Sweden launches UN Security Council presidency with a New Year’s resolution

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Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom (L) reacts after Sweden won a seat during the Election of five non-permanent members of the Security Council at the general assembly hall at the United Nations in New York on June 28, 2016. KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images
Sweden’s UN ambassador Olof Skoog said Tuesday that he has urged his Security Council colleagues to make a New Year’s resolution: to work together in a respectful way and to be focused on results.

Skoog spoke at a New York press conference as Sweden began its two-year stint on the Security Council, as well as its month-long presidency.

There were mixed reactions when Sweden was elected to join the Security Council in the summer, but on Tuesday Skoog said he is positive that Sweden can help bring the members together, even if the vow sounded like a “typical naive Swedish way” of thinking, he said.

“We have a very strong sense that the Security Council has not always been as effective as it should have,” Skoog said. “But we want now, as we take over the presidency of the council, really to try to change the way things are going.”

Skoog said it is important that members do not only try to protect their own national interests and explained that they should serve “the people who are of this world looking to the United Nations Security Council as the main body in protecting them from conflict and humanitarian crises and violations of international humanitarian law, all of which are at a low right now.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada stresses diplomacy and cooperation at Ottawa Arctic conference, Eye on the Arctic

Denmark:  Nordics to step up security cooperation on perceived Russian threat, Yle News

Norway:  Arctic Council aims to boost business, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia:  Russia invites Arctic Council on icebreaker tour, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden:   Arctic Council – From looking out to looking in, Blog by Mia Bennett, Cryopolitics

United States: Arctic Council – 20 years in a warming world, Deutsche Welle’s Iceblogger

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