Foreign Secretary Harshvardhan Shringla had chaired four meetings of the UNSC which included: Adoption of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Resolution; Adoption of Mali Sanctions Resolution; Adoption of UNSOM Resolution; and Briefing/consultations on Middle East Peace Process.
India’s month-long presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) concludes today, having successfully steered discussions on issues related to peace and security that were in its agenda. These included the Middle East peace Process, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Myanmar. Yesterday (August 30, 2021) Foreign Secretary Harshvardhan Shringla had chaired four meetings of the UNSC which included: Adoption of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Resolution; Adoption of Mali Sanctions Resolution; Adoption of UNSOM Resolution; and Briefing/consultations on Middle East Peace Process.
Middle East Peace Process & Palestinian Question
According to sources, the Foreign Secretary urged all the parties to respect the ceasefire. And asked them to refrain from acts that could worsen the security situation. He also reiterated India’s firm commitment to the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine within recognized, secure, and mutually agreed borders, and living side by side with Israel in peace and security.
He also noted that an early direct peace negotiation was the best chance to achieve a two-nation state solution after resolving all status issues.
Early Tuesday morning, the resolution on the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) at the UNSC extended the mandate of the peacekeeping mission for a period of one more year.
According to reports India is one of the largest troop contributing countries to UNIFIL. It has been doing so since the past 21 years. Also, since October 2018, a Kazakhstan Contingent is co-deployed with the Indian Battalion in UNIFIL.
There are 862 Indian peacekeepers serving in UNIFIL. Through the deployment of a maritime contingent, India is ready to further strengthen the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force (MTF).
More on Resolution on Mali sanctions
The measures as set out in paragraphs 1 to 7 of resolution 2374 (2017), have now been renewed until next August. This Resolution strongly condemns the activities in Mali and the Sahel region of ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida-linked terrorist organizations like the Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM); Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), and Greater Sahara (ISGS).
Mali is one of the beneficiaries of the Duty Free Trade Preference Scheme enjoying zero duty on nearly 95% of its exports to India and a significant number of training slots for Malian officials have been given under Technical and Economic Cooperation training programme. Also, soft loans given by India of USD 353.6 million are for developmental projects, including in the power sector, in Mali.
The resolution on UNSOM
This extends the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) till the end of May 2022. UNSOM has been playing a central role in supporting the government of that country’s peace and reconciliation process. It also extends support to the Federal Government of Somalia and AMISOM and provides strategic policy advice on peacebuilding and State building since its inception in 2014.
The African nation which is witnessing a crucial phase needs a free and fair democratic election which is very important for its future. UNSOM and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) are expected to play a very important role in this phase of the country. India has been at the forefront in helping the country and has participated in the IMF debt relief package for Somalia by agreeing to contribute Special Drawing Rights (SDR).