Updated on 12 December 2015
Chapter 3: THE PEOPLE
Section 1: The President
Syria complains that Council President refuses request to meet
On 30 November 2015, the representative of Syria wrote to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council (S/2015/913) concerning a series of requests he had made to meet with the Council President during the month of November. The Syrian representative first observed that the Council
“holds several monthly and periodic meetings on topics that involve the Syrian Arab
Republic and the occupied Syrian Golan. These include the situation in the Middle East;
counter-terrorism and the implementation of Security Council resolutions 1267 (1999),
1373 (2001), 1540 (2004), 1624 (2005), 1989 (2011), 2170 (2014), 2178 (2014) and 2199
(2015); the reports of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolutions 2118
(2013), 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014) and 2191 (2014); and women and children in armed conflict.”
Because the Council’s programme of work for November 2015, under the Presidency of the United Kingdom, included meetings on several such issues, the Syrian representative reported that he had asked the Council President to meet with him for consultations. The Syrian representative stated that such a request was made formally on 6 November, reiterated by email on 9 and 12 November, and then repeated by a formal memorandum on 12 November. However, according to the Syrian representative, the representative of the United Kingdom “ignored” these requests.
The Syrian representative then stated that his delegation wished “to protest against that course of action in the strongest possible terms.” Noting that Rule 19 of the Council’s Provisional Rules of Procedure provides that the Council President represents the Council “in its capacity as an organ of the United Nations”, the Syrian representative charged that the representative of the United Kingdom had, to the contrary, “exploited the presidency of the Council to serve the political agenda of his country”. This, he contended, was in “disregard for diplomatic standards and the fundamental and binding rules of procedure in force at the United Nations.”
Whereas practice has developed around the extent to which the Security Council is obliged to hear from representatives of UN Member States in formal Council meetings, no parallel practice has been established concerning informal consultations between representatives of Member States and the Council President, and such consultations therefore remain discretionary. In any event, no public response was made by the representative of the United Kingdom to the Syrian complaint.