About the Author: Patrick Ventrell serves as Information Officer and Deputy Spokesman at the U.S. Mission to the UN in New York. He is a member of the Mission’s Security Council team.
On Tuesday, the United States assumed the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of September. The Council Presidency rotates among all 15 members in alphabetical order. This year the U.S. leads the Security Council during the same busy time when nearly every world leader visits the UN for the annual General Assembly.
As Ambassador Rice said recently in a speech at NYU, we are steering a new course at the UN, putting into practice President Obama’s vision of a new era of engagement that advances America’s national security interests. September will be a critical month for this new approach, as the world’s attention zeroes in on the UN.
To give you a short recap of our first week with the Presidency of the Council: On Tuesday Ambassador Rice held comprehensive bilateral consultations with all of the other 14 members of the Council. Then on Wednesday, she chaired a meeting of the Council to adopt September’s program of work in closed consultations (the Security Council has a small consultations room located off of a hallway just outside the famous Council Chamber). Then Ambassador Rice held a lengthy press conference in the UN Press Briefing Room, where, among other things, she announced some new information about U.S. plans for the upcoming General Assembly session.
Some of the highlights from the press conference: On September 24, President Obama will become the first U.S. President to chair a Security Council Summit when he leads a session on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. On September 30, Secretary Clinton will chair a meeting on Women, and Peace and Security, to focus attention on the critical issue of violence against women in zones of conflict, and to consider adoption of a resolution as a follow-on to the landmark efforts put forth in Resolution 1820. And, also of note, on September 9, former President Bill Clinton will attend an open debate on the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in his role as the Secretary General’s special envoy.
Watch the video above to see Ambassador Rice talking in more depth about the President’s schedule, as well as answering questions on a number of key foreign policy challenges including North Korea, Sudan and Afghanistan, among others.
Finally, to wrap up the week, on Thursday and Friday the Council held meetings of the troop contributing countries for the UN Peacekeeping Missions in Liberia and Haiti, giving these contributing countries time to voice their positions before the Council formally discusses the status of those missions next week.
Stay tuned here, or at www.usun.state.gov, throughout September for more blogging, pictures and behind the scenes peeks at all of the action happening at UN Headquarters in New York.