NEW YORK – Jordan’s permanent
representative to the UN, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, faced the press for
the first time in his new capacity as president of the UN Security Council on
Monday, amid the crisis in Syria and further calls for Security Council
“The UN has proven itself capable of stopping killing and
stopping war, but not always,” Hussein said, speaking in his national
“They generally know how to put together a cease-fire package,
and they know the sequence of steps to end a conflict. What the UN doesn’t know
how to do is how to end a conflict permanently.” Hussein said this will be a
major point of discussion in the upcoming month.
Hussein was circumspect
on what he expected the Security Council to accomplish in terms of further
brokering peace in Syria or in other conflicts around the world, and was
hesitant to speak in his capacity as president.
Speaking as Jordan’s
ambassador, Hussein said that he planned to defend the interests of Jordan, the
Arab Group whom Jordan represents on the Security Council and the Organization
of Islamic Countries.
He added that Jordan will also have the objective
to strengthen the UN with respect to peacekeeping missions, and to support the
rule of law.
“We also will support and continue to work on Security
Council reform, in particular when it comes to the issue of the veto,” Hussein
The deadlock in the Security Council late last year, over
revelations that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons with deadly
force on their own people, created widespread calls for reform of the Security
Council voting system; particularly during times of international
Jordan was part of the Small Five Group of countries – including
Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, Singapore and Switzerland – that presented a draft
resolution in 2011 for reforming the working methods of the Security
“We believe that there should not be a use of veto in certain
situations where there is genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes,”
“I don’t think anyone who comes from our region doesn’t
believe this isn’t the right position.
There is a feeling worldwide that
the veto cannot be seen as a license by those who are allied to the permanent
members. To take measures that could well be construed as falling outside the
bounds of international humanitarian or criminal law.”
several questions about the situation in Syria, including queries as to whether
Jordan would once again extend an invitation to Security Council members to
visit the Za’atari camps for Syrian refugees in Jordan.
Jordan had first
extended the invitation last April, but, as Hussein said, no one
“We have not received any response nor seen any reaction by the
Security Council,” Hussein told reporters.
He would not name who in the
Council blocked or vetoed Jordan’s invitation, but said, “we will reconsider
this issue, that’s for sure.”
In response to recent developments in the
Israeli-Palestinian talks, Hussein said the Jordanians acknowledged that both
sides had embarked on “very difficult discussions,” but did not know what their
official response would be to any proposed framework.
their position on the Security Council in place of Saudi Arabia – who gave up
their coveted seat in October, in protest of what they deemed a weak stance
toward the conflict in Syria.
The Security Council will hear
consultations on the situation in the Middle East, including the current status
of Syria’s chemical weapons, on Wednesday, and will hold an open debate on the
Middle East and the question of Palestine on January 20.