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Security Council welcomes targeted sanctions as useful tool

Security Council welcomes targeted sanctions as useful tool

Ambassador Gunter Pleuger
United Nations Security Council members today welcomed targeted sanctions as a useful tool to focus pressure on specific states and entities while minimizing the unintended impact on civilian populations and non-targeted states and entities.

In a statement to the press following the Council's open meeting on the so-called Stockholm Process, the President of the 15-nation body, Ambassador Gunter Pleuger of Germany, said that members urged further work to refine the tool of targeted sanctions.

They also welcomed Sweden's initiative to launch the Stockholm Process, the third step in an international course of action dealing with targeted sanctions based on proposals presented by Switzerland and Germany, the Council President said. The initiative "has provided a valuable contribution to the debate on how to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations system and of Member States to implement targeted sanctions," he added. "A number of concrete recommendations have been put forward to this effect."

Speaking at the outset of the Council's meeting, Hans Dahlgren, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, presented the Stockholm Process's final report. He said sanctions were "something between words and war," and that like other tools, they could be truly effective only if they were sharp enough, focused enough, and designed for the particular operation they were intended to perform.

Targeted sanctions were designed to focus specifically on the individuals, or other entities, that are responsible for threats to, and breaches of, international peace and security, Mr. Dahlgren said. Ideally, they would leave other parts of the population unaffected, as well as international trade relations.

There had been growing concern over the negative effects of economic sanctions on vulnerable populations and overall societies, he added. The collateral effects of sanctions on third States had been highlighted, and rightly so. At the same time, many key actors intended to be the targets of sanctions have evaded and circumvented those measures by different means. The Stockholm process recommended different strategies, depending on the type of sanctions, to counter sanctions evasion and maintain the accuracy of sanctions.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Danilo Turk, stressed the need for enhanced monitoring accompanied by other ways of ensuring that States have the capacity to effectively implement targeted sanctions.

"There are a number of key elements that need to be addressed," he said, "including, among others: improving coordination among all relevant actors; organizing the design and use of sanctions lists; and studying ways by which to probe the deterrent value of targeted Security Council sanctions and their integration into an overall strategy for preventive diplomacy.