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72nd plenary meeting
Monday, 11 December 2006, 10 a.m.
The meeting was called to order at 10.30 a.m.
Agenda items 9 and 111
Report of the Security Council (A/61/2)
Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters
The President : ...
I now give the floor to the President of the Security Council, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, to introduce the report of the Security Council.
Mr. Al-Nasser (Qatar) (spoke in Arabic ): On behalf of all members of the Security Council, I would like to offer my congratulations to you, Madam, on your election as President of the General Assembly at its sixty-first session. It is my sincere hope that, during your tenure, relations between the Security Council and the General Assembly will continue to develop and strengthen so that each body may discharge its responsibilities in conformity with the vision set out in the Charter of the United Nations.
I have the honour, in my capacity as President of the Security Council for the month of December 2006, to introduce the annual report of the Council to the General Assembly in document A/61/2. The report I present today covers the period from 1 August 2005 to 31 July 2006.
Another region receiving considerable attention from the Council was the Middle East, where turmoil and violence escalated. Regarding Iraq, the Security Council on several occasions expressed concern at the ongoing violence in the country, while noting on other occasions the positive constitutional and electoral developments there. The Council extended the mandate of the Multination Force for 12 additional months.
The Council continued to receive monthly briefings from the Secretariat about the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine, where the security and humanitarian situation had deteriorated considerably due to the escalation of violence, which threatened to further derail the peace process. On 24 August 2005, the Council heard in a public meeting a briefing following the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, and issued a press statement emphasizing the importance of full disengagement as a first step towards resumption of the peace process. In a presidential statement of 23 September, the Council supported the most recent statement by the Quartet in that regard. In another presidential statement, the Council welcomed the successful opening of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt. This year, in a statement by the President, after congratulating the Palestinian people on holding legislative elections, the Council failed to reach agreement on a number of presidential and press statements that it considered on the situation in the Middle East. The Council also failed to adopt a draft resolution on the situation in the Middle East.
As violence escalated in the Gaza Strip, hostilities erupted across the Israeli-Lebanese border in July, causing a large number of casualties in a short time, which prompted the Security Council to express its shock at the firing by the Israeli Defence Forces on a United Nations observer post and, three days later, at the shelling of a residential building in southern Lebanon. The political situation in Lebanon also received the attention of the Security Council, which held a public meeting on 21 April in which the Lebanese Prime Minister participated, and continued to monitor the implementation of resolution 1559 (2004). Also concerning Lebanon, the Council continued to receive updates from the International Independent Investigation Commission regarding the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. While supporting the work of the Commission, the Council adopted resolution 1664 (2006) requesting the Secretary-General to negotiate an agreement with the Government of Lebanon aimed at establishing a tribunal of an international character.
Mr. Kryzhanivskyi (Ukraine): I have the honour to speak today on behalf of the GUAM countries, namely, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
The situation in the Middle East is a source of deep concern for the GUAM countries. Recent events in Lebanon and the continuing Israeli-Palestinian crisis have shown the need for more decisive efforts by the Security Council to restore peace and stability in that region. The GUAM delegations commend the Council’s efforts aimed at the implementation of resolution 1701 (2006). Establishing a robust United Nations peacekeeping force with a focus on the principles of a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution, and entrusting the Secretary-General with significant authority in peacemaking are laudable innovations in the Council’s overall approach to the region’s problems.
Mr. Hachani (Tunisia) (spoke in French ): ...
In terms of content, the report before us notes that the Security Council has acted with resolve to address a large number of conflicts in several areas of the world, including by dispatching Council missions to the field. In the Middle East, however, the Council’s efforts continue to fall short of expectations. The frustration at the Council’s repeated inability to fulfil its responsibilities and to become more involved in settling the Palestinian question poses a great threat to the region and to the Council’s authority.
Prince Mishal Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud (Saudi Arabia) ( spoke in Arabic ): ...
Saudi Arabia would also like to express its disillusionment at the lack of effectiveness of Security Council resolutions and policies and at the double standards apparent in some of the Council’s work, particularly on issues related to peace and security in the Middle East. That has resulted in Israel’s continued occupation of Arab territory and in its thwarting of international efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.
The world has witnessed Israel’s aggressions against Lebanon and the Palestinian territories in a war that that has caused systematic and premeditated destruction of infrastructure. National and humanitarian rights have been violated, civilians and innocent people have been killed or detained and massacres have been perpetrated. All of those actions were carried out in violation of international agreements and instruments. Israel’s policy of hegemony and occupation and its expansionist and racist actions in the region are continuing, owing to a lack of concern by certain States and the support by other States for that policy.
The Council is thus unable to take important decisions in this regard, despite the fact that the Arab countries expressed their genuinely peaceful intentions during the Arab Summit in Beirut in 2001 by supporting an initiative proposed by His Majesty King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for the establishment of just and comprehensive peace, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), leading to the signature of a peace treaty for the full restitution of Palestinian and other occupied Arab territory, within an independent Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Mr. Abdelaziz (Egypt) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
Undoubtedly, the inability of the Council to face up to Israeli violations, such as the recent Beit Hanoun massacre, as a consequence of the use of the veto by one permanent member, as well as its failure to put an end to the Israeli aggression against the people and the territory of Lebanon, as a result of the 34-day obstruction by the same permanent member of the adoption of a resolution calling for a ceasefire, during which the people of Lebanon were subjected to mass killings, categorically prove that the existing formulas and balance of power within the Council must be reformed.
The meeting rose at 1.05 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.