Thank you Mr. President, for organising this important briefing.
I join my other colleagues in welcoming Her Excellency Federica Mogherini and congratulating her for the assumption to the position of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union. Thank you to Her Excellency Mogherini and His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, for their statements in highlighting the important cooperation between the UN and the EU in maintaining international peace and security.
2. Malaysia fully supports the call by the Secretary-General to further expand cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations to work closely together in preventing, managing and resolving crisis under Chapter VIII (8) of the UN Charter. Regional organisations such as the EU have the resources, expertise and international standing to play multiple roles such as a mediator, observer, donor, and peacebuilder in various conflict areas all over the world.
3. As part of the Middle East Quartet, the EU plays a vital role in contributing towards the Middle East Peace Process to find a sustainable solution to the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We are encouraged by the commitment shown by Her Excellency Mogherini, as reflected by her visit to Gaza last November, and her increasing engagement with the leaders of the Palestinian Authority. Malaysia welcomes the statement made by the High Representative last November, which stressed the need for a Palestinian state as the ultimate goal and position of the EU, based on a two-state solution with an independent, democratic, viable State of Palestine living side-by-side with Israel and its other neighbours in peace and security.
4. Malaysia lauds the continuing financial support by the EU in building institutions and infrastructures in Occupied Palestinian Territories with the aim of creating a viable Palestinian state. We also welcome the recognition of the State of Palestine by Sweden last year and we hope to see more EU members moving towards similar direction in the near future.
5. As a regional organisation that prides itself in its core values of protection of human rights and the rule of law, we urge the EU to be at the forefront to end impunity in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially in view of the massive atrocities committed against the Palestinian civilians during the Gaza conflict last year, the continuing expansion of illegal Israeli settlement in Occupied Palestinian Territories, the continuing construction of separation wall by Israel, contrary to the 2004 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, and recently, the withholding of tax revenues by Israel in violation of its obligations under the Paris Protocol of the Oslo Accords.
6. We have heard repeated warnings from the UN including from the Secretary-General regarding the unsustainability of the situation in Occupied Palestinian Territories due to continuing Israeli occupation. We also noted the widespread disillusionment with the Middle East Quartet especially from the region. We sincerely hope the international community will take heed of the warnings and start to tackle the root causes of the conflict, rather than continuing with its piecemeal response of addressing the symptoms of the crisis. In this regard, we wish to see the early resumption of negotiations on the Middle East Peace Process, and we call on the EU - as a Quartet member - to intensify its efforts towards this end.
7. Meanwhile, on Iran’s nuclear programme, Malaysia recognizes the pivotal role played by the EU in resolving the issue, within the context of the ongoing EU+3 negotiations with Iran. Malaysia encourages all parties to continue their efforts through dialogue and understanding, with a view to bridging the gaps that remain.
8. On Africa, we commend the role and contribution by the EU in the African region, from conflict prevention to conflict management, post-conflict transition and sustainable development. We also acknowledge the support of the EU in sharing its technical expertise to ensure the success of electoral processes in African countries, including in Burundi.
9. With regard to the situation in Mali, Malaysia wishes to take this opportunity to extend our condolences to the families of victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Bamako and Kidal on 7 and 8 March, which killed civilians and UN personnel, including a personnel of the EU delegation. We strongly condemn this atrocious act.
10. We commend the significant role of the EU in supporting the Algiers process. As a co-mediator, the EU continues to play its constructive role to assist Malian parties with a view to achieving national reconciliation and long lasting peaceful solution. We view that a continued commitment of the European Union, in close cooperation with the United Nations and the African Union is essential at this particularly crucial juncture.
11. On Libya, Malaysia notes the ongoing efforts by the EU in providing humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers in the Mediterranean. We also welcome the possibility of the EU in playing a greater role in monitoring and preventing the illicit flows of arms and oil in the Mediterranean Sea as well as the security threats posed by terrorism in the region.
12. The volatile security situation and dire humanitarian predicament in the Central African Republic requires our sustained attention. The multi-faceted involvement of the EU in the Central African Republic, including through its military operation – the EU Force RCA – exemplifies the vital role that the international community can play alongside the UN in restoring peace and security to the Central African Republic.
13. We commend the EUFOR RCA for their important contribution to stabilising the security situation in Bangui and note the end of their mandate on 15 March 2015. We welcome the decision of the EU to deploy the EU Military Advisory Mission in the CAR, which we hope will continue the momentum in strengthening the security sector in the Central African Republic and building the foundations for long-lasting stability.
14. Within Europe itself, the Ukrainian crisis is threatening the security and stability the region. We applaud the initiatives by key EU members, particularly France and Germany, in engaging with the conflicting parties to de-escalate the crisis. We welcome the resulting agreement on the ‘Package of measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements’, which was subsequently endorsed by this Council. We call on all parties to comply fully with the provisions of the agreement to facilitate a final, political solution to the crisis, and for the EU to play a constructive role towards this end.
15. We also follow with great interest the recent launching by the EU to review its European Neighbourhood Policy in order to build strong partnerships and to better tackle the challenges faced by the EU in its relations with its neighbours.
16. In Western Balkans, we commend the stabilising role played by the EU in the post-conflict countries in the region, such as in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. We welcome the breakthrough in normalising relations between Kosovo and Serbia as well as thecontinuing commitment by Her Excellency Mogherini in facilitating the high-level talks between Pristina and Belgrade on 9 February 2015 in Brussels.
17. We also fully support the continuing role by the EU in further strengthening the democratic institutions, rule of law and the process of reconciliation, in capacity-building, and in creating a functioning market economy in the Western Balkans.
18. In concluding, Malaysia welcomes the reaffirmation by High Representative of the EU to continue its close cooperation with the UN in upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. As a Council member, Malaysia reiterates its commitment to play a constructive role in further engaging with regional organisations, especially one as successful and established as the EU, in maintaining international peace and security.
I thank you, Mr. President.