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Agenda items 11 and 53
Report of the Security Council (A/59/2)
Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters
The President (spoke in French ): I now call on Sir Emyr Jones Parry, President of the Security Council, to introduce the Council’s report.
Sir Emyr Jones Parry : ...
I have the honour today, as President of the Security Council for October 2004, to introduce the annual report of the Council (A/59/2) to the General Assembly. The report I am presenting today covers the period from 1 August 2003 until 31 July 2004. The introduction to the annual report, prepared by Romania in its capacity as President of the Security Council in July, sets out in detail the Council’s activities for the period under review.
The Security Council continued to consider the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, on a regular basis, in particular with monthly briefings by the Secretary-General or his representatives. In November 2003, the Council adopted resolution 1515 (2003), endorsing the Quartet’s performance-based road map towards a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Council also continued to follow the aspects of the conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Syria and between Israel and Lebanon.
Mr. Baali (Algeria) (spoke in French ): ...
With regard to substance, the report illustrates that, in the period under consideration, the Council has not only reacted to threats to international and regional peace and security, but has sometimes also taken direct action to address the large number of problems affecting the world. It has demonstrated determination and follow-up in dealing with certain issues. We believe that Security Council missions to areas in conflict or emerging from it, such as last June’s mission to West Africa, have been extremely useful, because they have tackled the heart of the problems and enjoyed the support and cooperation of the parties concerned. Those missions have had a positive impact on local actors. Given such successful experiences, we encourage this type of initiative and action and call for them to be formalized and expanded to other conflict areas.
However, we would like to point out that in situations that were not a threat to international peace and security, the Security Council went beyond its mandate and acted inappropriately, as it did on 2 September 2004 when it adopted resolution 1559 (2004) on the situation in Lebanon. At the same time, we noted with regret that, although action needed to be taken to stop a bloodbath in the occupied Palestinian territories, the Security Council was, to say the least, hesitant, and did not display the necessary firmness and determination. More serious yet, we saw an implicit endorsement by some Member States of non-respect for resolutions. That certainly compromised the Council’s authority. In that regard, we regret the fact that certain important Security Council resolutions have remained dead letters and have not been followed by action. That state of affairs often encouraged the recalcitrant party vis-à-vis the settlement of a conflict in a given situation to continue to defy the Council’s will and to attack its credibility.
With regard to the Middle East, where the Council has a great responsibility, despite the adoption of many resolutions and a monthly meeting devoted to the subject, the Council was not able to make any notable progress to encourage or facilitate the peace process, or even to ensure the protection of the Palestinian population of the occupied territories. The case of the non-adoption of the recent draft resolution on Israel’s deadly operation against the Palestinian population in Gaza, which I put forward a few days ago, was the twenty-ninth instance of the Council being paralysed by a veto and illustrates the powerlessness of the Security Council in discharging its responsibilities. We are convinced that, had the Council shown the necessary firmness with regard to Israel, the violence could have been largely avoided and the situation today would undoubtedly have been more conducive to a negotiated settlement.
It is therefore the very credibility of the Security Council that is in question today. That credibility will only be eroded further if the Council does not succeed in reversing that trend and demonstrating to the entire world its capacity to shoulder its responsibilities in the management and settlement of some of the disputes that have been on its agenda for quite some time. In that regard, the Council should have a comprehensive policy based on equity and justice. It should adopt a clear and coherent approach vis-à-vis the issues conferred upon it by the Charter, and in particular with regard to those that pertain to international peace and security.
Mr. Andjaba (Namibia): ...
The situation in the occupied Palestinian territories is a challenge to the international community. We support a comprehensive and just settlement in Middle East and call for the full implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions.
Mr. Al-Shamsi (United Arab Emirates) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
Despite the in-depth consultations carried out by the Working Group since it was established in 1993 and the initiatives and proposals of regional groups, there are still great differences with regard to the views and positions of Member States on this issue, especially in connection with the issue of increasing the membership of the Council and other related matters, such as regional representation on the Council, the criteria for the selection of permanent members and the prerogatives and powers of new members. Differences also exist with regard to the decision-making process, accountability and the necessary measures and procedures that should be used in regulating the use of the veto.
The United Arab Emirates would like to reaffirm its support for the position of the Non-Aligned Movement on this matter. We note with satisfaction the progress made in the past few years to improve the Council’s working methods. That progress has been reflected in the increase in the number of open plenary meetings, which have given non-members of the Council an opportunity to participate in the Council’s debates, as well as in the increase in the number of public briefings held on matters of common concern to the international community.
However, the United Arab Emirates is deeply concerned about the policy of double standards followed by the Security Council when it takes up issues of concern to Arabs pertaining to the Middle East, such as the Palestinian question. That practice has impaired the Council’s ability to discharge the responsibilities entrusted to it. We urge the Council and its members to refrain from following such a policy, and to act in accordance with the principals of the Charter, relevant resolutions of international legitimacy and provisions of international humanitarian law.
The meeting was rose at 1.10 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.