Pakistan assumes UNSC rotational presidency today

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan takes over the rotational office of the UN Security Council presidency for the month of January, with the dawn of the New Year.

The 15-nation council is the United Nations’ most powerful body, which deals issues of international peace and security.

For the month of January, it has a busy schedule: Briefings and consultations on several issues and situations, which are part of the regular agenda, will be take place during the month, according to their respective periodic cycles.

An open debate is planned on 21 January on “UN Peacekeeping: a multidimensional approach”, which is aimed at reviewing the UN flagship activity to maintain international peace and security.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will come especially to New York to preside over the session.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will brief the Council on the peacekeeping operations.

As a leading contributor of personal to UN peacekeeping operations over the past decades, Pakistan has a vital interest in thecontinued effectiveness and success of UN peacekeeping, Pakistani officials said.

Pakistan believes that the Council’s debate will be a contribution to international community’s collective efforts to make peacekeeping work even better.

A ministerial-level open debate is also planned on January, 15 to deliberate on the comprehensive approach to counter-terrorism.

Pakistan hopes that it will provide an opportunity to have a holistic view of the continuing threats and challenges posed by international terrorism and the best ways of formulating and implementing coherent and comprehensive responses to this menace.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will preside over this debate, in which high level participation from other Council members is also expected.

The Secretary General will brief the Council.

An exhibition is also being organised to mark 52 years of Pakistan’s contribution for the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions.

Currently, Pakistan has over 9,000 troops and other personnel deployed in eight UN Peacekeeping Missions around the world, which demonstrates its commitment to global peace and security.

Prime Minister Ashraf will be the chief guest on the occasion. The UN chief will also attend. The Council will also have the quarterly open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, on January 23.

UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry is likely to brief the Council. Another important issue to be considered during Pakistan’s Presidency is the Rule of Law.

In terms of working methods, Pakistan has proposed to convene a formal Wrap-up Session of the Council on January, 31 which will allow the general membership to provide their views on the activities of the Council during the month.

Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Masood Khan in his capacity as president of the UN Security Council will brief the media on the work programme on January 3.

The event will be telecast by the UN.

Earlier Pakistan had been elected six times for this prestigious body- 1952-53, 1968-69, 1976-77, 1983-84, 1993-94 and 2003-04.

This is the seventh time, the member-state reposed confidence on Pakistan to serve on the Council.

Since joining the United Nations in 1947, Pakistan has shown a strong commitment to multilateralism and promoting the principles and purposes enshrined in the UN Charter.

As a non-permanent member of the Security Council in the past, Pakistan made significant contribution to its work. Pakistan has actively participated in all United Nations issues, including human rights, environment and climate change, and international law. Pakistan served as the President of the ECOSOC in 2005 and the chair of G-77 in 2006.

It has always played a constructive role and has tried to bridge the divides. Pakistan has been a leading voice for the reform of the Security Council to make it more democratic, inclusive and accountable through reform of its structure and improvement in its working methods.

The Security Council has five veto-holding permanent members – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – and 10 temporary elected members without vetoes.