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In the absence of the President, Miss Clarke (Barbados), Vice-President, took the Chair.
The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.
Agenda items 11 and 40 ( continued)
Report of the Security Council (A/57/2 and A/57/2/Corr.1)
Question of equitable representation on and
increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters: report of the Open-ended Working Group
Mr. Grey-Johnson (Gambia): ...
The spiralling cycle of violence in the Middle East, in the year under review, has caused havoc and devastation in terms of loss of property and human life. Sadly, the pleas made by the Council to the parties to the conflict through the numerous resolutions that it passed have all fallen on deaf ears. That regrettable situation only undermines the authority of the Security Council and puts its efficacy in serious question. The United Nations Charter enjoins us all to eschew war and to adhere to peaceful means of resolving conflicts between nations. It is the responsibility of the members of the Security Council to ensure that all nations of the world — big or small, strong or weak — adhere to that sacred principle of the United Nations. Not to do so would amount to the Council’s abdication of its responsibility and its betrayal of the trust confided in it.
Mr. Rosenthal (Guatemala) (spoke in Spanish): ...
The report that we have received this year (A/57/2) represents a step in the right direction to correct the situation I have just described. It is an improvement in respect of its length, because it is much shorter, and content, because it is more analytical. Although it does not fully meet our expectations, at least it fulfils the task of keeping the General Assembly duly informed on the Council’s copious work programme during the period under review.
That programme reveals important advances that are also achievements of the United Nations. Noteworthy among them are the developments in events with regard to Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region. The same can be said about Afghanistan and the operations carried out in the Balkans with the participation of the United Nations. And, although one cannot speak of progress in the Middle East — rather, the contrary is certainly the case — at least the Security Council’s deliberations have contributed to keeping that matter on the priority agenda and to giving the United Nations an opportunity to participate in the work of the Quartet to find ways out of the situation.
Mr. Levitte (France) ( spoke in French ): ...
During the period 2001-2002, the members of the Council pursued a policy of transparency in their work, as is shown by the record number of public meetings held in the period under review — meetings that facilitated fruitful discussion.
But it is the quality of the debates, rather than the quantity of the meetings, that counts. The interactive character of such discussions could, of course, be improved. Our public debates do meet the legitimate expectation of the members of the General Assembly that they be regularly informed about major issues. At the request of members of the Council, the Secretariat also is now regularly making public statements on such important questions as the Middle East and Afghanistan, two issues that have given rise to such a large part of the Council’s work since the publication of the last annual report.
Mr. Effah-Apenteng (Ghana): ...
We are particularly appreciative of the effort that has been made to accommodate the views of Member States in the introduction of the report, which attempts to provide an analytical summary of the work of the Council for the period under review. While recognizing this as a step in the right direction towards transparency, we urge the Council to work assiduously to improve upon the analytical framework since, as presently constituted, the report lacks the requisite information needed to evaluate the Council’s work.
In this regard, my delegation would have appreciated a frank assessment by members of the Council of their work, especially since, for the first time, they took the welcome step of discussing the report before adopting it for submission to the General Assembly. For example, the section on the Middle East could have been more informative on problems the Council encountered in implementing its resolutions. Similarly, the portion on the all-important issue of sanctions was given scant treatment.
Mr. Gaspar Martins (Angola): ...
In accordance with the Charter, the Security Council is a guarantor of international peace and security. This year was one of the busiest in the history of the Council. During the period under review, many issues have figured on the Council’s agenda, such as international terrorism, the Middle East crisis, Afghanistan, the Great Lakes region crisis, the peace process in Angola, Western Sahara, Sierra Leone, East Timor and, of course, more recently, Iraq, which has kept the Council very busy.
In the Middle East, a resurgent wave of violence may challenge the efforts being made toward a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian problem as well as the Israeli-Arab crisis. We would welcome efforts by the Security Council towards facilitating a return to the negotiating table to seek a political formula that will satisfy the political and security interests of all inhabitants of the region.
Mr. Neil (Jamaica): ...
We are less satisfied with the Council’s efforts and progress in relation to the situation in the Middle East — an arena where renewed violence presented issues which require specific and urgent attention. We believe that the Council’s approach could be more proactive in containing the conflict and in advancing negotiations for a peaceful and durable settlement of the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
We recognize that there are complex issues involved, but Jamaica believes that there are sufficient areas of consensus that would provide a basis for a negotiated settlement and justify the early convening of a peace conference. Bilateral and group initiatives are useful, but it would be desirable to seek the promotion of a settlement through a multilateral framework which would give global endorsement and legitimacy to the result of any such process.
Mr. Gallegos Chiriboga (Ecuador) (spoke in Spanish): ...
The Security Council must make a major effort to secure a settlement in the Middle East, where violence takes an almost daily toll on our consciences. Events there have evoked our horror and repudiation. Ecuador, its people and Government hope that the peoples of Israel and Palestine will soon be able to live in peace.
Mr. Al-Kidwa (Palestine) (spoke in Arabic): At the outset, I would like to join others in condemning the terrorist attack that took place in Bali a few days ago. I extend our condolences to the Government and people of Indonesia and to the families of the victims.
I wish to say that the Security Council has in fact made some progress in assuming its responsibilities with regard to the events in occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and with regard to the Middle East in general. The Council has held many open meetings to discuss the dangerous deteriorating situation. It has also adopted four resolutions, including the important resolution 1397 (2002), which for the first time confirmed the Council’s vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living in peace side-by-side within secure and recognized borders. In addition, the Council adopted resolution 1435 (2002), which falls outside the period covered by the Council’s report to the General Assembly. Those resolutions were the result of ongoing concrete efforts by a large number of members of the Council, for which we are grateful.
Nevertheless, there were also many serious negative elements and developments. First of all, on 15 December 2001, the United States of America cast its twenty-fifth veto in connection with a resolution concerning the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. That same permanent member of the Council also resisted the notion of even considering any further draft resolution on the subject, regardless of the text of such a draft resolution or of the realities of the situation in the field. I would like to point out that the Council was also unable to deal with two proposals specifically introduced by South Africa, in its capacity as the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement. Those proposals would have invited the leaders of both sides to attend a meeting of the Council and would have deployed a Security Council mission to the region.
There was also what we referred to as the great scandal, when the Council was unable to stand up to Israel, the occupying Power, in getting it to cooperate with the Secretary-General and to implement resolution 1405 (2002), regarding deploying a fact-finding team to investigate the events in the Jenin refugee camp. In addition to its rejection of all resolutions, it was also unbelievable to see an occupying Power commit war crimes in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and then to refuse to allow a fact-finding team of eminent persons designated by the Secretary-General to investigate those acts. What Israel did was not in itself unbelievable, as it has behaved in the same manner time and again. What was truly incredible was the fact that the Council was unable to make any serious effort to counter that challenge to its mandate and to international law. Moreover, Israel has also failed to implement resolution 1403 (2002), which calls for the implementation of resolution 1402 (2002) without delay.
Despite the progress made, one major problem remains. The Council has not been able to follow-up on or enforce its resolutions when it comes to Israel. Since the beginning of Israeli occupation, in 1967, the Council has adopted 37 resolutions concerning the situation in the occupied territories and the practices of Israel, the occupying Power. Twenty-seven of those resolutions affirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the need for the occupying Power to abide by the Convention. Those resolutions have dealt with many subjects, including those of displaced Palestinians, Jerusalem, settlements, deportation and the protection of Palestinian civilians. Committees were established, envoys were sent and reports were requested from the Secretary-General. None of that produced any results whatever. Israel has not abided by any of these resolutions and has, in fact, publicly rejected most of them. To date, Israel has not ceased in its violation of the spirit and letter of those resolutions.
The Council has done nothing whatever in response, thereby making the provisions of the Charter, including Article 25, a tragic farce, and signalling dangerous consequences for the international order. I believe the Council must end all this. It must ensure the implementation of its resolutions in all instances and without exceptions.
The meeting rose at 6 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.