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UN Security Council Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East

UN Security Council Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East

UNSC 7/27

The Situation in the Middle East

By Laura Agosto

On July 27th, the UNSC gathered receiving briefings from Mr. Mark Lowock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, and Ms. Virginia Gamba, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. After receiving these briefings on the ongoing conflicts in Syria, member-states discussed the situation in Syria.

Opening Statements

Mr. Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator discussed the humanitarian situation in Syria. He described that while the UN had reached tens of thousands of people across south-western Syria, an estimated 110,000 newly displaced people remain in the Quenitra Governorate.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Virginia Gamba or Argentina as his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict at the level of Under-Secretary-General. Ms. Gamba came before the UNSC and reported that more than 7000 children were lost or were maimed since the Syrian crisis began in 2011. She reported that 1200 violations were verified in 2018 alone, showing a significant increase in previous reporting period.

Statements from Permanent UNSC Members

United States

United States noted the “surrender-or-starve” campaign being undertaken by the Syrian government as a means to weaponized aid while further endangering the lives of the Syrian people. The United States stated its willingness to counter the Syrain government’s tactics and facilitate humanitarian aid in places like Rukban. He also condemned the terrorist attacks carried out by Daesh, and called upon the Russian Federation, in particular, to carry out its commitments in the southern de-escalation zone.

United Kingdom                

Uk joined the US in condemning terrorist attacks carried out by Daesh on July 25th. The UK called for assurances to guarantee safe access to humanitarian partners. The UK further argued that there should be ensured access to UN priority accesses, reaffirming the notion that humanitarian workers must be protected and allowed to provide services.


France condemned President Bashar al-Assad’s public announcement threatening an offensive movement in Syria, emphasizing the destabilizing risks that would entail for the region. France stressed the conditions for the safe and voluntary return of refugees have not yet been met. France briefed other UNSC members on a joint humanitarian efforts spearheaded by the Presidents of France and the Russian Federation to deliver medical goods and basic necessities to Syria.


Russian Federation

The Russian Federation emphasized Syrian sovereignty as being the key to stability the region in and the means to which humanitarian relief can most broadly be made available to the Syrian people. Russia called upon member states to lift economic sanctions against the Syrian Arab Republic, arguing these sanctions hurt the civilians that humanitarian groups were trying to aide.

The Russian Federation also dismissed critiques made by other UNSC members and forcefully defended humanitarian efforts made by itself and the Syrian Arab Republic. Russia then addressed the controversial Law #10, arguing that the insinuations being made against the Syrian government were unfounded. The Russian Federation concluded with the notion that Syrian reintegration into international economic and political systems will help end the conflict.


China stated that reconstruction of Syrian infrastructure was a top priority. China was in support of helping regional powers to deal with the refugee crisis. The People’s Republic of China urged fellow UNSC members to put more resources into helping displaced peoples and refugees return to their homes. Finally, China cited its own recent efforts to provide aid towards Syrians through providing $91 million towards humanitarian relief efforts.

Statements from Other UNSC Members


The Netherlands called for assurances so that humanitarian workers would be protected. They emphasized that humanitarian services be made available, and that the international community must cooperate to make those services available.

Sweden addressed mental health issues facing displaced Syrian children by calling to attention the high level of children suffering from PTSD due to exposure to violence, forced participation in the conflict, and sexual assault.

Poland noted military logic as the source of continued, widespread violence and violation of international law. Poland called for the end of violence in Syria’s south-west region. He condemned the continuing violence and called for member-states to reaffirm their commitment to a humanitarian solution.

Latin American and Caribbean Group

Peru stressed the safe and voluntary return of Syrian citizens as swiftly as possible. It noted the restrictions placed upon the humanitarian relief systems and called upon all parties to work together to make the jobs of humanitarian aid workers easier to do.

Bolivia cited egregious figures that contextualized the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria – 13.1 million Syrians require humanitarian assistance, where 5.3 million are children. 6.1 million people are internally displaced, where 2.6 million are children. Bolivia called upon the Syrian government in particular to do more to protect the Syrian people.

Central Asia Group

Kazakhstan called for a holistic and comprehensive response to the crisis by member states and stated its support for political negotiations among all participants in the conflict.

Middle East

Kuwait expressed its great concern with the military escalation in south-west Syria. It expressed concerns over difficulties other member-states have faced in delivering humanitarian aid, and called upon other member-states to do their part to facilitate peaceful delivery of humanitarian aid.

African States

Cote d’Ivoire condemned ongoing violence in Syria and welcomed the cessation-of-hostilities agreement between the Government and armed groups. Cote d’Ivoire further stressed the return of Syrians in accordance to international law, and welcome efforts in a political solution for ending the conflict.

Equatorial New Guinea condemned continued military operations in Syria, arguing that they have resulted in unnecessary deaths and lack of security in Syria. Equatorial New Guinea called upon parties to the conflict to assume a greater level of commitment to the protection of children, and commended joint Franco-Russian cooperation in the region.

Ethiopia reiterated calls to end persisting violence in Syria, and urged for a negotiated-settlement to end the conflict and its disproportionate effect on Syrian children.

Statements from Other Parties

Syrian Arab Republic

The Syrian Arab Republic countered criticism from other delegates by noting that military operations against armed terrorist groups in besieged or hard-to-reach areas have alleviated civilian suffering and delivering of humanitarian aid. Syria stated that harsh economic sanctions imposed by other countries in fact worsened the already unimaginable hardships facing the Syrian people. Syria called upon the UN to adopt a more objective approach to Syria and recognize the work being done by the Government to reclaim its territory and aid its people.

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UNSC Meeting on Palestine and Israel

UNSC: Meeting on the Situation in Palestine


By Lizzie McGowan

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process

Nickolay E. Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East process, regretted that the security dynamics in Israel and Syria have continued to deteriorate. To make matters worse, the tensions in the Gaza strip have reached a boiling point.  The demolition of Palestinian holy sites and structures have increased tensions because Israel has used it as a way to work around the temporary halt of establishing illegal Jewish settlements.

Put simply, the situation has taken a deadly turn for the worse. Violence around the border fence continues as Palestinians attempt to penetrate it. In addition, they are sending molotov cocktail kites to destroy the Israeli agricultural land.

The international community has put forth various economic initiatives to help Palestine. However, these efforts will be futile, if we cannot establish stability. To do this, we must work towards reconciliation. As previously mentioned, Israel continues to demolish Palestinian structures. This activity undermines the contiguity of a Palestinian state by breaking its territory into fragments, which would make a two state solution impossible.

If a permanent peace agreement were to be realized, Israel must cease operations that run contrary to international law.

Palestinians deserve to live their life in dignity and Israelis deserve to live their lives in peace without fear of rock launches and terrorist attacks.


Ambassador Riyad Mansour of Palestine cited the constitutions of France and the US, which underscore that all men are created equal. With this ideal enshrined in their constitutions it is ironic that they do not stand up to the human rights abuses faced by the Palestinian people.

As Israel continues its unlawful occupation, the Palestinians continue to suffer from military aggressions and the sea blockade. Unfortunately, the illegal Israeli settlements continue to diplace and terrorize the Palestinian people.

One generation after the other, they continue to be face with the same humanitarian violations and denial of determining their own destinies.

Recently, the advent of the new "Jewish Nation-State Law" is another display of Israel’s blatant and systematic racism. Quite frankly, this is another form of apartheid meant to make Palestinians, who are living in Israel, feel unwelcomed.

To back up his claims of racism, Ambassador Mansour made a striking comparison of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the treatment of African Americans in the southern US. The Palestinians are faced with a nuanced form of Jim Crow laws.  Amb. Mansour lauded his allies, who were also previously occupied by foreign powers, in the meeting and emphasized that they are connected by shared experiences of occupation and trauma.


Ambassador Danny Danon cited the humanitarian efforts of the Israeli government in aiding the Palestinians. He asserted that contrary to the inaccurate propaganda spread among the member states of the UN, Israel cares about the well-being of the Palestinian people. However, Israel “draws the line”, when it comes to terrorism. Consequently, he proclaimed that Istael  will in no way aid or abet Hamas terrorists with humanitarian aid.

He further explained that the international community's actions against Israel must cease. Recently, an IDF soldier was killed by a Hamas terrorist. As a result, Israel will not negotiate any deal that infringes upon its ability to defend itself.  

The ambassador further claimed the lies and embellishments of other speeches in the council were designed to make Israel look like the villains in conflict. He also expressed his confusion about why council insisted on not working with Israel, let alone sit next to an Israeli delegate in the council. The diatribe ended with his assertion hat “Israeli bashing” does not serve the interests of the Palestinian people.

United States

Ambassador Nikki Haley contended that 7,500 acres of land in Israel have been destroyed by Hamas. The recent violent events were provoked by Hamas and Israel is rightly defending its people. She noted that "Talk is cheap" especially among some of their Arab partners.

She also explained that if the Arab countries really supported the Palestinians, then they would have provided sufficient humanitarian aid to them.  Furthermore, she mentioned that if you were to judge a state by its rhetoric, then would think the US did not care about the Palestinian people. However, as of July 2018, the US has donated 6 billion dollars in the form of humanitarian aid relief.


United Kingdom

Ambassador Pierce began her statement by commemorating the troubling recent death of an IDF soldier. She urged both parties to work together to find peace and work towards a two-state solution with Jerusalem as the shared capital.

In addition, she explained that Hamas must stop sending "burning kites and rockets" into Israel, and Israel must stop their demolitions and humanitarian abuses.  Hamas’ actions must cease in order to reach a peaceful two-state solution.

She further mentioned that Israeli construction in the East 1 zone,  an area of the West Bank within the municipal boundary of the Israeli settlement,  is an aversion to the two-state solution.

Coupled with violence, provocation, and the displacement of peoples by Israel, the road to peace will be a difficult one.

The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden

H.E. Mr. Karel J.G. van Oosterom raised a sharp rhetorical question, "Are the Jews the only ones entitled to a sovereign state?" He answered his question by stressing the importance of Palestine being free to determine its destiny and independence. He further called upon all states to support a two-state solution. The representatives of France and Peru shared similar views.

The Ambassador of Poland expressed his concerns over reoccurring rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel as well as relentless shelling from Israel. Furthermore, the Ambassador specified that Poland’s main goal is to achieve the peace process.

Ambassador Olaf Skog of Sweden reaffirmed Nikolay E. Mlandenov’s report by acknowledging the situation between the Palestinians and Israelis has deteriorated. Unfortunately, the many calls for peace have either fallen on deaf ears or have gotten derailed by a provocative action from either side. In this vein, expressed he concern over the use of disproportionate force from Israel. Put simply, this kind of warfare is not acceptable.

Following these points, he pointed out that globally women are too often left out of the peace process. This is evident in Palestinian and Israeli conflict. He pledge that Sweden would continue to work to involve Palestinian women and  show young people that violence is not the way.


Côte d'Ivoire and Morocco

Ambassador Bernard Tanoh-Boutchoue  of Côte d'Ivoire called on all stakeholders involved to use restraint. The dire situation in Gaza is exacerbated by the blockade and depressed economy. A two-state solution is the only way to resolve the issue.

Additionally, Ambassador Omar Hilale of Morocco, proclaimed that Israel has used excessive force against civilians. Further, its acts of provocation do not bring about peace and complicate hopes for a two state solution.

Bolivia and Brazil

Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorenti Soliz of the Bolivia citied the July 22nd UN report issued, which states that fuel supply in Palestine is set to run out by August. He further specified that action must be taken to prevent a deteriorating humanitarian situation from getting worse. He also expressed the international community's failure, in particular, the UNSC’s failure, has significantly contributed to deterioration in the peace process.  

Ambassador Mauro Vieira of Brazil voiced his concern over the status of Jerusalem, illegal demolitions, and Israeli aggression. Like his counterparts, Brazil is also concerned about the worsening situation in Syria.

Middle East

Saudi Arabia

Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi proclaimed that the dream of Palestinians was to be free. Further, Israel proves time and time again they are above the law and are virtually champions of impunity. The new Nation-State law reinforces the inhumane actions and racism against the Palestinian people.

Ambassador Al-Mouallimi further addressed the violence by the Houthi’s  in Yemen and that Iran must stop their provocative actions. Iran's rockets in Yemen only worsen the conflict and endanger the lives of innocent Yemenis. Further, he argued that Iran is responsible for destabilization in the region and its desire is only to spread their extremist ideology.


Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam

Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani of Indonesia noted the failures of recent UNSC resolutions on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Djani emphasized the will of the majority rules on paper, but no significant action has taken place to aid the Palestinians.

Additionally, Ambassador Datuk Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob of Malaysia mentioned the international community must hold Israel accountable for its inhumane actions. He hopes to see Israel and Palestine peacefully co-existing with a two state solution.

Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga of Vietnam mirrored his regional colleagues in the council. He also reaffirmed his support for Palestine and expressed his desire for Israel and Palestine to work towards re-establishing the pre-1967 borders.

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Situation in Cyprus

UNSC 7/26

The Situation in Cyprus

UNFICYP Mandate Renewal

By: Patrick Liu

Background Info:


Resolution Link:



  • Resolution S/2018/737 submitted by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


    1. Vote on the Draft Resolution
      1. Unanimous 15 Votes in favor
    2. Draft Resolution 2430/2018 is adopted
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The Situation in Colombia and UNFICYP Mandate Renewal

UNSC 7/26

The Situation in Colombia

UNFICYP Mandate Renewal

By: Patrick Liu


More information:



  • Important Briefings


    1. Jean Arnault - SRSG and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia

SRSG Arnault commended the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, for his excellent leadership in the Colombian peace process during his term. Arnault additionally recognized all the parties involved in the ongoing process, and noted that the Colombian peace process “may finally be close to the right balance”. Arnault hoped that the successful Colombian initiative would be an inspiration for future UN missions.

2. Óscar Naranjo - Vice-President of Colombia

Vice President Naranjo sincerely thanked the UNSC and all member-states involved in the Colombian peace process for their ongoing and encouraging support. As his last briefing to the UNSC under his term as vice president, Naranjo stressed the absolute importance of the work being done at the UN as it had been essential to stabilizing Colombia and building peace. Vice-president Naranjo concluded by underscoring the need to care for peace in Colombia and across the world in an ethical conviction to end violence.


  • Statements from Important Regional Members


    1. Peru

Peru acknowledged the efforts that have led to success in Colombia, but highlighted many ongoing security threats from organized crime and drug trafficking. Peru advised a focus on root causes to promote alternative sustainable development. In reintegration, Peru noted the need for a “new social fabric” in order to promote boost Colombian private sector. Despite the challenges ahead, Peru again recognized the dedicated efforts of the Colombian peace process, and urged ongoing engagement in Colombia.

              2. Bolivia

Bolivia adamantly condemned acts of violence that have resulted in the deaths of social and human rights leaders. Bolivia called for increased state presence and investigations on these issues. On economic reintegration, Bolivia urged for greater private sector progress in addition to public works engagement. Citing this phase as “the most important peace process in the history of Colombia”, Bolivia hoped for a continuation of strong leadership and political will to ensure the completion of the Colombian process.

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UNSC Meeting on Women, Peace and Security in the Sahel Region

UN Security Council

Meeting 8306 - Peace and Security in Africa

Women, Peace and Security in the Sahel Region


By: Patrick Liu


Background information:



  • Opening Briefings:


    1. Amina Mohammed - UN Deputy Secretary General

Amina Mohammed opened the UNSC meeting by briefing the Council on the recent trip to South Sudan, Chad, and Niger. Noting the rising levels of violence in these areas, the DSG urged the greater participation of women in decision making of the political peace process. The DSG further cited the role of women in preventing violent extremism and strengthening national economies. DSG Mohammed addressed the connection between security and development, noting that “security comes at the expense of development”. Therefore, the DSG advocated for increased transformative investment for development.

            2. Bineta Diop - AU Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security

Bineta Diop gave a powerful testament to the UNSC advocating for the transformation of Africa led by women. Diop testified that there is “no peace, no security, and no development without the effective participation of women”. Diop advised for greater women participation in national action plans as well as in responses to other national challenges. Furthermore, Diop cited the need for greater investment in education to strengthen the capacity for women and young people. In closing, Diop remarked that the UNSC to take action by stating : “the battle for security is won by responding to the needs of the people!”

            3. Margot Wallström - Swedish Foreign Minister

In her capacity as the Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström noted the vast disparity between “hope and despair” during her visit to South Sudan, Chad, and Niger. Specifically Wallström regretted the disproportionate burden that women face to threats to security. In fighting this fundamentally peace and security issue, Wallström advocated for joint-integrated responses from the international community to strengthen national capacities to fight impunity, create sustainable livelihoods, fight violent extremism, and promote equality. Wallström reminded the UNSC of their responsibility in helping to fight for peace and security, noting that “their destiny is our destiny”.


  • Statements from Permanent Members


    1. United States

The United States encouraged the role of women to use the power of their voices. In a comprehensive solution to the Sahel Region issues, the US urged for the consideration of the empowerment of women. The US also cited the linkage between women’s fundamental rights and the advancement of international peace and security.

            2. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom expressed its interest in promoting the level of women’s participation in decision making, economic life, and overall regional peace and security. In response, the UK reiterated its commitment of its resources to women’s development.

            3. France (and Germany)

France and Germany maintained that only integrated action of security, political, and human rights developments will foster lasting Sahel development. In this aspect, France stressed the need to support UNISS and women participation in the Sahel region. In closing, France and Germany called for the systematic and long-term promotion of the capacity of women to engage in the political and peace processes.

           4. Russia

The Russian Federation lamented the fact that 17 years since resolution 1325 that strengthened the protection of women in armed conflict, women today are still subjected to violence. Russia hoped for joint forces and action to fight against these crimes to women. Russia further noted the positive role of women in armed conflict, prevention, and post-conflict rebuilding situations. Lastly, Russia reiterated that the main actors of such efforts should be states with civil societies and regional organizations as supporters

           5. China

China named many of the challenges faced by the Sahel region including cross-border crimes, underdevelopment, poverty, and the humanitarian situation that have grave effects on peace and development. In addressing these issues, China hoped political solutions draw from the domestic population and from women specifically. The international community should therefore support leadership in Africa and assist where needed to ensure the full implementation of the 2030 agenda and sustainable peace and development.


  • Statements from Other Members


    1. European States

The Netherlands addressed the disproportionate effects on women from climate change, and the need for gender sensitive responses in the Sahel. In addition to a UN system to support a strategy, the Netherlands advocated for greater women’s participation in decision making and for women’s empowerment on issues of peace and security.

Poland urged for the implementation of the UN strategy plan for Sahel in order to respond to the needs of the women. Furthermore Poland promoted the positive role of women as agents of change in the long term sustainable development of the Sahel region.

             2. Latin America

Peru insisted the focus of such peace and security issues on their root causes: the empowerment of Women, gender equality, and access to justice. In response, Peru promoted greater participation, education, and employment opportunities for women. Peru therefore urged the UNSC to promote regional mechanisms like the G5 Sahel, ECOWAS, and the AU to mainstream gender perspectives, and accomplish these goals.

Bolivia re-emphasized the need for cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organizations

    1. Central Asia

Kazakhstan recognized the growing relationship between the AU and UN in promoting the women, peace and security agenda and in advancing gender empowerment. However, Kazakhstan mentioned the need to bridge the gap between spoken commitment and actual action.

In this context, Kazakhstan urged a focus on structural drivers and root causes of instability to understand the link between security and development, and create a comprehensive approach to build resilience. Lastly, Kazakhstan acknowledged the continued issue of financing for women, peace and security initiatives and hoped for “better coordinated strategies and better collaboration with partners” to ensure their survival.

            2. Middle East

Kuwait welcomed the advancement of the role of women in achieving peace and security in the Sahel region as part of the SG’s approach to gender equality in various UN bodies.

            3. African States

Equatorial Guinea denounced the terrorist activity in the Sahel region that left thousands of IDPs dependent on humanitarian aid and assistance. These violent outbreaks particularly affect women and girls. Equatorial Guinea therefore called on the international community to support the government in waging war against terrorism in order to protect against gender based violence. Equatorial Guinea lauded the work by UNOWAS and AU counter-terrorism initiatives.

Ethiopia similarly acknowledged the impact from conflicts on women and girls. In addition to lauding AU and UN joint regional approach, Ethiopia emphasized the need to build partnerships with various stakeholders. Cote D’Ivoire recognized the complex, multidimensional crises that affects women and urged for greater focus to address the issues and root causes.


  • Statements from Other Parties


    1. Chad

Chad lauded the tripart delegation trip to Chad, Sudan, and Niger and thanked the diplomats for their work on women, peace, and security. Chad noted the precariousness of living conditions for women because of violent conflicts and climate change. Chad also stressed the need to assist resulting IDPs and refugees, most who are women and children.

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UNSC Meeting on Iran Nuclear Deal

Report on UNSC Meeting on the JCPOA

By Christian Ciobanu, Lizzie McGowan, Patrick Liu, and Myrna Nakhla

On 27 June 2018, Russia chaired the UN Security Council’s semi-annual briefing on the status of UNSC Resolution 2231, the resolution that endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme. It was the UNSC’s fifth meeting on Iran’s implementation of the JCPOA and the first meeting about Iran’s Nuclear Program to be convened after the U.S. withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal and unilaterally imposed sanctions onto Iran.

The briefing also consisted of three relevant presentations, which addressed the Secretary-General 12 June Report (S/2018/602) on the implementation of the resolution, the UNSC’s work relating to Iran, and the JCPOA’s Joint Commission. The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, Ambassador Karel van Oosterom of the Netherlands, in his capacity as the UNSC’s 2231 facilitator, the Head of the EU delegation, Ambassador Joâo Pedro Vale de Almeida respectively delivered these presentations to UNSC members.

Following the aforementioned presentations, a tense debate occurred in which the Russian Federation, Bolivia, France, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Kazakhstan, and Kuwait conveyed their condemnations and disappointments about the U.S.’ decision to renege on its commitments to the Iran’s nuclear deal and violate a binding UNSC resolution. Ultimately, the UNSC’s debate revealed the extent to which President Trump has broken away from US allies in Europe, how his actions thrusted both the EU and Russia into pivotal players in the Iran nuclear deal and the Middle East region in order to quell any potential nuclear proliferation concerns.


Section 1: Presentations

Secretary-General’s Report

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ms. Rosemary DiCarlo, presented the Secretary-General’s report. She mentioned that nearly three years ago, the UNSC unanimously adopted UNSC Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal. The UNSG welcome the plan as a major achievement. Moreover, she underscored that the IAEA has consistently report that Iran has been implementing its commitments under the JCPOA.


In addition, she touched upon the procurement channel, a vehicle to review proposals from states wishing engage in trade with Iran on nuclear and non-nuclear civilian end uses.[1]


Significantly, she explained that the report focuses on Annex B of Resolution 2231, which requires states to comply with specific restrictions.[2] Unfortunately, it is determined that Iran has not be incompliance with Annex B.


As part the Secretary-General’s allegations that Iran has violated Annex B of the resolution, Di-Carlo specified that Iran delivered ballistic missiles to Houfi, which launched missiles against Saudi Arabia as well as allegations by Israel about Iran’s ballistic missiles in January 2018. The Secretariat further received information about intercepted shipments of unmanned surface missiles in Bahrain. The Secretariat concluded a series of preliminary observations and investigations in which it confirmed that the guidance system was based on Iran technology and the components of the missiles were manufactured in Iran. Additionally, the Secretariat determined that the weapons were designed sometime between 2002-2010. However, the Secretariat could not determine when Iran transferred the weapons. Thus, it could not conclusively determine whether Iran delivered the weapons before or after the nuclear deal entered into force. weapons were transferred over.


In addition, the report reflected grave concerns that Iran violated travel embargoes by allowing several of its generals to attend an armed and defense exhibition in Iraq. Furthermore, Di-Carlo informed states that the report addresses allegations that Iran has been funding other armed groups within Palestine in order to exacerbate tensions between Palestine and Israel.

Progresss on the implementation of UNSC Resolution 2231


As the facilitator of UNSC Resolution 2231, Ambassador Oosterom of the Netherlands touched upon the success of the nuclear deal with Iran and the resolution. He contended that the unanimous adoption of the resolution underscored the importance of the deal. He further explained that, since early 2016, the procurement channel has received 37 proposals from states to engage in activities with Iran. Finally, he called for the UNSC to engage in wider engagement with the UN General Assembly on the procurement channel.

European Union

Amb. Joao Pedro Vale de Almeida of the European Union proclaimed that the UNSC must continue to implement the JCPOA, an effective mechanism that prevents an armed nuclear conflict.


He also expressed his dismay that the United States withdrew from the deal. Its decision to renege on its commitments was an unforeseen act and places all relevant stakeholders in a precarious position.


Despite the U.S. actions, the E.U will continue overwhelmingly support the nuclear disarmament, as it is assists in ensuring the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. Further, the E.U remarked that Iran has consistently passed 11 inspections by the IAEA. and been in compliance with the JCPOA. Consequently, the European Union will continue to be apart of it.


Amb. Joao Pedro Vale de Almeida expounded on Iran’s history of compliance by mentioning their program is under the most rigorous monitoring in the world. On May 24, 2018 the IAEA issued its 11th report that demonstrated Iran’s full compliance with the JCPOA. On the other hand, Iran’s military actions outside of the deal are troubling. It seem that though they are in compliance, they have significantly proliferated their ballistic missile activity, which has worsened tensions in the region.


Its aggressive actions in the war with Yemen, Israel, and Saudi Arabia indicate a ploy for dominance in the Middle East and is a serious threat to stability. To ease these tensions, the international community must continue to engage with in dialog with actors in the region and support the UN Secretary general’s envoy. In order to work towards a solution to this problem, the international community must address Iran’s provocative actions independently from the JCPOA. Abandoning the JCPOA would neither put the U.S. in a good position or provide a solution to Iran’s use of Ballistic missiles and tensions in the region.


Concerning annex B of UNSC Resolution 2231, the Ambassador explained that the procurement working group has been working in full cooperation with Iran and relevant partners. He reminded delegates that the procurement mechanism is the only mechanism to provide NSG-listed items to Iran. To date, the procurement group has received 37 requests from states.


Section II. Debate in the UNSC


At the conclusion of the presentations, Russia opened the floor and the debate commenced in the UNSC on the Iran nuclear deal. The U.S. took the floor and attempted to justify President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran Nuclear Deal and impose unilateral actions against Iran. Specifically, the U.S. explained that its actions were necessary in order to deny Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.


United States


In an attempt to link the JCPOA to ballistic missiles, the U.S. asserted that Iran’s actions with its ballistic missiles contravened the spirit and intent of the Iran Nuclear Deal. Specifically, the U.S cited that Iran provided missiles to Houthi rebel groups, which launched them into Saudi Arabia as well as shipping missile components of weapons into Bahrain, and providing arms to terrorist groups in Palestine. As a result, the U.S. agreed with the Secretariat’s report about Iran and concluded that the evidence suggests that Iran’s activities violated UNSC Resolution 2231; and thereby, the international community must swiftly deal with Iran.


In an attempt to punish Iran’s for its actions, the U.S. imposed unilateral actions against Iran. These sanctions will send a message that the U.S. will not accept Iran’s actions in the region. Finally, the U.S. expressed hope that the UNSC members will support the U.S.

Rebutting the U.S. and Responding to the Presentations


Russia and Bolivia

In a clear rebuttal to the U.S., Russia condemned the U.S.’ actions. It also asserted that the U.S.’ withdrawal undermines the agreement and further destabilizes the region. It further finds the U.S. in direct violation of UNSC Resolution 2231.

Concerning the Secretariat’s report about Iran, Russia argued that the report presents a biased view about the situation. As explained by Russia, the report only mentions the U.S.’ withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal in passing and fails to address how the U.S. unilateral actions directly violate the resolution. Additionally, Russia expressed its surprise that the Secretariat’s report fails to address the fact that Tehran has started the dispute mechanism against the U.S. for its actions against Iran and the Nuclear Deal.

Regarding the allegations about Iran’s ballistic missiles and the transfer of its missiles to Iran’s proxy agents in the Middle East, including to the Houthi and rebel groups in Bahrain, Russia contended that it is incomprehensible and unacceptable for the Secretariat to investigate the allegations because it does not fall within the purview of the Secretariat. The Secretariat is required to have a mandate by the UNSC in order to engage in such activities. Moreover, Russia contended the Secretariat’s staff did not have a clear mandate and lacked the technical expertise to analyze missiles and their components. Thus, due to the fact that the Secretariat engaged in an “in-house” investigation of Iran and acted outside of its scope. the Secretariat’s findings about Iran are inadmissible.

In addition, Russia explained that the Secretariat’s report fails to provide a concrete timeline of when Iran delivered its missiles to rebel groups. As a result, it is nearly impossible to determine if Iran provided weapons to the rebel groups, before the Iran Nuclear Deal went into effect. If Iran delivered weapons before the deal was implemented, then Iran would not have been in violation of provisions set forth in UNSC Resolution 2231.

Despite the allegations and “biased” information in the report, Russia contended that all member states must remember that the IAEA has consistently found Iran to be in compliance with the nuclear deal.

Echoing similar sentiments, Bolivia cited the importance of preserving the nuclear deal and lambasted the U.S.’s unilateral actions. Bolivia reminded UNSC members that it took 12 long years of intense diplomatic activities to address Iran and achieving the nuclear deal. The deal should not be revoked or postponed because one member state reneged on its commitments.

Bolivia also criticized the aforementioned report for being biased and failing to address both aspects of the unsc resolution.

Significantly, Bolivia underscored that the the UNSC endorsed the deal through UNSC Resolution 2231, a legally binding resolution onto all members. Considering that the UNSC endorsed the plan, Bolivia accused the U.S. of engaging in illegal activities by reneging on the deal and imposing sanctions, which were subject to exemptions under the deal.

Bolivia further welcomed Iran’s continued commitments to the deal and hails the wills of the other parties to support the deal as they expressed in Vienna on May 25, 2018.

European States

Similarly, the U.K. expressed regret towards the United States’ decision to pull out of the nuclear deal. The US decision brings uncertainty as to the future of the deal and regional stability in the Middle East. Additionally, sanctions further escalates tensions and diminishes progress towards denuclearization.

The U.K. further specified that Iran is in compliance with the deal as evident in the latest report by the IAEA. Iran’s steadfast compliance to the nuclear deal demonstrates a strong commitment to the deal and peaceful use of nuclear materials, which are transferred to Iran through the procurement channel. Thus, the U.K. proclaimed that its position on the deal is clear: the deal makes the world a better place.

Nevertheless, the U.K. has been troubled by the Secretariat' findings about Iran’s transfer of ballistic missile technology to Houthi rebels in Yemen. Is. The U.K. expressed its concerns that the proliferation of missile technology, especially to Iran’s proxy agency demonstrates Iran’s bid for dominance in the region. As a result, the U.K. shares the U.S.’ concerns about Iran and strongly calls upon Iran to disengage from such behavior.

Similarly to the U.K/’s views, France expressed its strong support to the deal and expressed its disappointments about the U.S.’ actions. France elaborated that the deal is the embodiment of the ideal non-proliferation package, and its dismantlement would undermine the nuclear non-proliferation regime. France also explained that it worked relentely to ensure that deal is robust in nature and satisfied all parties. Ultimately, the JCPOA is a cornerstone of maintaining stability in the Middle East and vital for international peace.

However, France is deeply concerned about the allegations associated with Iran’s ballistic missile activity in the region, in particular, Iran’s decision to transfer weapons to rebels, skirmishes in Saudi Arabia, and escalating tensions with Israel. Therefore, it hopes that continued dialogue with Iran and relevant parties will help to alleviate tensions and address Iran’s ballistic missiles program.

Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands shared similar views and expressed their firm commitments to the Iran deal. They aligned themselves and welcomed the EU’s presentation.

In terms of the controversy about the Secretary-General Report, they found it necessary and important that the Secretariat focused on Iran’s ballistic missile programs and its activities with its proxy agents. They concurred that Iran must work with the international community and engage in dialogue.

Central Asia

Similar to the vast majority of UNSC members , Kazakhstan expressed its disappointments that the U.S. reneged on its commitments and imposed unilateral actions onto Iran. Kazakhstan further highlighted how the nuclear disarmament has produced three vital contributions to international peace and security. These contributions are:


  1. The nuclear deal is the only recognized way for the international community to verify the exclusive peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program
  2. The nuclear deal fulfills its mission in terms of taking stocks and halting Iran’s ambitions. The deal placed Iran’s nuclear program under international community through the IAEA.
  3. The nuclear deal provides a significant example in which diplomacy resolved a serious matter.

Middle East

As the sole Arab state, Kuwait’s views on the JCPOA are vital. Kuwait reaffirmed its commitment to the nuclear deal. Kuwait explained that that even though the deal does not address all of its concerns about Iran’s behavior in the region, the deal contributes to regional stability. Hence, it is incumbent for the international community to preserve the JCPOA.

Kuwait further mentioned that it is vital for all state to respect and observe UNSC resolutions. Nonetheless, it is important to analyze the reasons why the US chose to withdraw from the deal.


Against this backdrop, Kuwait conveyed its concerns about the Secretariat’s report about Iran’s ballistic missiles and its decision to transfer missiles to rebellious groups. However, Kuwait acknowledged Russia’s position that the Secretariat could not determine when Iran actually transferred its technology and weapons. Thus, Kuwait contended that all members must engage in policies of non-interference and good neighborliness. It further called upon the UNSC to follow-up with UNSC Resolution 2231 to ensure that Iran is in compliance with the resolution.


Overall, the intense debate indicated that the vast majority of states are highly disappointed that the U.S. reneged on its commitments to the Iran Nuclear Deal. The discussion further revealed that the Trump administration does not understand the significance of UNSC resolutions and their context in international law. Moreover, the debate also made it clear that the U.S.’ traditionally allies are distancing themselves away from the U.S.’ actions against the Iran nuclear deal.

Essentially, the debate amongst UNSC members demonstrated that, as the U.S. is isolating itself by adopting radical policies, European states and Russia are stepping in to fill this new void in the regional affairs of the Middle East. Thus, new powers have emerged to replace the U.S.’ position of serving as a “police force against proliferation concerns.”


[1] The mechanism covers three categories of goods, and associated assistance and services. The first covers goods that are ‘especially designed or prepared for nuclear use’. The second includes goods with both nuclear and civilian applications, commonly referred to as ‘dual-use’. Controlling this category of goods is generally more difficult because it comprises items which, in addition to their more sensitive use, also have wide industrial and commercial applications. Indeed, these have comprised the bulk of Iran’s procurement activities.

The third category covers any other items that are determined by the ‘relevant State’ as having the potential to ‘contribute to activities inconsistent with the JCPOA’.

[2] A detailed description of the specific resolutions can be found at

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Leveraging Partnerships and Strengthening Cooperation with Women to Counter and Prevent Violent Extremism and Terrorism in Africa

Leveraging Partnerships and Strengthening Cooperation with Women to Counter and Prevent Violent Extremism and Terrorism in Africa


Lizzie McGowan


Patrick Lui

Mr. Adedeji Ebo

Mr. Adedeji Ebo, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel and Director of the Political Affairs Division, provided opening remarks on the current state of terrorism in Africa. Women play a critical role in terrorism because they are both victims and perpetrators. To address this issue, the “Dakar Call for Action” was created involving groups from civil society and the United Nations. The purpose of this document is to address violent extremism with women as the primary focus.


Essentially, we have to “put our money where our mouths are” and devote more resource into harnessing the expertise of women in combating terrorism in West Africa and the Sahel. Women should be at the forefront of policy on this issue and not silenced under patriarchy. Further, there needs to be more focus on local solutions in conjunction with a global frameworks, as demonstrated in the “Dakar Call for Action.” If you want to address “extremism, then you must have inclusion by working to make marginalized people feel welcomed in their communities.”


Ambassador Koro Bessho

Japanese diplomat Koro Bessho expressed that Japan is becoming more cautious of terrorism since they will be hosting the Olympics. Terrorism has not been on the psyche of Japanese society because they have not been adversely affected by it. Japan’s approach to fighting  terrorism is centered around “whole of society,” meaning that everyone has an important place, role, and should be be included. Since marginalization is a problem, this approach is an excellent example of how to protect at risk youth from being empowered by Islamists ideology.


Women are agents in strengthening society by creating nurturing and inclusive communities. In fact women can recognize violent extremism at an early stage. The Tokyo Council on African Development (TCAD) works to improve social stability in Africa by utilizing the talents of women. Further, to tackle this issue effectively, we have to engage different actors in society and expand the conversation past men, incorporate the international community, and leverage the power of women’s networks. For example, the UN Women’s work has contributed to efforts all over the world to fight the root causes of terrorism. With the establishment of the Dakar Call to Action, the international community is taking the proper steps in addressing this issue. All things considered, this kind of partnership is valuable, should not be taken for granted, and is vital to this fight.

Civil Society

A representative from Civil Society remarked that terrorism has dramatic consequences all over the world and targets people of different ethnicities and religions. Currently, terrorists recruiters are using social media to commit atrocious crimes and spread their ideology to marginalized people. It is time that we act in solidarity to fight the causes that lead people to radicalize themselves and foster communities that are resistant to such ideologies. To do this, we must establish programs of awareness to prevent recruitment into radical Islamists terrorists groups. Thus, the international community must create effective plans of prevention, increase dialog, empower youth, women, and the competencies and of women.


UN Women

Ms. Paivi Kannisto, UN Women Peace and Security Chief, expressed her happiness to have been a part of the Dakar Call to Action. The beauty in the Dakar document is its unified call to diverse stakeholders to take a stance on stopping the proliferation of Islamic Terrorism. In essence, the initiative is an effort to encourage young men and women to use creative means to bring about a solution to terrorism.


Civil society is an essential partner in countering extremism. Without it, much of the grassroots advocacy and strategic planning would not be done. To ensure the longevity of these organizations, financial support is vital. In this vein, Ms. Kannisto thanked Japan and Germany for their financial assistance funding initiatives to stop violent extremism and increase women’s involvement in the process. Further, the international community must continue to create operational partnerships and innovative ways to combat violent extremism.

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Presentation at the UN NGO Committee

For the first time ever, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) were given the opportunity to address the United Nations Committee on NGOs. Our youth representative, Patrick Liu delivered a statement to both NGOs and states.




He touched upon the following:

  • 1. First, in order to facilitate NGOs advocacy and make it more efficient, giving NGOs access to more of the same conference rooms as Member States is essential. Also, a larger space should be preserved for civil society organizations of all sizes and backgrounds to take the floor and share their experience during conferences, seminars or sessions of UN bodies.


  • 2. Second, special attention should be paid to NGOs from developing countries and countries with economies in transition whose participation is often limited due to technical and financial difficulties. To prevent their exclusion, the agenda of the various events held at the UN should be known more in advance and less subject to last minute change to allow NGOs to minimize the cost of such participation. Furthermore, the UN online registration system can be problematic for some NGOs in locations with limited access to the internet. As one alternative, we would urge a policy change that would allow NGO federations or coalitions to directly register representatives of their own member organisations


  • 3. Third, some improvements should be considered regarding the process to obtain consultative status with ECOSOC. Our suggestions include ensuring that political considerations are avoided during this process, by limiting the number of questions asked by each Member State to applying organizations, and by establishing a time limit for consideration of each application by the NGO Committee. These steps would help avoid what is too often a drawn-out process and eliminate
    the deterrent effect such delays can have on applying organizations (or those considering applying).

For further information, please view his presentation

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2018 Review Conference of the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons

2018 Review Conference of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons

The Third Review Conference of the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons In All Its Aspects met at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City from 18-29 June 2018. The president-designate for the Conference was Ambassador Jean-Claude Brunet of France.  

Throughout this review conference, PEAC Institute was actively involved in monitoring plenary discussions and side events.


                                PEAC Institute with the International Action Network on Small Arms on Wear Orange Day,                          

                                National Gun Violence Awareness Day! 

Lizzie McGowan with Mei-Ling Ho-Shing, a Parkland Survivor 

Several Reports about the side events can be found here:

1. Monitoring SDG 16: Arms Flows and Violent Deaths in North Africa and the Sahel

2. The International Tracing Instrument and the Way Forward: Examining Options to Support Operationalization

3. Women Peace and Security implications of the POA



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Asia Society: Trump, Kim, and North Korea: Deal or No Deal


Asia Society

Trump, Kim, and North Korea: Deal or No Deal?


Lizzie Mcgowan


Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Senior Counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group,  Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and former Deputy Secretary of State, shared her candid opinion on the 2018 North Korea–United States Summit. She shared the stage with her fellow panelist Daniel Russell, Vice President of Internationals Security and Diplomacy at the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI). Their candid thoughts on Trump’s meeting with Kim revealed the summit’s uncertainty for denuclearization and a viable peace process. Additionally, they asserted that the summit’s outcome raised  questions on who was the real “winner” in achieving their goals in advancing their countries interests.


Perspectives about the Kim-Trump Summit


Ambassador Sherman explained that Trump should be weary of Kim’s intentions. Nevertheless, she contended that it made sense this meeting happened, due to Kim understanding that his time in power could be limited if he did not work to unthaw relations with the U.S. and outside world. We have yet to see where this new relationship will go due to the mercurial personalities of the two leaders. The limited information provided to the public was ambiguous and left many questions unanswered.   


Unfortunately, the outcome declaration was thin and shared similarities to past declarations. For North Korea, this was a win because throughout coordinating the summit, they were unyielding in compromising details. The North Koreans heavily focused on the “optics of the conference” to ensure that Kim was treated like a peer to the leader of the free world.


Moreover, Sherman explained that the joint statement did not include any sort of verification mechanism or timetable as to when or if denuclearization on the peninsula would happen.


Similar to Ambassador Sherman, Daniel Russel lamented that Kim got everything he wanted out the meeting with Trump. Simply put, the U.S. had no leverage in meeting and Kim appeared to be a master negotiator among the North Korean people. He further contended the outcome of the summit came out in North Korea’s favor, as Kim Jong-Un is able to go home “with his ability to threaten the U.S. intact”. Furthermore, the only thing the US gained from the meeting were the optics of the two leaders meeting and a questionably promise of progress to be made in the future with their new relationship.

Role of South Korea (ROK)

Ambassador Sherman explained that Moon Jae-in the, president of South Korea, whose father is from North Korea, pushed for the meeting as he is focused on mending relations with North Korea.  He campaigned on this concept and illustrated his commitment to it as he orchestrated the lighting of the torch ceremony and inclusion of North Korean athletes during the Olympics. China also played a significant role as well due to their guidance in urging North Korea to come to the negotiating table through flexing their economic muscles. They implemented economic sanctions by cutting off petroleum exports, which put maximum pressure on their economy.


Kim’s intentions

Russell proclaimed that Kim has set up separate negations between South Korea, Japan, and China. This threatens our relationships with these countries because it inherently excludes the United States from the negotiating table. Further, it allows Kim to have a better chance of having his demands met with each country. Essentially, Kim has put himself in a good position and possibly laid the groundwork for retaining his nuclear program and being the dominant power in Northeast Asia. Also, it brings him closer to getting sanctions lifted and  improving his countries economy.



Russell mentioned that sanctions do not deter states and individuals from engaging in bad behavior, rather they are designed to bring people to the negotiating table. The ultimate factor in bringing Kim to the table was reaching full nuclear capability and having an ICBM to reach the United States. Since he reached his goal, he is in a position to gamble and negotiate retaining his program and build bilateral relationships with the rest of the world. From this perspective, Kim seems to be victorious in pushing his national interests. Further, it is not clear where the U.S. gained any leverage in the negotiations.


How to build relations with Kim


Daniel Russell mentioned that Kim’s goal was to boost the economy and from the optics of the negotiations, he is on track to do so. This gives Kim the international visibility he wants, and the U.S. should be careful in validating the demands of brutal dictator. Since he is young, this move solidifies his position as a permanent leader. He has proven to the citizens of North Korea that he can push his countries agenda and successfully negotiate with the US.


Since the joint outcome document did not provide a clear path to denuclearization, Russell and Ambassador Sherman offered a blueprint to build a positive relationship and guide to denuclearization. Firstly, the US should begin by inspecting North Korea nuclear facilities and bring in the IAEA. This would be a good faith measure to ensure that they are keeping to their promise. Another problem the U.S. must face is North Korea’s perception of denuclearization.


Ambassador Sherman notes that the US sees it as the denuclearization of North Korea while North Korea sees it as denuclearization of the peninsula. Moreover, this means that they expect the US to abandon its nuclear guarantee for South Korea. In the event that the US accepts North Korea as a nuclear power and removes South Korea from its nuclear umbrella, North Korea will be the dominant power on the peninsula.

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