Saturday,21 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1356, (10 - 16 August 2017)
Saturday,21 July, 2018
Issue 1356, (10 - 16 August 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Combating terrorism

Egypt will reaffirm its commitment to fighting terrorism while respecting international law and human rights during its presidency of the UN Security Council this month, writes Doaa El-Bey



Egypt kicked off its month-long presidency of the UN Security Council last week by focusing on halting the supply of weapons to terrorists.

Today will see the first of two briefings on peace and security in Africa. The current session will address sexual violence in conflict zones while the second, scheduled for 15 August, will update Resolution 2359 (2017) on combating terrorism and transnational crime in the Sahel.

It is the second time Egypt chairs the United Nations Security Council since it became a non-permanent member in 2016.

In May last year, during the first session to be held under its chairmanship, the UN adopted Resolution 2370 on preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons.

Amr Abul-Atta, Egypt representative to the UN, described the resolution as the first detailed attempt to address the issue. The resolution was part of Egypt’s ongoing attempt to give more prominence to the issue of combating terrorism within the Security Council, said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid, and was the product of three months’ intensive work by the Egyptian UN mission.

Egypt had earlier used its chairmanship of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) to organise an open session which contributed to the drafting of Resolution 2370. 

During the Security Council session Abul-Atta called on the international community to adhere to UN resolutions calling for terrorism to be combated by all available means under the UN Charter and international law.

A briefing on enhancing the effectiveness of United Nations sanctions was held last Thursday during which Egypt called on the Security Council to translate sanctions already agreed into action on the ground.

“By so doing, the council will send a message to the international community that it realises the importance of the sanctions tool and the necessity of enhancing it,” said Abu Zeid.

The meeting built on ongoing Egyptian efforts to improve the UN’s sanctions regime.

The Egyptian mission organised a Security Council meeting last month to listen to the experience of three African states about the role UN sanctions had played in settling domestic conflicts.

In the same month the Foreign Ministry, in cooperation with the Cairo Centre for Peacekeeping and Conflict Resolution in Africa, organised a roundtable discussion on the same issue.

At the end of this month the Security Council will hear a briefing on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organisations, including the Arab League (AL).  

The first Security Council-AL meeting was held in May last year during Egypt’s presidency when members of the Security Council visited Cairo and held talks with AL permanent representatives.

“In July, a consultative Security Council-AL committee was established. Their second meeting will be held late this month in New York on the level of permanent representatives,” says Abu Zeid.

The Security Council is also expected to adopt two draft resolutions, one on the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the second on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Egypt will conclude its presidency with an open debate on peacekeeping operations — with a focus on peace-building and sustaining peace — scheduled for 29 August.

Asked whether he would call an emergency meeting on the ramifications of Israel’s behaviour towards Al-Aqsa Mosque Abul-Atta said he was keeping an open mind about calling such a meeting and added that work with Jordan and Israel to resolve the issue was ongoing.

During its first presidency in May 2016 Egypt worked to promote the interests of African and developing countries as well as the Palestinian cause.

Terrorism, cooperation on peace and security between the United Nations and the African Union, the Palestinian, Libyan and Syrian crises and the situation in Yemen were also discussed by the Security Council during Egypt’s earlier presidency.

The presidency of the council rotates monthly between each of the non-permanent members according to English alphabetical order.

Egypt’s two-year Security Council non-permanent membership began in January last year and ends in December. It is the fifth Security Council non-permanent member term for Egypt. Egypt’s last term was in June 1996 when Nabil Al-Arabi, the former secretary-general of the Arab League, was Egypt’s permanent representative to the UN.

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