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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

Mr. President,

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The Candidate Countries Croatia*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Iceland+ and Montenegro*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.

Mr. President,

Please allow me first of all to take this opportunity to thank all UN partners, in particular Finland and Turkey, for your efforts made in preparing this innovative resolution. And of course, I also want to congratulate you on the adoption of the resolution.

Mr. President,

Over the last decades we have seen a strengthened determination by all actors to boost mediation efforts, in order to end the scourge of conflict. The increased efforts on mediation have sprung from the realization that we live in a world of increasing interdependence, where conflicts and instability in a certain country or region directly or indirectly affect all of us. As the late Secretary-General Hammarskjöld put it, “war anywhere becomes the concern of all”.

We welcome the strengthened efforts to use mediation as a tool to peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution. Still, more needs to be done. The United Nations was established with the main aim to prevent conflict, and it is indeed important to ensure that the UN is well equipped and ready to take on that responsibility. The resolution adopted today is an important achievement in this endeavour. The EU believes that this resolution indicates the need to resort to mediation efforts more often.

Mr. President,

While our tool-box in the area of conflict management for involvement after the outbreak of violent conflict or in the reconstruction phase are quite developed, our instruments in the area of conflict prevention and resolution, such as mediation, are less developed, receive less political attention, attract fewer financial resources and are therefore applied less systematically. In addition, early warning capacities have been developed in particular by regional and sub-regional organisations, but the international community still needs to close the gap between early warning and early action. This resolution is an important step in redressing these imbalances, and in further strengthening our capacity for early action. In addition, mediation is the cheapest and often the most efficient way to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution. It is also an important instrument to address political strife, promote reconciliation and foster long-term stability.

Mr. President,

The UN is a key actor in the area of peace mediation and, over the years, it has developed a high level of expertise. UN mediation engagement is based on a clear and strong mandate and benefits from a developed mediation support system, namely the Mediation Support Unit in the Department of Political Affairs and its standby team of mediation experts.

The EU is pleased to support the strengthened UN capacity in this field and welcomes the request in the resolution to develop guidance for more effective mediation that takes advantage of the experience of regional and sub-regional organizations, member states and other actors actively involved in mediation initiatives. EU and its member states stand ready to continue to contribute. As indicated in the resolution, existing guidelines in the field of rule of law and accountability should be fully taken into account and implemented. We applaud in particular the strong directives given by the successive Secretary-Generals in their 2004 and 2009 reports on mediation where the granting of amnesties and other forms of immunities for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide were excluded from any UN sponsored agreements; where it was underlined that when international justice is at work, it shall be left to follow its course. We also call for strict implementation of the guidelines restricting contacts of mediators and other UN personnel with persons who are the objects of arrest warrants.

Mr President,

Even though the UN pays a prominent role in peace mediation, other actors also have important contributions to make. The EU aims at providing added value to mediation initiatives based on its own history and experience as a peace project after World War II, and its commitment to a rules-based, just and peaceful international system.

The EU is committed to enhancing its efforts to solve protracted conflicts and to further developing its own mediation capacities based on the Concept of Strengthening EU Mediation and Dialogue Capacities adopted in November 2009, as well as to cooperating closely with the UN and other international actors in this area. In the recently established European External Action Service a specific division is dedicated to mediation. EU mediation involvement takes many different forms, from classical and formal track-1 mediation at the political level, to supporting more informal dialogue processes, to providing financial and/or political support to mediation initiatives of other actors, be it the UN, regional, national or non-governmental actors. The EU also has a variety of instruments of preventive action at its disposal from EU special representatives to trade and development policies. The EU remains committed to cooperation closely with international partners in this area.

We see much potential for working even closer with the UN in the future by developing joint training opportunities, by sharing expertise and lessons learned, and by working together on the establishment of mediation rosters.

Mr. President,

The resolution adopted today paves the way for increased efforts on mediation, more systematic use of mediation, and increased participation of women at all stages, at all levels and in all aspects of mediation in line with Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions. The EU is fully supportive of this, and will join efforts to implement this resolution. We look forward to the Secretary-General’s report on mediation and to discuss this important issue in the next session of the General Assembly.

Thank you very much.

* Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.

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