Press Conference: Ambassador ISHIKANE Kimihiro, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for the month of January on the programme of work of the Security Council in January 2023
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Hybrid press briefing by Ambassador ISHIKANE Kimihiro, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for the month of January. 
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The Security Council’s programme for January features a ministerial-level open debate on the promotion and strengthening of the rule of law, as well as an open debate on investment in people to enhance resilience against complex challenges for peacebuilding and sustaining peace, its President for the month told a Headquarters press conference today.

Kimihiro Ishikane (Japan) said his country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs will chair an open debate on the rule of law on 12 January.  It will feature briefings by the Secretary-General, the President of the International Court of Justice and Professor Dapo Akande of the University of Oxford.  The objective is to reaffirm the meaning and role of the rule of law among nations and defend the Charter of the United Nations and the common understanding that the rules to which all Member States have agreed must be observed by all.

The open debate on peacebuilding and sustaining peace will be held on 26 January, he said, adding that the Deputy Secretary-General, the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission and a civil society representative are expected to brief.  The debate should foster a productive and inclusive dialogue to reinvigorate peacebuilding efforts by investing in people who are not only victims of challenge, but also agents of change, he said.

Noting an open debate as well on the Middle East and other mandated meetings on that region, Africa and the Americas, he drew attention to the vital cross-border humanitarian aid meetings on Syria.  Pointing to the 10 January expiration of the cross-border access, he said an adoption on that matter is scheduled on 9 January, voicing hope that the Council can agree on assisting the Syrian people who are in dire need.  An adoption on the mandate renewal on the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) is scheduled on 30 January, he added.

Throughout its presidency of the Council, Japan is committed to being open transparent, efficient and inclusive.  As such, it intends to bring as many diverse voices as possible to the table, while streamlining the women, peace and security agenda across all Council discussions, he said.

Responding to journalists’ questions about security in the Pacific region, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the developments in the South China Sea, he said that peace and security in the Pacific region will be discussed in the open debates on the rule of law and peacebuilding.

Asked about the situation regarding Israel and Palestine and the new Israeli Government which is already doing things that seem to breach Council resolutions, he said that, as Council President, he would like to conduct his presidency in a fair and effective manner.  Speaking in his national capacity, he added that Japan supports the two-State solution and that already adopted Council resolutions on the matter must be upheld.

Asked further about the comments of the Prime Minister of Israel, which seem to go against Council resolutions and the two-State solution, he pointed to the 15-member organ’s programme of work for January, noting that matters related to the Middle East will be discussed this month.

Asked about Syria and the danger that the cross-border mechanism will not be renewed, he said that, given the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country, the Council must adopt a resolution extending the current cross-border operations, adding that former Council members, such as Ireland and Norway, are working towards that end.

Asked further about Syria and the likelihood that the Russian Federation might allow an extension of the cross-border mechanism, he said he is determined that discussions under way will lead to adoption of the resolution as it is a matter of life and death for so many people.  Apart from political divergences, the Council must move ahead on the matter, he added.

Asked about whether Japan would like to see the Secretary-General get more involved in trying to push the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to resume talks, he said, speaking in his national capacity, that he would try to come up with a united voice from the Council on the matter.

On Afghanistan and announcements by the Taliban, including the ban on women from universities, he said the matter, although it does not appear in the Council’s programme of work, is one that will come up for the organ in due course.

Asked about whether the open debate on the rule of law is directed at the invasion of Ukraine, he said that it will include discussion of the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine.  On Kyiv’s proposal for a peace conference at the United Nations, he said that he had not yet heard about it, but will give it due consideration once it comes to his attention.

On the situation in Iran and the suppression of protestors, he said that, while not on the agenda, the concerns should be shared by Member States.  Japan is very much concerned about the situation in that country and tries to convey the same to its Iranian counterparts, he added.

On the prospects for Council reform, he said a change of course is needed, given the repetition of discussions year after year, and that discussions on the matter should be deepened within the framework of the intergovernmental negotiations.

Asked about the problem of “Africanization” of terrorism, he stressed the importance of institution-building, noting that stable and resilient institutions are needed to nurture people’s trust.

For the full programme of work, please see: www.un.org/securitycouncil/events/calendar.