Debate on the Challenges and Opportunities in the Middle East
Next Monday (12 March) the Council will hold a high-level debate on the “Situation in the Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities” immediately following the adoption of a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). UK Foreign Secretary William Hague will preside over the debate and the Secretary-General will brief. The Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia are expected to participate along with ministerial-level participants from Council members including Colombia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Morocco, Portugal, Russia and the US. There will be no outcome document from the debate.
The focus of the debate will be the political transformations in the region since the beginning of the Arab Spring and the Council’s response. Council members are also likely to look ahead and offer suggestions of ways the Council might assist with transitions to new political frameworks. It is expected that the debate will also highlight Council members’ views on the effects of the Libya intervention authorised by resolution 1973.
Syria is also likely to be raised during the debate. The substance of remarks on Syria is likely to depend on progress made in the ongoing P5 plus Morocco negotiations on a new draft resolution on Syria. (See our Syria story today for background to the negotiations.) If it looks like the draft resolution is unlikely to be adopted, it is likely that there may be strong statements from some members about the Council’s inability to respond to this situation. Other members are likely to focus on the need to ensure that the Council does not overreach its mandate, as some contend was the case with the implementation of resolution 1973.
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