Netherlands returns to UN Security Council; Immediately appointed President
The Netherlands was appointed President of the UN Security Council for this month, the government announced. That is a big honor and responsibility, especially given the fact that the Netherlands is only a temporary member of the Council for this year.
As president of the UN Security Council, the Netherlands will lead all meetings. The president also has an influence on what topics will be on the Council's agenda. "Modernizing peace missions and tackling root causes of conflict such as climate change are Dutch priorities in the Security Council", the government said.
The Netherlands currently has no Minister of Foreign Affairs, as Halbe Zijlstra resigned last month. Minister Sigrid Kaag of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation is acting as interim Minister of Foreign Affairs. She will travel to New York several times to personally lead Council meetings. On March 8th she will lead a Security Council meeting on extending the UN mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). And on March 22nd, Kaag will chair a meeting on the Chad Basin region in Africa. The region is facing a looming water shortage due to drought.
Kaag previously held high positions at the UN, so her acting as interim Foreign Minister will not be a problem, former diplomat Herman Schaper said to NOS. "Kaag knows the material, she knows the conversation partners and they know her", he said. "And the Netherlands is known as the country of stability. We are a solid country."
"As president of the Security Council, you are a crisis manager. You play a coordinating and decisive role in diplomatic procedure", Schaper, previously ambassador for the Netherlands at the UN and NATO and currently a senator for the D66, explained to the broadcaster. He believes the Netherlands will be able to make a difference in its four weeks of UN Security Council presidency. "Especially if there is suddenly a crisis somewhere in the world. But on the other hand, you won't solve the world's problems in four weeks."