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Lebanon assumed the presidency of the Security Council in May 2010, during which month the Council engaged in a constructive and comprehensive programme of work that addressed a range of regional and thematic issues. The regional issues included: Chad/Central African Republic, Nepal, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Sudan/Darfur, Djibouti, Côte d’Ivoire, Nepal, the Middle East including the Palestinian question, Iraq, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The thematic topics comprised: cooperation between the United Nations and the regional and subregional organizations (European Union); the counter-terrorism Committees: the Committees established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1373 (2001) and 1540 (2004); United Nations peacekeeping operations; intercultural dialogue for peace and security; and the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006).
During the month, the Council held nine consultations, nine briefings, one private meeting, one open debate and three debates. The Council issued two statements to the press and adopted five resolutions on the extension of mandates of United Nations peacekeeping missions.
The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
On 18 May, the Council heard a briefing by the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General, Robert Serry, on recent developments in the region.
The Special Coordinator told the Council that the proximity talks had commenced and that their goal, as stated by the Quartet on 19 March in Moscow, was the resolution of all core issues, an end to the 1967 occupation, and two States living side by side in peace and security. He stressed the scale of the unmet needs of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza and urged an end to the Israeli blockade of the Strip.
In the consultations of the whole that followed, members of the Council expressed support for the proximity talks. A number of members called on both parties not to engage in provocative acts and for an end to settlement activity. Many members expressed their grave concern at the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and called for the full implementation of resolution 1860 (2009). Some members called for the immediate opening of Gaza’s border crossings.
On 31 May, at the request of Turkey and Lebanon, the Council held an emergency meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. During the meeting, the Council heard a briefing by the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, on the Israeli military operation against the convoy sailing to Gaza.
The Assistant Secretary-General told the Council that, on that same morning, Israeli forces had boarded a six-ship convoy that was sailing in the Mediterranean Sea en route to the Gaza Strip in an attempt to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza and to break the Israeli blockade. He said that the Israeli navy had intercepted the convoy and that Israeli military personnel had boarded the vessels.
All 15 Council members spoke, including the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoğlu, who condemned the attack against the Gaza flotilla and demanded an urgent inquiry into the incident. A representative of Israel and the Permanent Observer of Palestine participated in the meeting and made statements.
In the extensive consultations of the whole that followed, members of the Council agreed on a presidential statement (S/PRST/2010/9), which was adopted in the early hours of 1 June 2010, under the Mexican presidency of the Security Council.