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        Security Council
21 December 2001

Security Council
Fifty-sixth year

4445th meeting
Friday, 21 December 2001, 3 p.m.
New York

      Mr. Ouane
    Mr. Chowdhury
    Mr. Chen Xu
    Mr. Valdivieso
    Mr. Levitte
    Mr. Corr
    Miss Durrant
    Mr. Gokool
    Mr. Strømmen
      Russian Federation
    Mr. Granovsky
    Mr. Mahbubani
    Mr. Mejdoub
    Mr. Kuchinsky
      United Kingdom of Great Britain
      and Northern Ireland
    Sir Jeremy Greenstock
      United States of America
    Mr. Cunningham


Wrap-up discussion of the work of the Security Council for the current month.

The meeting was called to order at 3.20 p.m.

Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.

Wrap-up discussion of the work of the Security Council for the current month

The President (spoke in French): The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.

The monthly wrap-up meeting is an opportunity for members of the Council to take stock at the end of the month, to review what they have done and, possibly, to mention the results the Council has been able to achieve. By establishing these monthly reviews, the Council has given itself a tool that enables it to continuously rationalize and improve the way it carries out the tasks assigned to it by the Charter of the United Nations. It should make full use of the that tool’s potential.

I now invite members to proceed to an interactive and constructive exchange of views.


Mr. Mejdoub (Tunisia) (spoke in French): ...


I would like to dwell for a moment on the situation in the Middle East, and in particular the question of Palestine, to which Tunisia, both in its national capacity and as a country that represents the Arab world in the Security Council during its mandate, attaches the greatest importance. In this regard, I would like to reaffirm that my country remains firmly convinced that the Security Council has full and complete jurisdiction with respect to the maintenance of international peace and security in the region. The situation in the occupied Palestinian territories fits perfectly within the framework of the Council’s prerogatives, because this is a situation of occupation that is fraught with serious and systematic violations of international law and international humanitarian law.

Today, we feel duty-bound to note that the Security Council has been unable to play its due role over the past few years, particularly over the past 15 months marked by continued escalation during which the Council has been unable to act, with the exception, of course, of the adoption of resolution 1322 (2000) in October 2000. The role of the Council is neither exclusive nor contradictory to that played by other international actors, which we encourage to continue in their work. On the contrary, the Council’s role is complementary. The Council, which is the ultimate guarantor of international peace and security, must become more directly and more urgently involved in the situation in the Middle East. That is a region whose special sensitivity we know well and in which the Palestinian people and Arab public opinion, while frustrated, do not despair of one day being able to consign to the past a certain readiness to associate the United Nations with practising a policy of double standards.


Miss Durrant (Jamaica): ...


In Europe and Asia, we have also seen significant progress in the Balkans regions as a whole. Elections have been successfully held at the municipal level and at the provincial level in Kosovo. The United Nations mandate in Bosnia and Herzegovina is on track to a successful conclusion by the end of 2002. East Timor, a nation racked by severe violence in August 1999, will gain its independence in May of next year. The conflict situations in the Middle East remain unresolved, and the Security Council has not been able to make any lasting contribution to the search for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The unresolved issues with Iraq continue to pose a danger to the peace and security of the region and the international community.


Mr. Valdivieso (Colombia) (spoke in Spanish): ...


On the month’s programme of work, we must highlight the skilful way that, in scarcely two weeks, we dealt with the two situations of greatest tension in the world at the moment — Afghanistan and the Middle East — and we were updated on the status of other conflicts on the Council’s agenda, conflicts in Africa. As we are not going into substance at this wrap-up meeting of the items on our agenda, I want to limit myself to three comments.


Sir Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom): ...


The one subject on which we have not yet begun to take the cumulative approach is clearly the Middle East peace process, and the Council suffers from that. Any other subject on which we tried to reach base with one jump would also suffer from stalemate, inoperability and unachievability.

The discussion we had with the Secretary-General the other day at lunch indicates a very interesting alternative approach to the Middle East peace process dilemma that we face: to treat it more often as an operational subject than as a subject for political statement, hearing those who should properly be heard on the question, discussing it with them and having more frequent briefings from the Secretary-General and his team. That would make a much better inroad into such a difficult subject than the occasional dramas that do not get us anywhere. Let us think about that further.


Mr. Chen Xu (China) (spoke in Chinese): ...


After the new wave of turbulence in the Middle East, the Council held discussions in a timely fashion on the conflict between Palestine and Israel. Although no resolutions were adopted, the convening of the meeting itself represented the importance the Council attaches to this issue.


Mr. Gokool (Mauritius): ...

The programme of work prepared by the Mali delegation for the month of December was, if I may say so, a programme d’actualité. Issues such as the situation in Afghanistan, in the Middle East and in the Central African Republic, which have polarized world attention in recent weeks, have been dealt with in the most adequate manner under your presidency.


Mr. Corr (Ireland): ...


On the Middle East — a final point on our agenda this month — Ireland welcomes the fact that we were able to hold a debate. We think it was useful. It was unfortunate that the Council was not able to achieve consensus at the conclusion of it. But the fact that we held the debate and had an exchange of views was is in itself valuable, and we welcome that.

Ms. D’Achon (France) (spoke in French): ...


The second item on which the Council reacted to tragic events and showed that it could deal once again with a sensitive conflict — even though it was not able to reach an agreement — is the situation in the Middle East. As Ambassador Greenstock said earlier, ideas were put forward on how we might continue to make progress on that issue, one that we will certainly continue to work on in the months to come.


The meeting rose at 5.25 p.m.

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