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I have the honour to enclose the assessment of the Pakistan presidency of the Security Council for May 2003 (see annex). This has been prepared on my own authority, but I have consulted other members of the Council before submitting it.
I should be grateful if you would have the present letter and its annex circulated as a document of the Security Council.
Annex to the letter dated 20 August 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council
Assessment of the work of the Security Council during the presidency of Pakistan (May 2003)
During the presidency of Pakistan in May 2003, the agenda of the Security Council was dominated by Iraq and Africa, while issues of peace and security in Asia, Europe and the Middle East received active consideration.
Moreover, the Council received regular briefings on the situation in Afghanistan and the Middle East. The Council also renewed two peacekeeping mandates, those of the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor and the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara.
Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
During informal consultations on 2 May, the United States delegation referred to the issuance of the Quartet’s road map and underlined the need for a presidential statement welcoming that development. Expert-level consultations were proposed to consider the United States draft. The matter was not pursued further in view of divergent views expressed at the expert-level meeting on the draft statement.
On 19 May, the Secretary-General’s Personal Representative and Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Roed-Larsen, briefed the Council at an open meeting on the latest developments in the peace process. The Special Coordinator noted that, since the last briefing to the Council in April, there had been a tentative budding of a new and fragile Middle East peace process. He referred to the confirmation of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as the first Palestinian Prime Minister and the subsequent presentation to the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority of the Quartet’s road map for Middle East peace. The Special Coordinator pointed out that the road map’s goals included a viable, sovereign and democratic Palestine; a secure and prosperous Israel; and a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region. There was a need to temper optimism and hopefulness with the realistic understanding that the road map would be strewn with obstacles. Success would depend upon the good faith and performance of the parties and on the determination of the Quartet, key regional actors, and the broader international community.
According to the Special Coordinator, the road map represented the best chance to achieve peace and might well be the last chance to achieve a two-State solution for a very long time. He called upon the parties themselves to follow the road map, cooperate with each other in its implementation, and endure the challenges to its vision.
As for the situation along the Blue Line, the Special Coordinator reported that despite the tension the parties had acted with restraint and maintained an overall calm in the area. He nonetheless drew attention to continued breaches of the Blue Line reflected in Israeli air violations and anti-aircraft fire by Hizbullah. He called upon the Governments of Israel and Lebanon to cease the violations and fully respect the Blue Line.
In the consultations following the Special Coordinator’s briefing, the Council members underlined the importance of the Quartet’s road map as an internationally recognized and balanced framework for a lasting settlement. They hailed the meeting of Prime Minister Abbas and Prime Minister Sharon, noting that it was not coincidental that the latest violence had occurred in its wake. The Council members stressed that the new process under way should not be allowed to be derailed. They called upon the parties to implement the road map by taking the necessary steps, including the end of violence on the Palestinian side and the freezing of settlement activity on Israel’s part. As for the situation relating to Lebanon, the Council members echoed the Special Coordinator’s call and urged the parties to cease violations of the Blue Line.