Vienna, 1 December 2009 – "Under Austrian Presidency, the Security Council smoothly and successfully managed a comprehensive work programme in November, despite quite difficult situations such as those in the Middle East and Afghanistan, or in view of the latest tensions between Venezuela and Colombia. What pleases me most is that our initiative toward improved protection of civilians has made a material contribution that will really influence the future work of the UN and, above all, of its peace missions", said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger, taking stock on the last day of the one-month Austrian Presidency in the United Nations Security Council.
Resolution 1894, which was unanimously adopted by the Security Council on 11 November, contains very specific measures on how to better implement the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, especially during peace missions. "During the subsequent debates in recent weeks, Security Council members already made specific reference to this resolution and demanded that the measures contained therein are immediately applied in UN missions in Africa", said Spindelegger.
Twenty-six sessions were held under the Austrian Presidency in November, during which a total of four resolutions were adopted. Apart from the resolution on the protection of civilians, the EUFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina was extended by one year, just as the anti-piracy measures of the coast of Somalia, and the sanctions against the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Security Council had to react on short notice on the situation in Afghanistan, the latest developments in the Middle East and the tensions between Colombia and Venezuela. "During its Presidency, Austria had the task of establishing consensus in the Security Council on the approach to be followed. We have accomplished this, thanks to the common efforts of all the staff involved in the Foreign Ministry", stressed Spindelegger.
Austria will take advantage of the remaining thirteen months as a non-permanent member in the Security Council to promote its priorities in the daily work of this body. "The protection of women and children in conflicts and compliance with international law as important issues to us, and we continuously address these in the Security Council", said the Foreign Minister. „We will also continue our efforts to position and further promote Austria as a place of dialogue and as a UN Seat."
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