Updated on 8 January 2017
Chapter 4: THE COUNCIL CONVENES
Section 1: Convening a meeting
France, United Kingdom call for meeting on Syria without formal request under Rule 2
On 30 November 2016, the Security Council convened to hear briefings on the worsening humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, Syria given by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria; the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator; and UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa (S/PV.7822).
At the meeting, immediately after the briefings, the representative of the United Kingdom stated that “The United Kingdom and France have called this emergency session because eastern Aleppo and other besieged areas are today facing new depths of crisis”. The next speaker was the representative of France, who began by thanking the Senegalese Council Presidency “for having convened today’s emergency Security Council meeting on the situation in Aleppo at the request of France and the United Kingdom.”
In subsequent interventions, the representatives of Spain, Ukraine and Senegal thanked France and the United Kingdom for having called for the urgent meeting. Moreover, in his own way, the representative of the Russian Federation also credited the holding of the meeting to France and the United Kingdom:
“It comes as no surprise that it was France and the United Kingdom, which have long and
blatantly clamoured for regime change in Syria, including providing generous support to
militants, that initiated today’s meeting – out of their supposed concern for the situation in
eastern Aleppo. In fact, the real reason is different. The bandits that they, among others,
have so coddled and fueled are at the point of defeat.”
The power to request the convening of a Council meeting is vested in all members of the Council under Rule 2 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure, which reads: “The President shall call a meeting of the Security Council at the request of any member of the Security Council.”
As the meeting held on 30 November 2016 demonstrates, there is no requirement that such a request be made through a letter published as an official Security Council document. In fact, many Council meetings are convened at the informal request of one or more Council members. However, members still do occasionally submit a formal written request for the convening of a meeting, even when the matter at issue is already on the Summary Statement of matters of which the Security Council is seized (S/2017/10). For example, the 9 December 2016 meeting on “The situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” was convened at the request of nine Council members, which took this initiative by sending a formal letter, citing Rule 2, to the Council President (S/2016/1034) (see related article on this website).
(This update supplements pages 413 and 415 of the book.)