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Open Debate on the Settlement of Conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa

By Federica Dall’Arche

Last Wednesday, (30 September 2015), under the presidency of the Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, the Security Council held a ministerial-level open debate on the settlement of conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and countering the terrorist threat in the region.  As part of WILPF’s ongoing advocacy, monitoring, and MENA crisis response, we remind states that it is critical to ensure a prevention approach for long term peace, and reiterate that counterterrorism measures must strengthen rather than impede gender equality in accordance with international human rights, refugee, and humanitarian law.

The debate was accompanied by a briefing by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It focused on the genesis of the terrorist threat in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as on how existing conflicts contribute to the narrative exploited by violent extremisms. Member States were expected to assess the implementation of obligations imposed by the Council, in order to curb the financing of different terrorist groups’ affiliates and to enhance the Council’s instruments to tackle the evolving nature of the terrorist threat.

As an outcome of the debate, a draft resolution has been circulated by the Russian Mission, where Member States will be called upon to adopt alternative narratives to violent extremism, to ensure overall implementation of the Council’s counter-terrorism framework and to refrain from fueling conflicts in the region to advance their own interests. At press time, no action has been taken.

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