This Month in the Security Council – August 2020
Due to COVID-19, video-teleconferencing continued to be the primary medium for Security Council meetings. Our delegation continued to work closely in the “A3+1” configuration alongside our African brothers and sisters on the Council (Niger, South Africa and Tunisia), including by collaborating on issues regarding Guinea-Bissau and the situation in Somalia.
1. Lebanon: Our delegation expressed our solidarity with the people of Lebanon following the devastating explosion at the Beirut Port on August 4th. We urged the international community to increase humanitarian and financial assistance as this tragedy is further compounded by an economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. COVID-19 and Peacebuilding: The pandemic has been a destabilizing force around the world. In conflict-affected countries or for those emerging from conflict, COVID-19 has accentuated security risks by heightening humanitarian concerns that threaten peacebuilding gains. Our delegation welcomed the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19 and the Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund as critical tools towards building and sustaining peace and urged donor countries and the international private sector to scale up their financial support of these essential mechanisms.
3. Guinea-Bissau: The A3+1 commended efforts to normalize the political situation in Guinea-Bissau. The electoral dispute following the December 2019 elections has been resolved with the help of international partners such as ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States). The A3+1 called on the international community to support Guinea-Bissau as it works towards sustainable development.
4. Terrorism and Organized Crime: At the open debate addressing the issue of linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime, our delegation highlighted the importance of understanding how poverty and underdevelopment contributes to these issues. We condemned all forms of terrorism whether State-sponsored or not. As terrorism becomes more interconnected, we urged all States to improve the flow of criminal intelligence and information-sharing across all levels of government and on a national, regional, and international level.
5. Syria: Our delegation remains in full support of achieving a political solution, which is owned and led by the Syrian people. We, therefore, welcomed the convening of the third session of the Constitutional Committee and expressed our hope that it would be characterized by constructive engagement by all parties. As always, we continued to call for the lifting of all unilateral coercive measures, which are inconsistent with international law, frustrate efforts at stabilizing and revitalizing the economy and now have the potential to undermine Syria’s pandemic response. We also reiterated that Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity must be respected and should never be rejected in favor of acts of aggression and foreign occupation.
6. Israel/Palestine: Our delegation welcomed the recent announcement by the Israeli Prime Minister to delay annexation activities in the occupied West Bank. We highlighted that annexation undermines international norms and constitutes a serious breach of international law. We also reiterated our firm commitment to the internationally-agreed two state solution and emphasized that only through a negotiated two-state solution that addresses the needs and concerns of both Israel and Palestine can we achieve our long-held dream of peace in the Middle East.
7. Iran: We continued to reaffirm our strong support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and reiterated that the agreement remains the only viable path to ensure a peaceful, comprehensive, and long-term solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. We also maintained the joint position of the A3+1 regarding the 20 August notification by the United States to trigger the snapback mechanism that would reimpose all previously terminated sanctions on Iran. This joint position underlines that having confirmed its withdrawal from the JCPOA and by not participating in any of the JCPOA structures or subsequent activities, the United States ceased to be a JCPOA participant and is, therefore, ineligible to submit a notification to trigger the snapback mechanism.
Meetings scheduled to discuss Syria’s humanitarian situation and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) would have taken place by the time of publication. A number of key resolutions that address Women in Peacekeeping, renewing sanctions measures in Mali, and extending the mandates for peacekeeping missions in Somalia and Lebanon are also scheduled for adoption by the end of this month.
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