Zijlstra and Guterres discuss Netherlands’ membership of Security Council

On Friday foreign minister Halbe Zijlstra spoke at length with UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Mr Zijlstra also attended a debate at the UN Security Council, which the Kingdom of the Netherlands will join on 1 January for a one-year term.

‘I believe we should make credible and constructive proposals in the Security Council in 2018,’ said the minister. ‘This is the only way to be effective, and to achieve results instead of vetoes.’ He told the Secretary-General that the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten would focus on issues that are in keeping with the Kingdom’s experience and expertise.
 
One such issue is preventing conflicts by tackling the deeper causes of instability at the earliest possible stage. Justice, as a prerequisite for a lasting peace in places like Syria and Yemen, is another key issue which the Netherlands, as the home of various UN courts and tribunals, is keen to address. The Kingdom of the Netherlands would also like to contribute to effective, well-equipped peacekeeping operations, so as to provide the best possible protection to people in conflict zones.
 
As Mr Zijlstra noted, ‘These issues are in our DNA. By pursuing our interests, defending our values and sharing our experience, whether with water management or our mission in Mali, we would like to make a real difference in the Security Council.’ The minister and Mr Guterres also looked ahead to the Secretary-General’s planned visit to the Netherlands next week, when Mr Guterres will attend the closing ceremony of the ICTY and a kick-off ceremony for the Netherlands’ membership of the Security Council.
 
While in New York, Mr Zijlstra spoke with the Dutch team which is hard at work on finishing up the preparations for the country’s Security Council membership. This will be the sixth time the Kingdom has been a non-permanent member of the world’s most important international peace and security body. The last time was 18 years ago, for the 1999-2000 term. During the Kingdom’s time on the Council, Mr Zijlstra will be travelling regularly to New York. One such trip will be in March, the month when the Kingdom will hold the Council’s rotating presidency.