– CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Acceding Country Croatia, , the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland , the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as, the Republic of Moldova, align themselves with this declaration.
At the outset, we would like to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election. We are confident in your ability to guide the Special Committee in its deliberations. We also take this opportunity to thank the staff of the UN Secretariat for the assistance in preparing this meeting.
General Assembly resolution 67/96 of 14 December 2012 requests the Special Committee to continue its consideration of a number of proposals and issues.
With regard to the agenda item “Maintenance of international peace and security”, we continue to firmly believe that sanctions remain an important instrument, under the Charter, for the maintenance and restoration of international peace and security.
We recognize that the sanctions regimes adopted by the UN Security Council in recent years represent the shift from comprehensive to targeted sanctions and to this end continue to demonstrate that sanctions can be instituted in a targeted way to minimise their impact upon the well-being of the civilian population as well as upon third parties.
In this regard we note that the Secretary General in his report A/67/190 on the “Implementation of provisions of the Charter of the United Nations related to assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions” informs us that the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya had answered a total of 25 requests for guidance and that “in several of those requests, the Committee’s advice was sought on how to minimize the potential unintended consequences of the asset freeze in third states”. However, neither the General Assembly, nor the Economic and Social Council found it necessary in 2012 to take any action related to economic problems arising from sanctions affecting third States. The Secretariat also highlighted that no State had appealed to the UN for remedy and relief from economic problems relating to sanctions since 2003.
In the light of the findings of this report, we continue to hold the view that it is no longer relevant to study the question of assistance to third States affected by sanctions by the Special Committee. It should certainly not be a matter of priority for this Committee, as we do not see any concrete issues that would merit discussion. Likewise, we also note that other items identified in the report of last year’s session have been discussed for several years, but without any substantial progress or any likely agreement on concrete measures to be implemented.
More broadly, the European Union and its Member States continue to urge the implementation of the 2006 decision on reforming the working methods of the Special Committee, as also reflected by paragraph 3 (e) of resolution 67/96 of the General Assembly. This is indeed, as stipulated in this provision, a priority issue and we should work together to explore ways and means to achieve a better use of resources and of the meetings of the Committee. This could be done by reviewing all existing agenda items, looking into the usefulness of further discussing them, taking into account their continued relevance and the likelihood of reaching a consensus in the future, before examining proposals for new items, or by re-examining the duration of the sessions of the Committee. Besides, we would strongly suggest that the Committee takes precise and accurate decisions, and avoid referring in its draft recommendations to elements set out in previous reports or using cross-references to parts of reports that do not contain clear operational elements. Any recommendations of the Committee should in other words be drafted in such as way as to be self-contained and operational, for the sake of good order and clarity.
We reiterate our readiness to engage constructively in this process.
Finally Mr. Chair, regarding the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and Repertoire of Practice of the Security Council, we welcome the progress and the efforts undertaken by the Secretariat to reduce the backlog in the preparation of those two publications. We also express our gratitude to the States which have made voluntary contributions to the trust fund for the elimination of the backlog in the Repertory and encourage other Member States to do likewise.
I thank you, Mr Chair.
 Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia 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