Portugal’s two-year mandate at the United Nations Security Council ends on December 31, after having won a close election against bids from Germany and Canada, in late 2010.
Portugal assumed its first rotating monthly presidency of the Security Council on November, 2010. Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva lead the first debate on November 9, focusing on the issue of protection of civilians during civil conflicts.
The Security Council presidency rotates among Council members in the English alphabetical order of their names. Each president of the Council holds office for one calendar month.
Speaking at the last intervention of the two-year mandate, Portuguese Foreign Minister, Paulo Portas, said “It was an honor to follow all of you over these two years. Sooner rather than later I believe we will be back.”
The Portuguese top diplomat reminded in his speech that it had been “a particularly intense two years” with important decisions, including the democratic transitions in Libya, whose panel Portugal chaired, and Yemen.
Portas also met with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the situation in the Middle East and the Portuguese seapking Guinea-Bissau and East Timor. He regretted that the Council had been unable to contribute effectively to stop the violence in Syria.
He mentioned the “success story” of the Timorese people, the United Nations effort in maintaining and consolidating peace in the territory and the “particular pride” of Portugal for having “actively participated in this undertaking.”
During its mandate at the United Nations Security Council, Portugal was among the 10 non-permanent members working with the Council’s five permanent members — China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States — to maintain world peace and security.