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Russia Prioritises Security Cl Presidency Role

Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yuri Fedotov Interview with Interfax News Agency on the Priorities of Russia's Presidency of the UN Security Council in June

Question: Yuri Viktorovich, could you comment on the start of Russia's Presidency of the UN Security Council in June?

Answer: Indeed, the presidency of this main body of the UN in June passed from Pakistan to Russia.

First of all I would like to stress that the main task of the President of the Council is to form a constructive atmosphere of cooperation among all its fifteen members favorable for adopting effective decisions on the most extensive range of issues on the agenda, including the most complicated ones.

This places certain ethical limitations on the presiding country in moving forward its own foreign policy priorities.

At the same time presidential status provides a possibility to accentuate some or other questions facing the Security Council, to which the country president attaches special importance.

Question: Which of the questions could be regarded among the priority ones for Russia during its Presidency of the UN Security Council?

Answer: Russia has traditionally been pursuing a responsible and transparent Presidency line, aimed at a constructive partnership with all Security Council members. Our priorities are well known.

We intend to orient the Council towards working intensively to implement resolution 1483 on Iraq. As is known, it allots the United Nations a weighty role in the country's postwar reconstruction.

It is important to use the outcome of the debate in UN Security Council on the upcoming report of the head of UNMOVIC, Hans Blix, for elaborating a concerted approach of the members of the Council to the problem of closing the Iraqi WMD programs on the basis of certification by UNMOVIC and IAEA. We presume that the coalition nations will be informing the Security Council about how their own searches are proceeding for WMDs in Iraq.

The consideration by Security Council of the UN Secretary General's report on Kuwaiti property and archives is called upon to confirm that it continues the follow-up of the implementation of its other resolutions on Iraq as well.

Against the background of a flare-up of terrorist activity in different regions of the world, it is important to build up the positive dynamics in the work of the UN Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC). On June falls the crucial stage of a second phase of the work of the CTC, focused on assistance to bolstering the administrative apparatus of states in the implementation of national antiterrorist legislation.

Middle East problems have to remain the focus of the Council's attention. It is important that the Council should continue to give practical support to the efforts of the Quartet of international mediators for aiding the Palestinians and Israelis in implementing the Road Map and in launching an effective monitoring mechanism. We consider the Council's support of the Road Map to be necessary, optimally in the form of a resolution.

The Security Council is also going to have to extend the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights, due to expire in June. This will contribute to an overall stabilization of the situation in the region.

The UNSC should continue purposeful efforts to ensure that the extensive work of the world community on political settlement and economic recovery in Afghanistan does not turn out to be undermined because of a certain lack of attention to the country against the background of the complicated situation in the Middle East.

For these purposes a public Security Council meeting on the narco-threat emanating from the territory of Afghanistan is being prepared as the central event of the Russian Presidency.

The idea of holding it has been enthusiastically backed by the Afghan leadership, the Secretariat of the United Nations and our partners in this region. The aim of the meeting is to make maximum use of the coordinating potential of the "antidrug" structures of the UN in the interest of harmonizing the multipronged efforts of countries and organizations for the neutralization of "Afghan" drug flows within and along the perimeter of the country.

There will have to be maintained the high speed of work by the Council to carry out the provisions of resolution 1455, aimed at raising the effectiveness of the sanctions regime against the Taliban, Al-Qaida and the related persons and organizations.

In view of the not easy situation in Kosovo, primarily as regards the dialogue between the UN mission in the province and Belgrade, we plan comprehensively to consider in the Council the situation in Kosovo.

We intend to support winding up the mandate for the multinational force's operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The extension is due on June 15 of the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). We proceed from the importance of maintaining the UN presence on the island as a stabilizing factor, including in terms of creating favorable conditions for the resumption of the Secretary General's efforts to advance the inter-Cyprus dialogue, authorized by the UN Security Council.

We also intend to keep African problems in the center of attention, above all with a view to the Council's prompt response to the developments in the situation in the "hottest" spots - the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cote d'Ivoire.

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