New York, 4 May 2010 - "The challenges of the 21st century are manifold, such as conflict resolution and prevention, the fight against terrorism and against organized crime and the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. They show how imperative it is that the UN cannot act single-handedly but depends on strong partners", stressed Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger today during a session of the UN Security Council in New York, where - upon Austria’s initiative - for the first time High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton participated on behalf of the European Union.
In his speech, Spindelegger dwelled on the changes in the general framework of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) since the Lisbon Treaty entered into force. "More than ever before, we need a close and well-developed cooperation between the United Nations and the EU to secure international peace and security. The CFSP, in particular, makes a significant contribution towards conflict prevention and conflict resolution", said Spindelegger. Today, the EU is already engaged in 13 military and civil missions and is therefore an essential partner in international crisis management.
Concrete examples for cooperation between the United Nations and the EU are, for instance, the fight against piracy at the Horn of Africa, the food aid programme for the suffering Somali population, as well as the EU engagement in Afghanistan or on the Balkans.
Austria has been a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council since the beginning of 2009. Austria’s work in the Security Council focuses on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts and the strengthening of the role of women in conflict resolution. "Austria thus represents a classic EU position: The EU has repeatedly stressed its strong commitment to the protection of civilians and has campaigned on numerous occasions for its expansion and improvement", said Spindelegger. "Europe itself is actually implementing this demand: during the EU missions in Chad, in Georgia, or in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the protection of refugees and displaced persons ranked first."
In this context, Foreign Minister Spindelegger pointed to the fact that the EU is heavily involved in the area of protection and the integration of women in conflict resolution. In view of this year’s 10th anniversary of the corresponding Security Council resolution 1325, it is particularly important that all UN member states intensify their efforts. Spindelegger: "Today, women have become an indispensable part of peace missions. Their skills in conflict resolution and in the care of victims are essential for the success of peace missions."
Finally, Spindelegger underscored the importance of a common European stance: "The development of the European Foreign Service will clearly improve efficiency and a coherent European theme setting, as well as cooperation with the United Nations." The Foreign Minister thanked High Representative Ashton for coming, and expressed the hope that this meeting will mark the beginning of a regular exchange of opinions in the Security Council.
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