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Middle East Problems Expected to Top SC Agenda

Middle East Problems Expected to Top Security Council Agenda in September

New York, Sep 5 2006 6:00PM

The crises and problems of the Middle East will be at the forefront of a busy Security Council programme this month, Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis of Greece, which holds the Council presidency for September, said today as he outlined the 15-member body’s schedule.

The situation in Lebanon following the cessation of hostilities last month between the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Hizbollah, events in the occupied Palestinian territory, and the question of Iran’s nuclear ambitions are among the issues likely to be discussed.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan may brief the Council on his current trip to the Middle East after he returns to UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Vassilakis told reporters, while the Secretary-General’s next formal report on the situation in Lebanon following the adoption of Resolution 1701, which ended the hostilities last month, is also due. Consultations on Lebanon have been scheduled for 15 September.

Later this month, the head of the UN probe investigating the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Serge Brammertz, is slated to brief the Council on his most recent work.

Mr. Vassilakis said Council members are still considering a request by the League of Arab States to hold a ministerial-level meeting during September on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Greek ambassador added no Council meeting has been scheduled so far ahead of a gathering in Berlin on Thursday of the Council’s permanent five members and Germany on the latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran. But several briefings have already been scheduled to discuss the latest events in neighbouring Iraq.

Outside the Middle East, Mr. Vassilakis said a high-level meeting on the deteriorating situation inside Sudan’s Darfur region has been postponed from Friday to next Monday to allow Mr. Annan to attend after he completes his current trip. Representatives from the Sudanese Government, the League of Arab States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) have been invited to attend that debate.

On 20 September, the Council will hold an open debate with regional organizations to discuss how they can strengthen their mutual efforts to promote peace and security, the President said.

The Council has also scheduled meetings on the situation in Somalia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia & Eritrea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Kosovo, among subjects, he told the press.


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