Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Meeting on “Cooperation between the United Nations and Regional and Sub-Regional Organisations in maintaining Peace and Security”, 13 June 2019

Mr President,

We thank you once again for your stewardship of today’s Council meeting on “Cooperation between the Security Council and the League of Arab States”.

We also thank the UN Secretary-General, Mr António Guterres and the League of Arab State (LAS) Secretary-General, Mr Ahmed Aboul-Gheit for their briefings.

Mr President,

The Charter of the United Nations gives the Security Council the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Chapter VIII of the Charter also recognizes the complementarity between the roles of the UN and regional organizations in that respect.

Political and strategic alignment between the Security Council and regional organizations has demonstrated effective results, as we have seen in the cases of Somalia and the Sudan, amongst others. Coordination should be enhanced and become more formalized and structured, which is why South Africa has consistently championed the strengthening of cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations.

Mr President,

As you would be aware, South Africa pioneered the adoption of resolution 1809 (2008) in 2008 and Resolution 2033 (2012) in January 2012 to further strengthen that relationship, particularly between the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Security Council. Through this resolution, we demonstrated as a country, and as the AU, our collective political will to strengthen coordination and cooperation between the UN and regional organisations.

We believe also, that cooperation between regional organizations is equally important, especially in instances where there is overlapping membership, such as in the case of the LAS and the AU. In such instances, regional organizations should collaborate in developing regional solutions to common challenges, such as the prevention and resolution of conflicts. It will also ensure that we do not work at cross purposes but rather in tandem.

Mr President,

South Africa is of the view that cooperation between global and regional bodies is critical in terms of finding a deeper understanding for regional challenges; seeking solutions for regional peace and security situations; and, implementing agreed resolutions, agreements and frameworks.

Since the start of cooperation between the UNSC and the AUPSC, we have found that the relationship between the two Councils has been meaningful as well as useful in finding common ground on peace and security issues on the Continent.

South Africa therefore supports improved and increased cooperation between the UN and the LAS, as this is pertinent in dealing with conflicts in the Arab region.

Mr President,

South Africa appreciates the efforts of the LAS in promoting peace in the Middle East region, especially efforts at furthering the Middle East peace process, the oldest peace and security item on the agendas of both the United Nations and the LAS. It is therefore vital that the UN strengthen its engagement with the LAS.

In this regard, South Africa welcomes the appointment of Mr Khaled Mohamed Khiari, as the Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regional division, which was created as part of the reforms of the UN peace and security architecture.

We emphasise that in its cooperation with the LAS, the Council should be consistent and not selective.

The underlying causes of uprisings and long-standing conflicts have to be addressed in a coordinated manner. In the Middle East, we have not seen such an approach. There has been swift international reaction to some, while in others such cooperation is lacking. This is clearly evident when it comes to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Mr President,

As we continue to consolidate and strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and regional organisations, we call on members of this Council to value and support these relationships and consistently make use of them in the maintenance of international peace and security.

I thank you.


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