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I should be grateful if the present letter and its annex could be circulated as a document of the Security Council.
2. The Council held 18 informal consultations and one private meeting, nine open briefings and public meetings as well as two open debates (on the Middle East and weapons of mass destruction). It adopted five resolutions (oil-for-food inquiry, children in armed conflict, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Western Sahara, Haiti) and five presidential statements (Afghanistan, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Iraq/Kuwait, Kosovo, Côte d’Ivoire). The mandate of the United Nations Mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was renewed for six months.
Middle East (including the question of Palestine)
20. The Council held an open debate on 19 April regarding the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. The meeting followed the targeted killing of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi on 17 April by Israel. In the meeting, delegations in general expressed their serious concern about the recent developments on the ground.
21. On 23 April, the Council held its monthly open briefing on the situation in the Middle East. The Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General, Terje Roed-Larsen, shared with the Council his assessment of the latest political developments, concentrating primarily on the Government of Israel’s announced Gaza withdrawal initiative. He said that he believed that the Gaza withdrawal, if carried out in the right way, could usher in a new era of peace-making in the Middle East. For this to happen, two main elements were necessary. First, the withdrawal should constitute an end of the occupation of the Gaza Strip, not merely a military redeployment. Second, the withdrawal would have to be accompanied by the implementation of other Palestinian and Israeli obligations under the road map. He appealed to the parties to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the withdrawal initiative, and to the international community to assist the parties therein. In informal consultations following the briefing, members of the Council agreed in general with the assessment of the situation given by the Special Coordinator.
22. Following prior informal consultations, a draft resolution demanding inter alia the cessation of extrajudicial killings was tabled as document S/2004/322 on 23 April. No action was taken.