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  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland

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  • REMARKS, SPEECHES & STATEMENTS

  • Warsaw, 26 April 2018

     

     

    Excellencies,

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

     

    It’s a great pleasure to meet with all of you today. I think that regular contacts with the diplomatic corps are of clear advantage to all of us. Today I would like to give you an overview of Poland’s activity in the United Nations Security Council during our tenure as an elected member and our goals for the month of May, when we will hold a rotating presidency.

     

    We appreciate the support of 190 states – including your capitals – in the last year’s elections. We see it as a confirmation of Poland’s long-standing involvement in the system of international collective security, dating back to the very emergence of the United Nations.

     

    As early as in September 1941, amidst the turmoil of the Second World War, Prime Minister of the Polish government in exile, Władysław Sikorski, decided on the accession to the Atlantic Charter, along with other countries opposing the Axis powers.

     

    In January 1942 the government in exile signed the Declaration of the United Nations, whose provisions greatly determined the establishment of the United Nations. Poland was also one of 51 founding members of the organization.

     

    Today, Poland can enjoy peace and stability and has the ability to contribute to the security environment, also through our activity in the United Nations Security Council.

     

    Let me briefly present our main objectives in the Council.

     

    Our first priority is promoting and strengthening the principles of international law with a special regard to sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders. We share the conviction that the respect for the above rules is an obligation of every member of the international community. Yet, faced with a number of large-scale conflicts the global community is losing its trust in the international law.

     

    Our second priority is conflict prevention. Two days ago I participated in a high-level meeting on peacebuilding and sustaining peace, convened in New York by the President of the General Assembly. The message of the meeting is clear: Peacebuilding is indispensable for sustainable peace and development.

     

    Still, in order to deliver, peacebuilding strategies must be coherent and take into account the specific local needs. To be successful, they should be addressed at the national level, as well as conducted in line with the Kigali principles on the protection of civilians, which Poland signed two years ago.

     

    A concrete example of such approach is the visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar, planned by a group of Permanent Representatives to the UN, including the Polish Ambassador, Joanna Wronecka. The aim is to develop accurate strategies, based on real needs on the ground.

     

    Our third priority in the Security Council concerns new threats to international peace and security, including threats caused by non-state actors, hybrid threats, as well as security issues related to climate change. The perception of threats must evolve. The climate change-related threats are breaking into the general consciousness and the agenda of the Security Council.

     

    Poland takes special interest in the issue, as the host and chair of the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), that will take place in Katowice in December. We are interested in this dimension of security because it is connected with the climate change.

     

     

    Excellencies,

     

    As I said at the beginning, in May Poland assumes a month-long rotating presidency of the Security Council. We congratulate our four predecessors – Kazakhstan, Kuwait, the Netherlands and Peru – on their excellent work.

     

    We also appreciate great cooperation that we have with five European Union member states, forming part of the Security Council this year. It gives us a unique opportunity to align our positions on issues of great importance for the whole World.

     

    We are aware that the main task of the presidency is to ensure proper conditions for the Security Council’s work. Yet, apart from being an efficient manager, we would also like to address our priorities I have just presented to you. To that end, we have programmed four Security Council meetings thematically related to our agenda.

     

    The key event of our presidency will be the high-level open debate entitled “The role of the UN Security Council in upholding international law within the context of the maintenance of international peace and security”.

     

    President Andrzej Duda will preside over this debate, scheduled for 17th of May. Also, Secretary General António Guterres has expressed his interest in taking part in this debate as a briefer.

     

    We will organize an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, scheduled for 22nd of May. Our aim is to underline the importance of compliance with international humanitarian law.

     

    A representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross will provide a briefing and present a report documenting some positive examples in this dimension. Secretary General will again act as a briefer during this event. I will have the honor to preside over this debate.

     

    I would like to renew my invitation to the representatives of your countries to participate in these two events. They will both have the format of an ‘open debate’.

     

    The third meeting of special importance to us is a briefing on peacekeeping, scheduled for 9th of May. We would like to benefit from the presence of UN peacekeeping missions’ Senior Military Commanders to discuss the plan of multidimensional reform of peacekeeping operations, as well as the implementation of a new approach to missions’ mandates.

     

    The key task of the reform is to improve the safety of the peacekeepers on the ground. We hope the debate will help move forward the reform of peacekeeping and peacebuilding architecture, indicated by the UN Secretary General as one of his priorities.

     

    In addition, on 7th of May, we will co-organize an informal ‘Arria’ formula meeting on children in armed conflicts, entitled: “Ending and Preventing Grave Violations Against Children: The Experience of African States in the implementation of Action Plans”.

     

    I have recently visited Kibeho, a town in the southern part of Rwanda, where the Educational Institute for Blind Children led by the Polish Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Cross and funded by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is located. The Institute, which is the only educational facility that helps blind children, provides its students not only with basic education, but also offers a number of them the protection they need due to their vulnerability.

     

    Going back to the Security Council agenda, May features a series of regular debates, briefings of sanctions committees and a review of mandates of several UN missions.

     

    Three regular debates on Syria and its political and humanitarian situation, as well as the use of chemical weapons on its territory are planned. We will seek to ensure the full implementation of the recent Security Council resolution 2401, demanding a cessation of hostilities.

     

    Further steps should aim at bringing to justice the actors responsible for the use of chemical weapons, as well as at the final elimination of its arsenal.

     

    Every single day brings the images of human suffering, while the impunity of the perpetrators is striking. The fundamental rules of law, especially of the international humanitarian law and human rights law, are violated before our eyes. Are they worth anything? We can ask this question.

     

    Naturally, the biggest challenge in resolution of Syrian crisis is to develop a political solution to this protracted conflict. 

     

    A regular briefing on the Middle East Peace Process will take place in May as well. Given the confrontational dynamics around it, options for the meaningful involvement of the Council in the peace process seem limited. The Council will also discuss the situation in Iraq and the activities of the UN Assistance Mission there.

     

    When it comes to Africa, the Security Council will elaborate on the situation in Libya, Somalia, Burundi and Guinea Bissau. Another briefing will be on Sudan/UN mission in Darfur. Our Permanent Representative to the UN in New York will share her reflections on her visit to Sudan as chair of the sanctions committee.

     

    Poland presides also over the sanctions committees on South Sudan and Iraq. We are the vice-chair of several subsidiary organs, including the sanctions committee on North Korea. This role enables us to closely monitor the sanctions policy towards those countries and its implementation.

     

    Regarding Asia, the Council will continue to follow the developments in the inter-Korean relations and preparations for the planned US-DPRK summit, and will also convene a meeting on the sanctions regime on the DPRK.

     

    On the issue of Korean Peninsula, let me stress that we support all the efforts made so far by leaders of the two Korean states to meet and sincerely discuss differences dividing their countries for decades. We also hope that the planned meeting of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un will bring prospects for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

     

    Finally, there will be two meetings on Europe: a briefing on UN mission in Kosovo and a biannual debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

     

    The calendar of the Security Council for May is quite busy, as we can see. I can paraphrase here the words of Henry Kissinger: there cannot be a crisis next month, our schedule is already full.

     

     

    Excellencies,

     

    As you can observe Poland’s tenure in the Security Council places our foreign policy in a broader context. We are glad to take our part of responsibility for solutions to the most pressing global issues.

     

    As a non-permanent member we perceive our role as a facilitator and a bridge-builder when the permanent members are finding themselves sometimes on opposite sides of the barricade.

     

    Let us not forget that a great majority of the Security Council decisions are adopted by a diligently negotiated consensus and they do bring a positive and constructive input.

     

    Therefore, in my opinion, our biggest asset is the constructive and consensual attitude, which we promote as a Security Council member, following the words of Sallust, a Roman historian and politician:

     

    “with concord small things increase, with discord the greatest things go to ruin”. (end of quote)

     

    Thank you for your attention.

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