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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


Security Council
4466th Meeting (PM)
SC/7291
31 January 2002



SECURITY COUNCIL HIGHLIGHTS ISSUES CONCERNING AFGHANISTAN, AFRICA,

MIDDLE EAST, TERRORISM, IN ‘WRAP UP’ MEETING FOR JANUARY


The Security Council had tried to strike a balance in January by focusing on Afghanistan, the Middle East and terrorism, while at the same time highlighting conflicts in Africa, Security Council President Jagdish Koonjul of Mauritius told Council members in the monthly “wrap up” meeting today.

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The representative from Syria noted that, for the first time, the Council had organized a briefing session on the Middle East.  For years, he had been looking forward to regular debates on that explosive region, which truly threatened international peace and security.

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Background

The Security Council met today in a “wrap up” session to review the work it had completed during the month of January, under the presidency of Mauritius.

Statements

JAGDISH KOONJUL (Mauritius), in his capacity as President of the Security Council, said the Council tried to strike a balance during January by adequately addressing Afghanistan, the Middle East and terrorism, while, at the same time, refocusing attention on conflict situations in Africa.  He was pleased that the public meeting on the situation in Africa, with the participation of the Secretary-General of the Organization for African Unity (OAU), had attracted several ministers from both Council and non-Council members.

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Yesterday, the Council had begun regular briefings on the situation in the Middle East, which had remained a footnote to the Council’s programme of work for too long.  The briefing by Terje Roed-Larsen, Special Coordinator of the Secretary-General for the Middle East Process, had been particularly useful, since he was actually operating in the field and could provide Council members with first-hand information.

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SHEN GUOFANG (China) ...

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Regarding the conflict between Palestine and Israel, yesterday’s discussion had been insufficient.  He hoped the Council would expand its focus on that issue. It was a pity the Security Council could not play a greater role.

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YVES DOUTRIAUX (France) said he appreciated the format used for the meeting on counter-terrorism and felt that the Council should repeat that type of format with non-members.  The debate on Africa had been excellent, and the Council would in future focus on the question of sanctions.  France intended to make a proposal concerning a permanent mechanism on sanctions.

He added that the Council had shown its commitment to the Middle East in January and must continue to hold meetings on that issue.

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MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) ...

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He noted that, for the first time, the Council had organized a briefing session on the Middle East.  For years, he had been looking forward to such regular discussions of the situation in that explosive region, which truly threatened international peace and security.  The briefing by the Secretary-General’s representative, Mr. Roed-Larsen, had been informative and encouraging.  That had provided further, accurate information about the situation on the ground. Indeed, that briefing had been a first step on the road to realigning the Council’s work in that regard.  In many countries, the Council was often accused of having double standards, particularly when debating Middle East issues.

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       MARTIN BELINGA-EBOUTOU (Cameroon) ...

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      He concluded that the Middle East was of great concern, and he would like to have seen more attention focused on it.  He hoped that would be the case in the future.



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For information media - not an official record