Highlights of Slovenia’s activities at the UN Security Council in April 2024

Slovenia’s fourth month on the Council was once again marked by the devastating war in Gaza and the situation in the wider Middle East region, escalating crises in Sudan and Haiti, tensions in the Balkans, Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine and other pressing issues. In April, the UN Security Council voted on the Palestinian bid for full UN membership, on a resolution to prevent a nuclear arms race in outer space and on the extension of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). In all three cases, Slovenia voted in favor.

During the annual debate on Women, Peace and Security, Slovenia strongly condemned all forms of sexual and gender-based violence in any armed conflict and called for accountability. The Women, Peace and Security Agenda is one of our key priorities at the Council.

The Maltese Presidency for the month of April organized a high-level debate on the situation in the Middle East, in which the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Renata Cvelbar Bek, participated. In her statement, she warned of the growing danger of a full-scale regional escalation and called for maximum restraint. Referring to the war in Gaza, Secretary-General Cvelbar Bek stressed the need to uphold the UN Charter and implement Security Council resolutions. “We must start and support the political process, leading to a two-state solution. Slovenia believes that the two-state solution must be based on the sovereign equality of both states, and therefore supports the equal status of the Palestinian Authority in the UN,” she added.

Slovenia regretted that the Council failed to adopt the resolution on the Palestinian request for full UN membership.

Marking one year of conflict in Sudan that claimed thousands of lives and caused mass displacement and a threat of famine, Slovenia called for silencing the guns and ensuring immediate, full and unhindered humanitarian access. “We cannot emphasize this enough – the relentless conflict must end. Silence your guns, step away from the battlefields, and engage in honest talks. As we have seen in many cases, achieving a political solution through inclusive dialogue is challenging, but it is the only viable path to peace and reconciliation,” underscored Ambassador Žbogar.  

Turning to the alarming situation in Haiti, Slovenia condemned the widespread and coordinated gang attacks, underlined the dire humanitarian crisis and political instability and expressed its continued support for the people of Haiti. Life in this Caribbean country has become a tragic struggle for survival. “The restoration of democratic institutions through peaceful, credible, and participatory elections, with the active involvement of women and youth, is the only way forward for a stable and secure Haiti,” said Deputy Permanent Representative Ondina Blokar Drobič to the Council.

The Security Council held a regular briefing on Kosovo, which is making the progress while many of the post-conflict wounds remain to be healed. In Slovenia’s view the way forward must involve an EU-facilitated dialogue on normalization and implementation of the Brussels Agreement and its Annex from 2023; the creation of a safe and prosperous environment for Serbs in Kosovo and coexistence.

Slovenia ensured that Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine remained high on the Council’s agenda. The Council held four meetings in April, covering humanitarian aid in Ukraine, arms transfers, nuclear security and the Nord Stream incident. Slovenia continues to support Ukraine’s right to self-defense and calls for the protection of civilian infrastructure, including nuclear and energy infrastructure. “The violations of international law must stop. The suffering of civilians must stop. The aggression must stop,” stressed Ambassador Žbogar.

With regard to the Security Council resolution on arms race in outer space, tabled by the US and Japan, Slovenia regrets the veto. In our view, this is a missed opportunity to strengthen global security by preventing the potential weaponization of outer space. Slovenia underlines the importance of the peaceful exploration and use of outer space for present and future generations.

Slovenia has voted in favor of a resolution extending the mandate of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Finally, at the annual debate on Women, Peace and Security, which this year focused on the prevention of conflict-related sexual violence through demilitarization and gender-responsive arms control, Ambassador Žbogar underlined that “sexual and gender-based violence is one of the most heinous crimes and must be stopped.” He added that women and girls are so much more than victims or survivors of conflict: “They are peacebuilders and frontline responders and they have a critical role in providing much needed services to women and girls in conflict or post-conflict situations.”

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