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I should be grateful if the present letter and its annex could be circulated as a document of the Security Council.
During the Chinese presidency, the Security Council held 25 meetings and 15 sessions of consultations of the whole. Eight resolutions and five presidential statements were adopted. The President also made four statements to the press on behalf of the Council.
On 4 April, the President briefed the press on the programme of work of the Council for the month. Through its website ( www.china-un.org), the presidency published in a regular and timely manner the programme of work as well as activities carried out by the Council in April.
The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
On 13 April, the Council held informal consultations in which Qatar introduced a draft presidential statement on the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East. Because of different national positions, the Council failed to agree on it.
On 17 April, upon requests from Bahrain (on behalf of the Group of Arab States), Yemen (on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference) and Malaysia (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), the Council held a public meeting on the situation in the Middle East. Thirty-three speakers addressed the Council. Most representatives condemned the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv on 17 April. Many of them expressed alarm at the recent deterioration of the situation in the region, and urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to exercise restraint and do their utmost to curb attacks and counter-attacks that could undermine a return to the peace process. The Council failed to reach agreement on a draft statement to the press proposed by the United States.
On 24 April, at an open meeting, the Council heard the monthly briefing on the situation in the Middle East by the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Alvaro de Soto. He said that the international community was witnessing a potentially dangerous deterioration of the situation in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. He also outlined three major challenges the conflict between Israel and Palestine was facing and touched briefly upon the situation in Lebanon. Afterwards, members of the Council held informal consultations and agreed in general with the assessment of the situation by the Special Coordinator.
On 21 April, the Council heard a briefing at an open meeting by the Prime Minster of Lebanon, Fouad Siniora, on the latest developments in his country. The Council was told that, after many years of civil strife, Israeli occupation and Syrian domination, Lebanon had made important strides on the road towards self-governance, stability, democracy and prosperity, while acknowledging that there were also other difficult issues to be taken up. The Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic also addressed the meeting, expressing regret over rumours that there was tension between the fraternal countries and stressing that relations between the Syrian Arab Republic and Lebanon were dictated by their history and geography and no external factor could separate them. The Council then continued the discussions with the Prime Minister at a private meeting.
On 26 April, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Terje Roed-Larsen, briefed the Council in closed-door consultations on the third semi-annual report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 1559 (2004) (S/2006/248). He said that the Lebanese had made significant progress towards implementing in full all provisions of resolution 1559 (2004), in particular through the agreements reached in the national dialogue in Lebanon. However, he added that resolution 1559 (2004) had not yet been implemented, for example with respect to the disbanding of all Lebanese militias, the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all its territory and strict respect for the political independence of the country. He appealed to all parties concerned to comply with all requirements of resolution 1559 (2004) without delay and fully implement it, and believed that the implementation of the resolution and all other relevant resolutions should proceed in a way that would best ensure the stability and unity of Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and the wider region. Afterwards, members of the Council held informal consultations.
Protection of civilians in armed conflict
On 28 April, after thorough discussions, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1674 (2006) on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, in which it expressed its deep regret that civilians accounted for the vast majority of casualties in situations of armed conflict, recalled the particular impact which armed conflict had on women and children, including as refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as on other civilians who might have specific vulnerabilities, and stressed the protection and assistance needs of all affected civilian populations. The Council reaffirmed relevant principles and demanded relevant actions for addressing the several aspects of the issue of protection of civilians in armed conflict, as laid out in the resolution.