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Highlights of Slovenia's activities in the United Nations Security Council in March 2024

Slovenia is concluding its third month in the Security Council. During the presidency of Japan, the month was marked by the adoption of a resolution on Gaza, showcasing the leading role of the 10 elected members in peace efforts. Japan organized open debates on the working methods of the UN Security Council and the role of women in conflict prevention.
UN Security Council Hall

UN Security Council Hall | Author Aiisha/Deposit Photos

After a month of negotiations among the Security Council members, the United States submitted its draft resolution on the situation in Gaza for consideration on March 22. It was not adopted due to negative votes from Russia, China, and Algeria. Therefore, March 25 became an even more important day. It marked the day when after 171 days of war in Gaza, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution proposed by the non-permanent members (E10). Ambassador Samuel Žbogar emphasized during the voting explanation that we hope this significant day will signify the end of the pain and suffering of the civilian population. The concise resolution sent the strongest message yet and served as a clear indication that the conflict must end. The E10 group demonstrated its consolidating power in the Security Council and its leading role in peace efforts. Slovenia emphasized the binding nature of UN Security Council resolutions and called for the speedy implementation of the adopted resolution, particularly for an immediate ceasefire, unconditional release of all hostages, and expedited assistance for life-saving efforts. 

The Security Council discussed the report of the Secretary General's Special Representative Patten on sexual violence in conflicts following visits to Israel and the West Bank. Slovenia condemned all forms of sexual violence as serious violations of human rights and expressed concern over the findings of the report, calling for investigations.

At Slovenia's request, a briefing was held on the conduct of Russian presidential elections in temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories. Slovenia condemned the attempt to legitimize the annexation of Ukrainian territories through elections, expressed hope for the launch of a peace process, and regretted Russia's failure to invite OSCE observers to its elections. At the request of France, Ecuador, and the United Kingdom, the Security Council held a discussion on Russian airstrikes in Odesa, one of which exploded near the convoy of President Zelensky and Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis on March 6. Slovenia called on the Security Council to take action regarding the war in Ukraine and condemned Russian attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Ambassador Samuel Žbogar in Security Council Discussion

Ambassador Samuel Žbogar | Author Organizacija združenih narodov

The UN Security Council held an open debate on promoting conflict prevention - strengthening all stakeholders, including women and youth. Women and youth bear the greatest burden in armed conflicts, so Slovenia advocated for their equal inclusion in all conflict prevention efforts. Conflict prevention should be the rule, not the exception, as people primarily desire peace, decent living conditions, and a secure future for their children. Slovenia will continue to tirelessly strive for peace, and the UN must act as a global peace mediator.

In a joint statement by the elected 10 members of the Security Council on working methods, Slovenia emphasized the ongoing efforts to make the Security Council more transparent, inclusive, representative, and effective for all, thereby contributing to the maintenance of peace and security.

Ambassador Samuel Žbogar highlighted the importance of the role of women in nuclear policy, disarmament, and non-proliferation during a ministerial meeting on disarmament and non-proliferation led by Japan. He emphasized that women are agents of change, and their inclusion in nuclear decision-making processes might enable us to achieve the long-awaited breakthrough in nuclear disarmament efforts.

In early March, the Security Council convened an open debate on the situation in Sudan. Slovenia strongly supported the Secretary-General's call for a ceasefire during Ramadan and urged all parties to commit to a cessation of hostilities. Under the agenda item "Protection of civilians in armed conflicts," the Security Council held a briefing on food shortages in Sudan. Slovenia, together with Guyana, Sierra Leone, and Switzerland, requested the meeting and emphasized the urgent need to alleviate the growing crisis due to food insecurity and ensure unhindered access for humanitarian assistance.

A resolution to extend the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for one year was adopted unanimously. Slovenia firmly supports the work and continued presence of UNAMA in Afghanistan and thus agreed with the adoption of the resolution. "The mandate of the UNAMA mission must remain broad - it should support Afghanistan and Afghans on their path to inclusive political transition towards an advanced and democratic future that will bring stability, prosperity, and lasting peace," said the deputy permanent representative in her voting explanation.

The Security Council held its regular annual debate on cooperation between the UN and the EU. HR/VP Borrell spoke on behalf of the EU, presenting cooperation through EU missions and operations, humanitarian assistance, financial contributions to the regular budget of the UN and specialized agencies and funds, focus on conflict prevention, and cooperation with the African Union. He devoted a significant part of his speech to Gaza and Ukraine, as well as other crises/conflicts (Sudan, Haiti, Somalia, Afghanistan, Myanmar).

Unfortunately, due to the Russian veto, the mandate of the panel of experts monitoring the implementation of Security Council resolution 1718, which established sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, was not extended.