security. At the meeting, the Council adopted the first-ever presidential statement on cooperation between the UN and the EU, highlighting the EU’s comprehensive approach to maintenance of international peace and security (S/PRST/2014/4).
On 16 February, Council members released a press statement condemning the terrorist attack targeting a bus with Korean tourists in the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt) killing at least four people and injuring dozens (SC/11284).
Rule of Law
On 19 February, the Council held an open debate on “the promotion and strengthening of the rule of law in the maintenance of international peace and security”, chaired by the Foreign Minister of Lithuania, Linas Linkevičius (S/PV.7113). The Secretary-General briefed the Council and representatives of 63 member states, the EU and Palestine participated. On 21 February, the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2014/5) underlining the importance of support to strengthening the rule of law institutions of the host country by a number of peacekeeping operations and special political missions within the scope of their mandates.
On 24 February the Council was briefed by the Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Burkhalter, the Chairperson-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Burkhalter presented the main objectives of the OSCE in 2014 and addressed the recent crisis in Ukraine (S/PV.7117).
On 25 February, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed the Council (S/PV.7118), followed by consultations. He reported that US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to forge a framework proposal as a basis for continued negotiation is reaching a defining moment and potentially will provide a credible horizon to achieve the two-state solution.
José Ramos-Horta, the Special Representative for Guinea-Bissau briefed the Council on 26 February (S/PV.7121) on the Secretary-General’s report on the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau (S/2014/105). Ramos-Horta reported that voter registration had been successfully completed and the electoral date had been postponed from 16 March to 13 April for technical reasons. The Council also heard from Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil) on his recent visit to Guinea-Bissau as chair of the PBC country configuration. The Council issued a press statement urging Guinea-Bissau to hold elections without further delays (SC/11299).