I would also like to welcome the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. France naturally associates itself with the European Union’s vision and commitment in the service of an effective multilateralism in full cooperation with the Council, which she has just briefed us on.
I would like to emphasize three aspects of the European Union’s contribution to achieving the goals of the United Nations.
First, the European Union remains a unique model of cooperation and integration in the service of peace and security on the continent of Europe.
As Ms. Ashton explained, today the European Union is playing its part in the very heart of the continent, in the Balkans, where war once raged. It promotes bilateral dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo and offers them a prospect of integration within a larger geographic context. Kosovo’s period of supervised independence came to an end without incident on 10 September of last year. That is a success for the entire international community and one that the European Union can fully share in. The opening at the highest level of a new phase of political dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, under the auspices of the European Union, expands that effort. I also commend last week’s meeting in Brussels between the Serbian and Kosovar Presidents. This dialogue confirms the willingness of both parties to normalize relations in the context of their European rapprochement, which, we hope, will enable the two countries to turn the page on their conflicts.
The European Union also possesses the tools needed to act beyond the European continent in the service of the system of collective security of which the Council is the cornerstone. Exactly two years ago, the High Representative briefed the Council (see S/PV.6477) on the creation of the European External Action Service, an important milestone in the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty. Since then, these developments have helped to strengthen the European Union’s contribution to collective peace and security and thus to become a valuable partner for the United Nations. To give a few examples, as Ms. Ashton said, the African forces that make up the African-led International Support Mission in Mali, authorized by resolution 2085 (2012) in December, began their deployment in support of the Malian armed forces in restoring State security. Through the African peace facility, the European Union helps by contributing to paying their wages.
It also provides support in reshaping the Malian defence apparatus. The deployment, beginning in mid-March, of a European Union training mission is also part of the same goal of restoring Malian sovereignty. The mission, which is 500 people strong and includes 172 trainers, will also provide for the training in one year of four battalions of 650 Malian soldiers each. Its support in the quest for a political solution in Mali demonstrates the European Union’s global approach, according to which they have recently managed to release their economic aid to help restart the country’s development and thus lay the foundations for a sustainable peace.
Furthermore, on another topic, despite the ongoing stalemate in the Council, the European Union has made a firm commitment to a democratic transition in the Syrian Arab Republic. That is why it was swift to condemn the bloody oppression carried out by the Bashar Al-Assad regime and considers the Syrian national coalition as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people. It has shown, in this crisis, its willingness and ability to act. Starting in May 2011, the European Union deployed a wide array of individual, financial and trade sanctions against the regime. With over €400 million delivered in humanitarian assistance, the European Union and its member States have provided significant aid to ease the plight of the Syrian population, including refugees. The European Union has always supported the efforts of the Joint Special Representative to find a political solution to the conflict.
On the Iranian nuclear issue, the High Representative has been intervening as a facilitator in the dialogue with Tehran. We thank her for her intensive efforts and exemplary commitment, working alongside the E3+3 Governments, to keeping the door to dialogue open. A new meeting with Iran will take place in Almaty on 26 February. It will be an opportunity for Iran to make, without further delay, the goodwill gesture that the international community expects from it in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions and the resolutions of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors. As long as Iran does not comply with its obligations, we will fulfil our responsibilities and increase pressure in order to convince it to abandon its policy of isolation and provocation.
The European Union and its member States are fully committed to playing their role in that issue, setting up a very strong sanctions apparatus. We continue to believe that firmness is still the best guarantee for the achievement of a long-term diplomatic solution, which is the goal we all share.
Finally, the European Union provides support to the work of the Security Council on several crosscutting issues, showing thus that it is a major partner of the United Nations in defining prospects for progress in international affairs. It promotes the role of women in crisis exit strategies, as is the case in Afghanistan, through the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan, where a clear effort has been made to increase the number of female police officers.
With respect to the protection of children in armed conf lict, I thank the European Union for the ongoing support provided to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. I will conclude by recalling that the special role played by the European Union led two years ago to the adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 65/276. That resolution affirmed the role of the European Union as a partner, pillar and friend of the United Nations, not just as a regional organization but also as a pillar of a coherent and effective international system.
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