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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


Security Council
4677th Meeting (AM)
SC/7616
20 December 2002




SECURITY COUNCIL ASSESSES ITS WORK FOR 2002, DISCUSSES

CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES FOR 2003 IN YEAR-END WRAP-UP MEETING


The Security Council this morning held a year-end wrap-up meeting to assess its main contributions and political relevance, as well as difficulties facing the Council during its work in 2002.  Another objective was to identify the Council’s main dilemmas and opportunities in 2003.

All Council members presented their views during that "institutional debate", intended to build on the experiences of 2002 and project the priorities for 2003, as envisaged by Council President Alfonso Valdivieso of Colombia, an outgoing member, who convened the discussion and shaped its focus.  All five outgoing non-permanent members -- Ireland, Mauritius, Norway, Singapore and Colombia, offered their final views.

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The five permanent members of the Council could draw on their extensive institutional memory, but the elected members had to start almost anew every time they served, Norway's representative said.  Norway's first lesson learned had been the need for new members to be assisted in every way possible.  Another had been the importance of unity, especially with regard to a most difficult issue -- the situation in the Middle East.  Related decisions made by the Council this year might not have had an immediate impact, but the Council had expressed views that would be important when the parties again sat down and negotiated a peace agreement to the benefit of all sides. 

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Statements

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GERARD CORR (Ireland) ...

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...   Also important was the need to remember that collective security and international peace and security were part of a wider matrix.  Terrorism in a failed State could be terrorism anywhere in the world.  A more strategic focus was also needed on the situation in the Middle East, which was a profound and growing threat to international peace and security.  The situation in the occupied Palestinian territories was “intolerable and unacceptable”.  Indeed, the prevailing situation was an affront to the international community and reflected a lack of political will in a place of danger and injustice. 

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OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) ...

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He said that was most important with regard to one of the most difficult issues before the Council -– the situation in the Middle East.  Decisions made in the Council this year might not have had an immediate impact on the situation on the ground in that very troubled part of the world, but the Council had been able to express views that would be important when the parties were again able to sit down and negotiate a peace agreement to the benefit of all sides.  The fact that the Council had expressed a vision of a Palestinian State was important.  It should continue to strive for unity in its deliberations on the Middle East.

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JOHN D. NEGROPONTE (United States) ...

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... On the Middle East, the Council had made an important contribution in 2002 by providing an agreed end game to that enduring conflict in resolution 1397 (2002), in which, for the first time, it affirmed a vision of two States -– Israel and Palestine -– living side-by-side within secure and recognized borders.  That text was forward looking and had been enshrined in the pantheon of resolutions that would become the basis for peace.

A challenge for the Council was now before it on the Middle East, he continued.  It could remain on a constructive path that supported the efforts of the Quartet, or it could return to the destructive practice of seeking to pass one-sided resolutions, heaping criticism on one party, namely Israel.  The United States completely disagreed with an approach whereby draft resolutions seeking to highlight the issue of occupation, neglected Palestinian responsibility for eliminating terrorism.  In 2002, the Council had taken several steps forward in acknowledging the obvious -– that suicide bombing destroyed the prospects for peace, as well as innocent lives.  In 2003, would it have the courage to take aim at those groups that promoted that violence and terror?  He called attention to the important work of the Committee addressing the terrorist threat posed by Al Qaeda, as well as the continuing work of the ground-breaking Counter-Terrorism Committee.

WANG YINGFAN (China) said over the last year, the Council had timely considered a series of questions such as Iraq, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Middle East, and had adopted more than 100 resolutions and Presidential Statements.  On certain questions substantive progress had been made, for instance in the area of anti-terrorism.  The Counter-Terrorism Committee had done an enormous amount of work in carrying out its work in a cooperative manner. The Council had made fruitful and ongoing efforts on the issue of Iraq, in order to have weapons of mass destruction destroyed and avoid war.

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FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) ...

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He said that throughout the year, the Council had not had a chance like it had today to discuss the volatile Middle East region, which constituted a real threat to international peace and security.  Nor had it followed up a number of its resolutions.  That had negatively affected its work and impeded progress towards reaching a settlement in that and other conflict-ridden regions.  Implementation of Council resolutions should be based on equality, devoid of double standards.  Any attempt to keep the Council from dealing closely with the issue of the Middle East under a different pretext was hateful to his delegation and contradicted the vision of collective security, the United Nations Charter, and the willingness of the international community to cooperate in finding solutions to such challenges.

The Palestinian people were subjected to a hateful Israeli occupation, underpinned by a Government that promoted terrorist policies in flagrant violation of the Charter, he said.  Israeli occupation of those territories should be confronted by the Council and brought to an end as a priority task, instead of talking about “an alleged terrorism” by the Palestinian people. ...

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ADOLFO AGUILAR ZINSER (Mexico) ...

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He said the Council had maintained its unity and consensus, which was perhaps its most important achievement.  He supported the idea that the Middle East including the question of Palestine was considered periodically in public briefings and consultations.  He hoped the Council would continue to hold monthly open briefings followed by consultations on the Middle East, including the question of Palestine, and would, in that way contribute to the Quartet’s promotion of the peace process.  ...

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