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In the absence of the President, Miss Clarke (Barbados), Vice-President, took the Chair.
The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.
Agenda items 11 and 40 ( continued)
Report of the Security Council (A/57/2 and A/57/2/Corr.1)
Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters
Mr. Wehbe (Syrian Arab Republic) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
/... During the period under consideration, the Security Council achieved remarkable progress in making its work more transparent. There was participation by non-Council members, which were able to express their views on the political issues being discussed and on finding solutions to them. The Council held final meetings in which members and non-members frankly evaluated its work. Under the presidency of Syria in June, the Council held a great number of meetings in which it discussed issues related to various regions — whether to the Middle East, Africa, Asia or Europe — or specific issues such as combating international terrorism or promoting the role of the Security Council or of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, at various levels. In addition, a final meeting was held to evaluate the Council’s work in terms of the principle of transparency.
One of the first issues presented by Syria — to which the Council responded last January — was the conducting of a monthly briefing on the Middle East. One of these briefings was presided over by Mr. Farouk Al-Shara’, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic, and in others, the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, and other high-level United Nations officials discussed developments in the Middle East. It has become clear that such briefings represent an advanced step in the way in which the Council deals with one of the most tense regions in the world. They also place on the shoulders of Member States the requisite responsibility to put an end to Israeli practices and Israeli occupation, with a view to finding a comprehensive and just solution to the Middle East problem, based on the relevant Security Council resolutions and on the Madrid terms of reference, as well as on the Arab initiative adopted at the Beirut Summit, held in March.
Also during the past period, the Security Council discussed many substantive matters, including in the areas of peacekeeping operations, the protection of women and children in armed conflict and terrorism. The Council was successful in addressing many of those issues. It made tangible progress, and we are trying our best to improve the Council’s work in that direction. Yet we should like to state that, in the period under consideration and the preceding period, the Council could not follow up on the implementation of the resolutions it had adopted. That encouraged certain parties — especially in the conflict areas in Africa and in the Middle East — not to respond to Council resolutions. They have ignored those resolutions. As conflicts become more protracted, the matter becomes more sensitive, especially when they relate to resolutions adopted by the Security Council, under the provisions of the Charter, for the maintenance of international peace and security. In such situations, the Council has been unable to maintain international peace and security.
We believe that lack of follow-up on the implementation of the Security Council’s resolutions will have a negative effect on the Council’s role and on the international community’s view of the Council. All of us know, for instance, that Israel has rejected, ignored and refused to implement the Council’s resolutions — resolutions that should have been implemented with the Council’s insistence. If the resolutions had been implemented during the past few decades, peace and security would have prevailed in the Middle East.
The Council has adopted 29 resolutions regarding Israel, none of which have been implemented. Some members insist on the implementation of certain resolutions, but not of others. We would like to state that all Security Council resolutions and positions should be implemented on an equal footing, with no double standards. We call for complete respect for the Charter’s articles, underscoring the obligatory need for implementation of all Security Council resolutions by all States, without exception.
The Acting President : I now give the floor to the representative of Iraq.
Mr. Aldouri (Iraq) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
The Council is acting in accordance with the wishes of parties that exercise hegemonic control over its decision-making. The Council is not acting on behalf of the Member States. We blame the Council for its selectivity in dealing with issues. Such selectivity is evident not only in the Council’s relationship with Iraq but also in the blatant example of the Council’s approach to the Palestinian question. In that respect the Council has adopted a nonchalant position, given the massacres perpetrated daily by the Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian people and the disregard shown for their inalienable rights, especially their right to self-determination.
One single member of the Council has made the Palestinian question impossible to resolve, even from the humanitarian point of view. The Palestinian people are struggling to free their land and to recover their rights. If the Council cannot offer them any humanitarian protection, how can the international community have faith that the Security Council will find a political solution to the Palestinian problem in accordance with the Charter and international law?
Mr. Kuchinsky (Ukraine): ...
Regarding the Middle East, having adopted historic resolution 1397 (2001), which affirmed the vision of a region where two States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders, the Council established a clear political perspective for achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. In its subsequent resolutions on the issue, namely 1402 (2002), 1403 (2002), 1405 (2002) and, most recently, 1435 (2002), the Council clearly spelled out its demands for the immediate steps to be taken by the parties to move towards that goal. It is really unfortunate that those resolutions were followed on the ground with intensifying violence and terror, further complicating the work of the Security Council.
Mr. Valdes (Chile) (spoke in Spanish ): ...
We appreciate the attention paid by the Security Council to the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine, the gravity of which leaves no room for indifference. But it does not seem possible to ignore the fact that the threat of the use of the veto in this matter has frequently paralysed the Council, often stripping its decisions of effectiveness. Who is not aware that the tragedy of Palestine and Israel is one of the issues — if not the central issue — in present day international relations? Who can fail to recognize that the international community has decided to intervene, and has in fact intervened, in situations with lesser dimensions and whose threat to international peace and security is much more remote? How much more deterioration in the appalling living conditions of the decimated Palestinian people — and how many more murders due to terrorism in Israel — can mankind tolerate? As the Secretary-General has suggested, the international community should intervene in this conflict, creating the conditions in which the parties involved can resume negotiations leading to lasting peace.
Mr. Vento (Italy): ...
In the past year, the members of the Security Council have dedicated more attention to improving the transparency and openness of its working methods. That is commendable. The Council’s wrap-up sessions have further proved a useful opportunity to assess the monthly work and to consider how its substance and procedural aspects can be improved. For those who, from outside the Council, make a responsible contribution, under Council mandate, to the maintenance of peace in various troubled regions of the world, from the Balkans to Afghanistan, from Africa to the Middle East, it is important to be able to concur with Security Council decisions. Allowing us to participate more frequently in the Council’s proceedings will, to some extent, enable us to express our views on issues of direct interest to the international community. Further progress along those lines is therefore recommended.
Mr. Kumalo (South Africa): ...
We welcome the improvement in the format of the report on the work of the Security Council. Its contents reaffirm that the preceding year has been one of the busiest in the Council’s history. Although the report has fewer pages than in previous years, it can benefit from further review by the Members. Member States would have appreciated an overall assessment of the work that is brought before the Council and of how Council members arrived at some of their most difficult decisions. For example, the Security Council narrative on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question” does not explain the reasoning behind some decisions taken on this important issue.
My delegation, acting in our capacity as Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, submitted two letters to the Security Council addressing the situation in Palestine. In March 2002, we requested the Security Council to consider inviting Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel and President Yasser Arafat of Palestine to come to New York to discuss the situation in the Middle East with the Security Council. In April 2002, we reminded the Council of the recommendation already made by some of the NAM members that the Security Council visit Israel and Palestine at the earliest opportunity to familiarize itself with the situation on the ground. In both cases, we were unable to convince the Council to act on these suggestions and we have yet to understand why the Security Council dismissed these suggestions. Perhaps the report of the Council could have been used to throw more light on the thinking of the Council on such complicated issues.
The meeting rose at 1.15 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.