Under the presidency of Japan in October 2006, the Security Council made its timely recommendation for the appointment of Mr. Ban Ki-moon as Secretary-General by adopting resolution 1715 (2006), and took swift action regarding the nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by issuing a presidential statement and adopting resolution 1718 (2006). The Council also extended the mandates of peacekeeping missions in Georgia, the Sudan, and Western Sahara and established an integrated office in Burundi, as well as addressing a wide range of issues, in particular those in Africa. In addition, the Council convened one thematic open debate on women and peace, and security.
During the month of October, the Security Council held 17 official meetings and 20 consultations of the whole. It adopted seven resolutions and three presidential statements. The President also made three statements to the press on behalf of the Security Council.
The Middle East, including the Palestinian question
On 19 October, after consultations of the whole, the Council held its monthly public meeting on the situation in the Middle East, during which the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Alvaro de Soto, briefed the members on the latest developments in the region. Focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he drew attention to the continuing deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in Gaza as well as the internal strife within the Palestinian Authority. In order to halt these trends and open a path to dialogue, he urged the formation of a government of national unity capable of garnering the support of the international community. He also touched upon the situation in Lebanon, stressing that, despite momentum generated in the implementation of resolution 1701 (2006) following the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah that had been brought to an end on 14 August, the serious political tensions in the country remained a source of concern.
In the ensuing debate, most Council members expressed the view that the Palestinian Government must clearly demonstrate its commitment to achieving coexistence with Israel through dialogue in order to make progress in the peace process. Most members also reaffirmed their support for the full implementation of resolution 1701 (2006) and previous resolutions relating to the sovereignty of Lebanon. In addition to the Council members, the representatives of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, Israel, Bahrain, Finland, Cuba, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran made statements.