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I enclose the assessment of the United Kingdom Presidency of the Security Council for July 2002 (see annex). This has been prepared on my own authority, but I have consulted other members of the Council before submitting it. I should be grateful if you would circulate it as a document of the Security Council.
Annex to the letter dated 31 July 2002 from the Permanent Representative
of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the
United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council
Assessment of the work of the Security Council
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (July 2002)
During July, the President of the Council held two meetings with the Arab troika, as well as the Permanent Observer of Palestine. On 17 July, the Secretary-General briefed Council members on the meeting of the “quartet” (United Nations, Russian Federation, United States of America and European Union), at which he had represented the United Nations, and that group’s subsequent meeting with three Arab representatives. On 18 July, the Council agreed on a statement by its President (S/PRST/2002/20), which supported the quartet’s joint statement. Late on 23 July, the President of the Council received a request for an urgent meeting of the Council. The Council held a debate on the situation during the evening of 24 July, at which many non-members took the opportunity to make their views known. During the week of 22 July, Council members discussed the situation on several occasions. The Arab Group, through the Syrian Arab Republic as its representative on the Council, circulated a draft resolution for consideration. There being no immediate agreement on the text, no action was taken on the draft.
United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
The Secretary-General issued a report on the situation in southern Lebanon which recommended an extension of the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) until 31 January 2003. The Security Council held a meeting with troop-contributing countries and members discussed the report in informal consultations. The Council adopted resolution 1428 (2002), in which it endorsed the Secretary-General’s report and extended the mandate of UNIFIL, as recommended, and requested the Secretariat to continue with its plans to reconfigure the Force by the end of 2002.
Informal consultations on the Middle East Peace Process, 17 July 2002
Q: Mr Ambassador any reaction to the bombing of Israel about an hour and half ago?
- I let the Council know that that news flash had come in, and there was immediate regret expressed around the table that violence was continuing.
Q: What was the response to the draft Presidential Statement on the Quartet Statement?
- That was received very positively and we hope for a decision early tomorrow.
Informal consultations on Western Sahara, UNIFIL and Sudan, 24 July 2002
Q: Ambassador, what would are your plans for discussion on the resolution being circulated by the Arabs?
- I have to see the text of the resolution, they are coming to see me at 15.00 this afternoon. Thank you very much.
Consultations on the Middle East, 26 July 2002
We had further formal consultations this afternoon, as you predicted to me at 1230. There is now a draft on the table. You have seen it. It was tabled by the Syrian Arab delegation this afternoon and there was a first round of discussion on that draft. Most of the Members of the Council who spoke wished to have time to consult their capitals on the draft. One delegation made it clear that they would have considerable difficulties with the draft. It is further the feeling amongst those Members of the Council who spoke that it would be right to move forward if at all possible, with full consensus on this issue. It is an important issue in front of the Council. With those sentiments expressed, I adjourned the meeting and said that people should be in a position on Monday morning to express considered views from their Governments on this draft. We will see where we stand at that point. There was no other business other than the Middle East discussed this afternoon.
Q: Ambassador, in your capacity as UK Representative what do you see unreasonable in the draft?
- I don’t have instructions on this draft. I too am consulting my capital.
Q: Ambassador, do you think there is anything that can be added to rafts of resolutions you have regards to the Middle East at this moment to move the situation?
- I wouldn’t say that the Council had nothing to offer on this issue at all. So I would not give a negative to that. But we have to calculate very carefully how we add to the prospects for the parties to this dispute getting out of the difficulties they find themselves in. That is the most important aspect of this as I see it as President of the Council. I think the whole Council is keen to support the prospects for a return to negotiations. The Quartet and other emissaries did important work on this last week and I think the Council is very keen to maximise the opportunities for that bearing fruit. Unfortunately there was a nasty incident of violence in Gaza between then and now and that has to be dealt with. And the Council may, early next week, have something to offer on that.
Q: Ambassador, the report that the American Ambassador laid out some conditions for resolutions of this, what is your view of that?
- Neither as President nor as UK will I comment on the views of the United States on this. You will need to ask the US Ambassador.
Q: But what is your view of a Member laying out conditions?
- It is entirely his prerogative to do that and I think he did it perfectly fairly. But what those views are, they were in a confidential discussion, and how he takes them forward is entirely a matter for the US delegation. I think that the UK would always want a resolution to have elements of balance that take the whole situation forward in a fair way on the basis of previous resolutions.
Q: Ambassador, even with the reference to the cessation of all form of terror this is unreasonable to the Council?
- I am not saying that element is unreasonable, no.
Consultations on Georgia; Western Sahara; the Middle East, 29 July 2002
On the Middle East situation, we had a further discussion to see whether there was any progress on the draft, which the Arab Group put down on Friday afternoon. That draft did not make any further progress this morning. There will be further corridor consultations on that. And groups interested in that outside the Council are looking at the current situation. If necessary we will take it up tomorrow afternoon in informal consultations.
Tomorrow morning there will be a formal meeting to hear a briefing on Kosovo, from the Special Representative Mr Michael Steiner. We will then follow that with informal consultations, continuing into the afternoon at 1530 on the Middle East, if necessary, and on Western Sahara. There are indications that the current draft on Western Sahara will need further discussion. But I believe we can make further progress on that draft with discussion. That leaves Wednesday on the programme to complete our business on UNIFIL in Lebanon, which needs to be settled before the end of the month, and to take action on Western Sahara, which is also necessary before the end of the month, or on the Middle East.
Q: Ambassador, would you be following up with any personal consultations on the Middle East?
- Nothing further today, tomorrow afternoon is the next opportunity for that.