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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
2 July 2008

Press Conference

        Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


The Middle East, African issues, and an open debate on children and armed conflict will constitute the focus of the United Nations Security Council’s work programme during July, Le Luong Minh, Permanent Representative of Viet Nam and Council’s President for the month, told correspondents at a Headquarters press conference in New York today.

Briefing on the Council’s programme of work during his country’s presidency, Mr. Minh said, in light of the recent and present positive political developments in the region, the Council plans to hold an open debate on the Middle East on 22 July.  It would be the first such open debate on the region in a long time.  It was his hope that the meeting would afford not only the 15-member Security Council, but the broader membership of the Organization “and those concerned about the issue”, the opportunity to reflect not only on the assessment of developments, but also on potential contributions Members could make to push the political process forward.

He said that, before the Middle East meeting, the Council will hold an open debate on children and armed conflict on 17 July.  The meeting is being organized at the initiative of Viet Nam.  Given the importance of the issue and Viet Nam’s intention, as Council President, to enhance the interest and attention of the United Nations and the Security Council on this important issue, that meeting will be presided over by the Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

Also in July, he said, the mandates of a number of United Nations missions will be expiring, including the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID); the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI); the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE); and the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).  All of those will need a Council decision on either their extension, or any other decision on each of the missions’ mandates during the month.

Asked if the Council is expected to hold any meetings specifically to debate political developments in Myanmar and Zimbabwe, the Council President said, while there was consensus to hold such meetings, members could not reach any agreement during this morning’s discussion of the programme of its work with regard to when such meetings might be held.  That, however, did not mean that such meetings could not come up during the month, and he would continue to consult and advise accordingly.  He said that there were proposals for the President to keep the Council apprised of the humanitarian situation in both Myanmar and Zimbabwe.  Similarly, no consensus could be reached on Saudi Arabia’s proposal to discuss Israeli settlements, he added.

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For information media • not an official record

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