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I should be grateful if you would circulate the present letter and its annex as a document of the Security Council.
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
The Security Council’s programme for April was busy, as the following summary shows: there were 13 formal meetings, two private meetings and 16 consultation meetings. Five resolutions and one presidential statement were adopted (see appendix I); and 10 statements were made to the press (see appendix II).
Middle East, including the Palestinian question
On 16 April a formal meeting was held at which the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Danilo Türk, summarized for the members of the Security Council events subsequent to the meeting held on 19 March 2003.
The Assistant Secretary-General stated that, despite the obstacles and the situation on the ground, as soon as the new Palestinian Cabinet was confirmed the Quartet would submit the road map to the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He emphasized that the parties and the international community should be ready to follow the course outlined in the road map, which placed responsibilities on each of them. He said that the Palestinian Authority should take immediate and effective steps against terrorism and the Government of Israel should alleviate the humanitarian situation of Palestinians by lifting internal blockades and the curfew regime. He added that the international community should lend that initiative its full, consistent and impartial support.
He stressed that the road map continued to offer the best prospect of achieving the vision of two States — a secure and prosperous State of Israel and an independent, viable, sovereign and democratic Palestinian State. With respect to the situation on the ground, he reported that from September 2000 to date, the number of deaths had amounted to 2,566 Palestinians and 766 Israelis. He referred in particular to the construction by Israel of a “separation wall”, which had serious political and economic consequences for Palestinians. He said that he would shortly be submitting a report on the subject. He also stated that the situation along the Blue Line had remained calm, but there had nevertheless been a certain amount of tension as a result of Israel’s air raids into Lebanon and the Hezbollah anti-aircraft fire.
After the formal meeting, the members of the Council held consultations on the subject. They were in favour of the early submission of the road map and of the confirmation of the new Palestinian Cabinet. Members of the Council regretted the cycle of violence and condemned the Palestinian suicide attacks, as well as the excessive use of force by Israel. They also referred to avoiding actions that would lead to an escalation of violence on the Blue Line.
On 16 April, under “Other matters”, the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic submitted on behalf of the Group of Arab States a draft resolution on the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East that had been considered at the expert level. The Syrian delegation said that the current situation in the region afforded an opportunity to advance a common cause that had been on the agenda of the United Nations for a long time, and explained that his Government’s intention in submitting the proposal was to take up both the issue of weapons of mass destruction and that of terrorist threats.