With India in its eighth two-year tenure as an elected-member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), following is the fifteenth analysis in the ICWA series of ‘India in the UN Security: Monthly Recap’ by Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji, Former Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations
The UAE presided over the UN Security Council (UNSC) in March 2022. Its priorities were the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda and cooperation between the Council and the League of Arab States.
The Council adopted four resolutions (UNSCRs) during the month: 2625 on South Sudan on 15 March, extending the mandate of the UNMISS peacekeeping operation till 13 March 2023; 2626 on Afghanistan on 17 March, extending the mandate of the UNAMA mission till 17 March 2023; 2627 on the DPR of Korea on 25 March, extending the mandate of the Panel of Experts looking into non-proliferation issues till 30 April 2023; and 2628 on Somalia on 31 March 2022, reconfiguring the existing AMISOM peacekeeping mission into the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).
Two Presidential Statements were adopted, viz., on 23 March on cooperation between the UNSC and the League of Arab States; and on 31 March on the UNSC and International Residual Mechanisms for Criminal Tribunals (such as the ICTY on the former Yugoslavia and the ICTR on Rwanda).
Four UNSC Press Statements were issued during March. These were on the terrorist attack in Peshawar (Pakistan) on 6 March; on the attack on the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA in Mali on 7 March; on recent terrorist attacks in Somalia on 24 March; and on the decision of the Taliban in Afghanistan to deny access to education for girls above the sixth grade on 27 March.
India participated actively in these UNSC outcomes. As an elected member of the UNSC from the Asia-Pacific region, India’s priorities during the month continued to focus on UNSC issues that impacted directly on its interests.
Afghanistan: In March, India faced the challenge of integrating its repeated calls for an inclusive government in Afghanistan into the UNSC’s process for reviewing the mandate of the UN Mission on Afghanistan (UNAMA). On 2 March, the Canadian diplomat Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said that humanitarian agencies had reached nearly 20 million people with assistance in “397 out of the country’s 401 districts”. However, economic and financial constraints were key challenges, and she recommended that it “will be impossible to truly assist the Afghan people without working with the de facto authorities”.
On 17 March, the UNSC adopted resolution 2626 (with Russia abstaining) to extend the mandate of the UNAMA in Afghanistan by one year. The resolution prioritized provision of humanitarian assistance and the delivery of basic human needs; providing outreach and good offices for dialogue between Afghan stakeholders and the international community; and promoting good governance and the rule of law. Russia abstained because the resolution did not seek the support from the de facto authorities in Afghanistan to help UNAMA achieve its mandate. China said that following the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021, Afghanistan had entered a new phase of peaceful reconstruction. Norway, which had initiated an outreach between the Taliban and “civil society” in January, asked Council members to engage with the Taliban. The UAE emphasized the importance of political access, allowing UNAMA to enter into a dialogue with the Taliban and convey international messages on the importance of sound governance, and pointed to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as an important partner for both Afghanistan and UNAMA in the cultural, religious and humanitarian arenas. The UK said engagement with the Taliban would depend on its ability to “demonstrate that extremist groups are no longer able to flourish in the country.” The UNSC resolution failed to transform UNAMA into a political transition mission to bring about an inclusive government. (This failure contrasted with the UNSC’s adoption in August 2003 of resolution 1500 creating the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) for the “formation of an internationally recognized, representative government” in war-torn Iraq.)
India remained silent during the adoption of UNSC resolution 2626. In earlier UNSC discussions on humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, India stressed the principles of neutrality, impartiality, and independence to guard against any possible diversion of funds and misuse of exemptions from sanctions. During the past month, India had committed to supply 50,000 MT of wheat (2500 MT through the World Food Programme), delivered 500,000 doses of COVID vaccines, 13 tons of essential lifesaving medicines, as well as winter clothing, through WHO and Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital in Kabul. India reminded the Council that under resolution 2593 on Afghanistan adopted during India’s Presidency in August 2021, the objectives remained the formation of a truly inclusive and representative government; combating terrorism and drug trafficking; and, preserving the rights of women, children and minorities. These were necessary for both domestic and international engagement.
Yemen: Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen told the UNSC on 15 March that through “the ebbs and flows of the conflict, the fact remains that a military approach is not going to produce a sustainable solution,” pointing out that years of fighting have destroyed Yemen’s institutions, economy, social fabric and environment. He hoped that the parties to the conflict would agree to a ceasefire during Ramadan. The UN Humanitarian Coordinator Martin Griffiths said that aid agencies were seeking nearly $4.3 billion to help more than 17 million people in Yemen in 2022.
India strongly condemned the cross-border terror attacks from Yemen using missiles and drones into the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia that resulted in the death and injury of innocent civilians, including Indian nationals. India called upon all parties involved in Yemen to move from the battlefield to the negotiating table by supporting the Special Envoy’s efforts. In line with Council’s recent Resolution 2624, India emphasized the need for sustained and focused diplomacy to bring political discussions back on track.
Palestine: UN Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland presented the twenty-first report covering 10 December 2021 to 18 March 2022 on UNSC resolution 2334 (2016), to the UNSC on 22 March. He said that “Israel’s settlement expansion continues to fuel violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, further entrenching the occupation and undermining the right of Palestinians to self-determination and independent statehood.” He reiterated that member-states must implement the vision of an end to occupation and for two States — Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, viable and sovereign Palestinian State — living side-by-side in peace and security, within secure and recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, with Jerusalem as the shared capital of both States. The United States deplored continuing attacks by Israeli settlers on ordinary Palestinians, urging the authorities to condemn them and hold perpetrators to justice. France called for a permanent halt to demolitions and evictions, particularly in East Jerusalem, as well as strict adherence to the status quo of holy places, the proportionate use of force by Israeli forces and the end of colonial expansion. Russia said the situation was being further exacerbated by Israel’s unilateral actions, and Russia would pursue peace within the context of the Middle East Quartet, which should meet soon in an expanded format that included states from across the region. China expressed concern over the expanding Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and cautioned that while the conflict in Europe was currently dominating headlines, the situation in the Middle East remained equally important and must be treated as such.
India called upon “parties” to refrain from any unilateral action that unduly altered the status-quo on the ground and undercut the viability of the two-State solution. India called for direct peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine based on the internationally agreed framework, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for Statehood and Israel’s legitimate security concerns. India felt that the UN and the international community, in particular the Middle East Quartet, must prioritize the revival of these negotiations.
Syria: UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen briefed the UNSC on 24 March on the ongoing work of the committee drafting a new Syrian constitution, though public trust and confidence in the process was “sorely lacking among the Syrians at present”. He welcomed the engagement of the League of Arab States, while outlining his own recent meetings with officials in Geneva, United States and Turkey. About 14.6 million people required humanitarian aid in Syria, with about $ 1.1 billion — or 26 per cent of the overall request for humanitarian aid to Syria — needed to support about 570 early recovery and resilience projects aimed at improving education, health and mine-clearance. One third of Syrian households received less than two hours of electricity a day. Russia supported an integrated approach for a political settlement and accused the United States of transferring Da’esh and other extremists from east of the Euphrates “to other hot spots where it is beneficial” to the United States. The United States said it would not normalize its relations with the Assad regime. France said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was guilty of war crimes and should not be rehabilitated internationally. China said that the situation in Syria did not justify the imposition of unilateral coercive sanctions, and called for their lifting. The UK said it was opposed to engagement with Syria President Bashar al-Assad in the absence of behavioural change.
India supported efforts of the three sides in the meetings of the Constitutional committee to come to a preliminary understanding on the four principles, i.e., basics of governance, state identity, state symbols, and regulation and functions of public authorities. India called for regional efforts to find a long-term solution to the conflict, calling the progressive normalization of Syria’s relations with its Arab neighbours in the recent months a positive development. Violence in northwest and northeast Syria was a cause for concern, India said, and foreign forces should be withdrawn. Underscoring that UN designated terrorist groups such as ISIL and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham were gaining in strength not just in Syria, but in Iraq as well, India reiterated that the global fight against terrorism could not and should not be compromised for narrow political gains.
DPRK: On 25 March the UNSC unanimously adopted resolution 2627 to extend the mandate of its expert panel overseeing sanctions against DPR Korea till 30 April 2023. The UN Secretariat termed “a breach of multiple resolutions” the DPRK’s launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles on 27 February and 5 March. The United States, China and Russia raised the manner in which the expert panel’s report was being leaked before submission to the Council. United States said it would introduce a draft resolution under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations to update and strengthen that sanctions regime. China and Russia announced their plan to table a resolution with the aim of easing the humanitarian plight and creating an atmosphere for dialogue without “turning the sanctions screw”.
India deplored the launch of an ICBM by the DPRK, in violation of the resolutions of the UN Security Council relating to the DPRK and contravening the DPRK’s own self-declared moratorium. The Council must address the proliferation of nuclear and missile technologies related to DPRK in India’s region, which had an adverse impact on peace and security in the region, including on India. At the same time, India supported humanitarian support, and had granted humanitarian assistance of US$ 1 million for the people of DPRK in the form of anti-tuberculosis medicines, routed through the WHO.
South Sudan: Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) told the UNSC on 7 March that there were several unfulfilled commitments during the remaining 12 months of the transitional period. Key outstanding issues included a supportive political and civic space, a secure environment, and technical and logistical requirements with an agreed timetable for a free and fair electoral process to bring the transitional period to a close. The process of drafting a new constitution for the country remained stalled, the actual graduation of unified forces had yet to commence, with no agreement on the command structure, many marginalized youths had joined tribal militias, while the government of South Sudan had yet to indicate the role that UNMISS would play, and when the elections would be held. The United States said South Sudan’s Government needed to implement key provisions of the 2018 peace agreement to work towards democracy, including a public constitution drafting process, and to stabilize the legal and institutional framework required to conduct free and fair elections. Russia said it supported peace implementation and capacity building for resolving local conflicts by the South Sudan Government, instead of focusing on human rights. China prioritized mediation and development to resolve sectarian conflicts.
India welcomed the positive developments on the ground since the Revitalized Peace Agreement was signed two years ago in South Sudan. There was need to expedite the implementation of the Agreement, particularly on the Necessary Unified Forces, while addressing legislative issues concerning election preparations. Transitional security arrangements remained critical for the electoral process. An early resumption of the Rome mediation by the Sant’ Egidio Community with the non-signatories was needed. Improved communication between UNMISS and the Government had promoted accountability and mitigated inter-communal tensions. The UN Secretary General’s next report should update steps taken to bring perpetrators of crimes against peacekeepers to justice. The Level-II Plus hospital in Juba and Level-II hospital in Malakal operated by units from India’s 2300-troop UNMISS contingent had been functioning at full capacity.
The UNSC adopted resolution 2625 on 15 March to extend the mandate of UNMISS by one year, with China and Russia abstaining. The four key tasks of UNMISS were protection of civilians; creation of conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance; support for implementation of the Revitalised Agreement and the Peace Process; and monitoring, investigating and reporting on violations of international humanitarian law, as well as abuses of human rights. China objected to the term “human rights defenders” and references to climate change introduced by the United States. Russia objected to the inclusion of women and human rights in the mandate, saying that UNMISS lacked resources to perform these functions. Ghana regretted the use of the words “human rights defenders” in the resolution, while India regretted the UNSC’s attempt to “securitize” climate change issues, which should be raised in the UNFCCC.
Sudan: On 28 March, Volker Perthes, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), warned: “Unless the current trajectory is corrected, Sudan will head towards economic and security collapse, as well as significant humanitarian suffering.” The United Nations, the African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) had agreed on joint efforts to support Sudan through the next phase of the political process. The United States said it would use the tools at its disposal to stop violence, including in Darfur, press for restoration of the democratic transition, and ensure sustained and unhindered humanitarian access to all conflict-affected and displaced populations. France said the immediate priority was to re-establish a democratic transition. Russia welcomed the military’s stated intention to hold general elections in June 2023, and called on all Sudanese parties to be guided by national interests and refrain from taking steps that could lead to new clashes. China said Sudan was moving in the right direction, and sanctions against Sudan should be lifted as soon as possible, with benchmarks for lifting sanctions identified by 31 August as set out in the relevant Council resolution.
India said that mutual trust and understanding among the Sudanese stakeholders, especially the military and civilian political forces, are key to address the current impasse. India welcomed efforts by the UN, AU and IGAD to facilitate this process. Expressing concern at the deteriorating economic and security situation, India called on UNITAMS to assist the political transition and peacebuilding efforts. India supported Sudan’s four priorities of enhancing political dialogue; establishing a government; making constitutional amendments; and holding free and fair elections at the end of the transition period.
Libya: UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo informed the UNSC on 16 March that Libya was facing a crisis that could spark instability and lead to the formation of parallel Governments if left unresolved. She said the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser was holding consultations with a broad cross section of Libya’s political and security actors and civil society. The UN aimed to convene a joint committee of members from the House of Representatives and the High State Council to reach agreement on a constitutional basis for the holding of elections in 2022. The United States supported the consultations of the UNSG’s Special Adviser, and said the destabilizing role of Russia’s Wagner forces had taken on a dangerous regional dimension. Russia prioritized the holding of the postponed elections, especially to prevent a resurgence of armed conflict, and a synchronized, balanced, steady, phased withdrawal of all non-Libyan armed units. China supported an early political settlement, and withdrawal of foreign fighters.
India called for holding Presidential and Parliamentary elections at the earliest, and stressed the need for full and complete withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries. It called on the Council to uproot ISIL terrorist groups and affiliated entities operating in Libya and threatening the wider African region.
DRC: Bintou Keita, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) informed the UNSC on 29 March that despite the efforts of the armed forces of the DRC and Uganda, the security situation in the east had deteriorated, due to a spiral of violent retaliations by groups in South Kivu. France wanted operations to counter armed and criminal groups to be reinforced. Russia called for greater coordination between UN peacekeepers and the Congolese security forces, particularly to increase capacity building. The United States called for strengthening MONUSCO to counter armed groups, and to prevent the illegal trafficking of natural resources.
India said the primary responsibility to protect civilians rested with the Government of the DRC. The potential spread of terrorism to the Central African region needed to be taken seriously. India supported the steps taken by the government of the DRC to hold elections, and to widen regional cooperation with its neighbours. India viewed the regional framework as the key architecture to usher in and safeguard lasting peace and stability in the region.
Somalia: The UNSC unanimously adopted resolution 2628 on 31 March relating to facilitating the electoral process and assuming responsibility for national security by the Government of Somalia; the need to counter al-Shabaab terrorists; the reconfiguration of AMISOM into the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS); the role of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS); requests for international financial support; and reporting requirements for the Government of Somalia and the African Union. The United States highlighted the significance of the UNSC unanimously agreeing to “shape the transition of a mission” by creating ATMIS. China underscored that the sacrifices made by African Union troops had during the past 15 years had enabled the transition of the mission. Somalia regretted that its suggestions on the modalities of the new Mission — regarding planned logistical support, the need for unified and centralized command and control and the exclusion of the agreed enhanced civilian component — had been disregarded by the UK, which drafted the resolution.
India recalled its significant involvement in UNOSOM-II during 1993-94 that restored the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping in Somalia. The creation of ATMIS was in line with the proposal submitted to the Security Council on 7 March 2022 by the Secretary-General, and produced jointly with the African Union, in consultation with stakeholders. The activities of al-Shabaab needed to be countered vigorously. India took exception to the resolution’s references to climate change issues, which were already being dealt with under the principles of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The UNSC met six times during March to discuss the conflict in Ukraine. Each meeting was marked by sharp polemical exchanges primarily between the P3 (France, UK and USA), Ireland and Norway on one side, and Russia on the other.
On 4 March the Council discussed in an emergency session convened by major Western powers events unfolding in and around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station, the largest nuclear power station in Europe, as well as in Ukraine more broadly.
India stressed the need to maintain the safety and security of nuclear facilities and called on the IAEA to discharge its safeguard and monitoring activities. It called for dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the crisis including its humanitarian dimension.
On 7 March the Council considered the worsening humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, with millions of refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries.
India mourned the death of an Indian national among the increasing number of dead civilians in Ukraine due to the conflict, and called for an immediate ceasefire and the need for both parties to return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy. India announced its contribution to humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
On 11 March, Russia called a meeting of the Council to look at documents that alleged Ukraine — with United States support — operated a network of at least 30 biological laboratories, at which dangerous experiments using synthetic biology were being conducted to strengthen the pathogenic qualities of the plague, anthrax, cholera and other lethal diseases. The UN High Representative for Disarmament Japan’s Izumi Nakamitsu told the Council that the UN had no knowledge of biological weapons in Ukraine. The United States said there were no Ukrainian biological weapons laboratories supported by the United States.
India said that matters relating to obligations under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) should be addressed according to the provisions of the Convention, and through consultation and cooperation between the parties concerned.
On 17 March Rosemary DiCarlo, UN Under-Secretary General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, the DG of the WHO Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, and a representative of the UNHCR, briefed the Council on the latest developments in Ukraine. The UNHCR confirmed that the number of people fleeing Ukraine into neighbouring countries had risen from 520,000 to over 3.1 million, one of the fastest-growing refugee crises in Europe since the Second World War.
India reiterated its call for cessation of hostilities and the use of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. India supported the initiatives of UN, and its agencies, who had mobilized whatever was possible in the shortest possible timeframe. Since 1 March, India had sent over 90 tonnes of humanitarian supplies to Ukraine and its neighbours, as part of nine separate tranches of humanitarian assistance. In the process of evacuating 22,500 Indian nationals from the conflict in Ukraine, India had also assisted nationals of 18 other countries.
On 23 March, the UNSC failed to adopt a draft resolution moved by Russia calling for civilians to be fully protected, for all parties to ensure respect for and protection of all medical and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in their medical duties; respect for international law in connection with objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population; and to allow safe and unhindered passage to destinations outside Ukraine, including for foreign nationals, without discrimination. The Western powers rejected the draft as an attempt by Russia to politicize the humanitarian crisis it had precipitated.
India abstained on the draft resolution along with 13 other Council members. China supported Russia.
On 29 March the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator informed the Council that the Ukraine Conflict had contributed to rising prices of food, fuel and fertilizer globally. The World Food Programme said that Ukraine and the Russian Federation account for 30 per cent of the global wheat supply, 20 per cent of the corn supply and 70 to 80 per cent of the sunflower-oil supply. Yemen, Egypt and Lebanon depended on Ukrainian grain. China expressed concern over the impact of sweeping sanctions being felt in developing countries, which were not party to the conflict. Such sanctions negatively affected global food security.
India acknowledged the impact of the conflict on the global supply chains, and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the use of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the conflict.
Women, Peace, and Security (WPS): Sima Bahous, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) addressed the UNSC Open Debate on 8 March, which was chaired by Mariam Al Mheiri, UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment. She said that equal economic empowerment between the sexes would yield huge dividends for peacebuilding efforts, but this needed political will. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said women disproportionately carry the burdens of war, said reducing gender inequality in fragile or conflict situations can have powerful economic consequences.
India highlighted how its development narrative had witnessed a transformational change: from promoting women’s development to entirely women-led development, and from exclusively government-led to a multi-stakeholder inclusive governance model. Leveraging digital technologies had minimized the gender divide by providing greater access for women to finance, credit, technology and employment, supported by equal access to education. India supported mainstreaming of WPS considerations for building inclusive, peaceful and resilient societies.
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD): Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez (Mexico), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), briefed the UNSC on 14 March that resolution 1540 was a vital component of the global non-proliferation architecture to prevent non-State actors, including terrorists, from gaining access to WMD. He emphasized the importance of the comprehensive review launched in 2021 to examine how member-states had implemented the resolution. 185 member-states had submitted their first reports, while 35 voluntary National Implementation Action Plans had been shared so far.
India reaffirmed its commitment to global efforts against the proliferation of WMD and their delivery systems. Priority should be put on terrorists acquiring WMD. Since 2002, India had been tabling UNGA resolutions on this topic which had always been adopted by consensus. India had regularly submitted national reports on implementing resolution 1540 to the committee, which included India’s national multi-stakeholder consultations for implementing the resolution. India advocated the early fulfilment of the work mandated to the committee so that a comprehensive review could be adopted.
Counter Terrorism & Internet: On 24 March, India chaired the first open meeting of the Counter Terrorism Committee on “Countering terrorist narratives and preventing the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes” since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. India recalled that Security Council resolution 2354 (2017) had welcomed the “Comprehensive International Framework to Counter Terrorist Narratives” that made clear that “States and others must enter fully into the ‘marketplace of ideas’ to emphasize terrorists’ inhumanity, expose the flaws in their arguments and offer alternative points of view.” A comprehensive, multi-stakeholder approach to counter terrorism and terrorist narratives was through online and offline means. Security Council resolution 2617 of December 2021 stressed the need to counter the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, including by counterterrorist narratives and technological solutions, and explicitly referenced the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (“GIF-CT”) and the CTED-affiliated public-private partnership Tech Against Terrorism.
OSCE: Zbigniew Rau, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland and the current Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE addressed the UNSC on 14 March. He emphasized that the OSCE, though not a treaty-based organization, had a moral obligation to support the people of Ukraine and not to stand silent in the face of the ongoing Russian aggression against them. Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, spotlighted the growing partnership between the United Nations and OSCE since the establishment of the Framework for Cooperation and Coordination in 1993. Pursuant to Council resolution 2202 (2015) on the Minsk agreements, the United Nations had consistently supported the work of OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, as well as its role in the Trilateral Contact Group, which also included Ukraine and the Russian Federation. The United States, UK, and France endorsed the Chairman of the OSCE’s views, while Russia said the OSCE must employ “status-neutral approaches” and embrace the role of an honest broker, which Poland was not doing. The OSCE had prevented Ukraine from implementing the Minsk agreements — especially provisions on Donetsk and Luhansk — and ignored incidents of nationalism, neo-Nazism and aggression against Russian-speaking populations. China said that the final solution to the crisis in Ukraine would be to respect the reasonable security concerns of all States and form a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture.
India was of the view that bilateral and regional agreements negotiated between the parties provided a good basis for lasting and peaceful resolution of disputes. The OSCE’s Structured Dialogue (SD) mechanism anchored in the guiding principles of transparency, collective ownership, inclusiveness and respect for diverging views was aimed at re-building trust in multilateralism amid renewed geopolitical rivalry in the OSCE area. Challenges confronting the OSCE community included threats to peace from ethnic tensions and violent separatism within States. The contributions of the OSCE to global counterterrorism efforts was appreciated by India. On the Ukraine conflict, India called for direct contacts and negotiations with a view to cease hostilities, respecting the UN Charter, international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.
League of Arab States (LAS)/UN: Khalifa Shaheen Almarar, Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates chaired the UNSC meeting on 23 March on cooperation between the United Nations and the LAS in a range of critical areas on the UNSC agenda, including the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Somalia. He proposed a United Nations Liaison Office at the LAS be strengthened and empowered with a focus on capacity-building and experience‑sharing, as well as trilateral cooperation among the LAS, UN and the African Union. A Presidential Statement was adopted at the meeting, which was addressed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The UNSG said the need for solutions to crises across the Middle East and North Africa had become all the more acute against the profound ramifications of the war in Ukraine. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the LAS, said a prompt and peaceful outcome to the crisis in Ukraine would avert “disastrous consequences” for the economies of developing countries, voicing concern that the Arab world “will be overlooked or forgotten”.
India, represented by Foreign Secretary Harsh V. Shringla, recalled that India and the LAS had signed an MOU two decades ago for institutionalizing a regular dialogue process to forge a partnership for the future. He suggested four points to carry forward the discussions at the meeting. These were (i) greater policy synergy between the two organizations on peace initiatives in the region to contribute towards achieving common solutions and meaningful outcomes; (ii) comprehensive coordination at the field level, especially through regular coordination between the UN Special Envoys and Special Representatives and the LAS; (iii) engagement with the LAS and its members in post-conflict peace building through reconstruction and economic development; and (iv) ensuring the stability of the countries in the region, with the welfare of the people, especially women and minorities, at the forefront. The UN and the LAS should prioritize support for the Middle East Peace Process in line with the two-State solution.
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