I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The following countries align themselves with this statement: The Candidate Countries Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia.
Let me first warmly congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election. We are confident that you will guide the Special Committee in its deliberations in a very competent and efficient manner. We would also like to thank the staff of the UN Secretariat for the assistance in preparing this meeting.
The General Assembly resolution 63/127 of 11 December 2008 requests the Special Committee to continue its considerations of the issues on the agenda, as set out in the paragraph 3 of the said resolution.
With regard to the question of the maintenance of international peace and security, the Special Committee in its last session focused mainly on the revised working paper submitted by the Russian Federation entitled “Basic conditions and standard criteria for the introduction and implementation of sanctions imposed by the United Nations. The EU recognizes the progress made on this issue and hopes that further progress will be possible in this years session. However, there are still important issues that are outstanding. Given this ongoing work on the Russian paper, the EU sees little value in the proposal of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya on a similar issue.
The EU unequivocally supports the recognition by the World Summit in 2005 that sanctions remain an important tool under the Charter to maintain international peace and security without recourse to the use of force. In seeking to promote the effective application of sanctions, in accordance with the UN Charter, we should enhance their credibility by reducing their possible adverse consequences they may have on the socio-economic and humanitarian situation, for the wider population and on the third States. The EU remains convinced that the use of targeted sanctions is a critical tool to that end. In order to be effective, sanctions need to be carefully designed to achieve clear objectives, implemented and monitored with clear benchmarks, periodically reviewed and should remain in place only for as limited a period as necessary to achieve their objectives. We are glad to hear that all current sanctions regimes are targeted in nature.
While recognizing the importance of targeted UN sanctions, in particular terrorism-related, the EU has consistently held the view that they must be based on fair and clear procedures for the individuals concerned. In this context, the EU welcomes the adoption of Security Council resolution 1822 (2008) which introduced the important new elements to enhance the transparency and fairness of the Al-Qaida/Taliban sanctions regime. We also note with satisfaction the adoption of a number of these elements from resolution 1822 in other sanctions regimes of the Security Council.
The EU commends the Security Councils Al-Qaida/Taliban Sanctions Committee for its ongoing efforts to implement resolution 1822 (2008), and adoption of the comprehensive update of the Committees Guidelines. The publication of narrative summaries of reasons for listing, improvements in listing procedures and the review of the Committees consolidated list are particularly valued by the EU.
While recognizing that some progress has been made, the EU expresses the hope that the Security Council will consider how further improvements to its procedures may be made. In this respect we note that in recent judicial proceedings before the European Courts, procedural aspects of implementation of Al-Qaida/Taliban sanctions have been questioned. The EU has made proposals to underline the importance of fair and clear procedures for listing and delisting in sanctions regimes in the discussion of the present proposal of the Russian Federation in the Special Committee.
Turning now to the issue of assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions, the EU notes that the effects of sanctions have indeed been taken up and addressed effectively by the Security Council. It seems that the methods adopted by the Security Council and its committees to target and calibrate sanctions, which are now imposed more precisely, are increasingly successful in avoiding unintended effects.
Moreover, in view of the fact that none of the sanctions committees had been approached by Member States concerning special economic problems arising from the implementation of sanctions since 2003, the EU is of the opinion that the Committee should acknowledge these positive developments occurring in other forums. We continue to hold the view that the Special Committee should avoid duplicating the work that has been assigned, and is carried out elsewhere. Therefore, the EU believes that we have exhausted our deliberations and thus calls upon the Committee to conclude its work on this issue immediately.
The EU would like to emphasize that the peaceful settlement of disputes is one of the basic principles of international law as well as of the United Nations. In this regard the EU would like to recall the duty of members of the UN under Article 2, paragraph 3 of the UN Charter, to settle their international disputes by peaceful means and in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice are not endangered. We have noted with satisfaction that the 2005 Summit Outcome Document has also reminded States of this obligation and stressed that the relevant provisions of the Charter are sufficient to address the full range of threats to international peace and security.
Furthermore, the EU would like to emphasize the important role that the International Court of Justice plays in this regard, as the principal judicial organ of the organization, with an impressive record of adjudicating disputes among states over the past sixty years.
Regarding the future work of the Special Committee, the EU has always been in favour of improving the work of this Committee and continues to stand ready to support initiatives aiming at a review of the Committees working methods. In fact, it is our hope that this year we will be able to follow the decision adopted in 2006 on reforming the working methods of the Special Committee. In this regard, we support reducing the duration of the Special Committees session to one week in order to focus on the key points of the debate.
Furthermore, in light of the fact that some issues before us have been lingering on our agenda for quite some time now, the EU remains reluctant to include any new items on the Special Committees agenda. As such, the proposal introduced by the RIO Group entitled Consideration of the legal aspects of the reform of the United Nations needs to be clarified and detailed before it can be studied further.
Finally, the EU notes with appreciation the progress made in both, the preparation of the Repertory of Practice of the United Nations as well as the ongoing efforts to reduce the backlog in the preparation of the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council. We particularly welcome the continuous efforts towards updating the two publications and making them available electronically in all their respective language versions. Furthermore, the EU recalls the two trust funds established to facilitate the preparation of the publications and encourages the Member States to make additional contributions.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.