Nepal: On 5 May the Council heard a briefing from Karin Landgren, Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal (S/PV.6119) and considered the report of the Secretary-General on Nepal. (S/2009/221). Following the meeting the Council issued a presidential statement expressing its concern over the current political situation in Nepal and underscoring the urgent need for the Nepal government and all political parties to continue to work together in a spirit of compromise. It also reaffirmed its full support for the peace process and UNMIN (S/PRST/2009/12).
Peace and Security in Africa: A presidential statement expressing deep concern about the resurgence of coups d’état in Africa (first circulated to Council members on 9 April by Uganda) was adopted on 5 May (S/PRST/2009/11).
Lebanon: On 7 May, the Secretary-General’s special envoy for implementation of resolution 1559, Terje Roed-Larsen, briefed the Council (S/PV.6120) following his latest report (S/2009/218). He said that there had been general improvement of the situation and that reconciliation efforts had created a favourable environment for strengthening Lebanon’s sovereignty. Relations between Syria and Lebanon were improving and a renewed commitment from Syria to respect Lebanon’s sovereignty was positive (S/2009/227). However, direct threats to the stability of the country and recurrent security incidents remained. The briefing was followed by consultations.
Middle East: On 11 May the Council held a high-level debate (S/PV.6123) on the Middle East. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov presided. He reiterated the need for a rapid resumption of negotiations between Israel and Palestinians, taking into account available decisions of the international community and existing agreements, but acknowledged that progress would depend on success of intra-Palestinian reconciliation. He added that the next step would be a Moscow conference on the Middle East. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said there was a deep crisis of confidence among people on the ground. Palestinians reject Israeli settlements, which must cease. Israelis have suffered unacceptable and counterproductive rocket attacks. He added that he believed in the potential for activating regional tracks of the peace process on the basis of land for peace. During the debate, many Council members spoke against the continuation of Israeli settlements. Many also mentioned the need for the Syrian-Israeli peace track to resume. The Council adopted a presidential statement reiterating its commitment to the irreversibility of bilateral negotiations built upon previous agreements and encouraging steps toward intra-Palestinian reconciliation (S/PRST/2009/14).
On 5 May, the Secretary-General submitted a summary of the report of the UN Board of Inquiry into nine incidents involving UN facilities and personnel in Gaza between 27 December and 19 January. The Board concluded that in six cases Israel was responsible for deaths, damages and injuries. It also found Palestinian factions responsible for physical damage in one incident. The Board recommended that the UN seek formal acknowledgement by Israel, accountability and reparations, and obtain guarantees from Israel against the repetition of such incidents. It also recommended for the future the establishment of a stand-by arrangement to deploy trained investigators rapidly to any UN presence. Finally, it recommended that all allegations of international humanitarian law violations in Gaza and southern Israel be investigated by an impartial inquiry. The Secretary-General said that he would address other incidents involving the UN that needed further investigation on a case by case basis and through dialogue with Israel.
The Council failed to agree on holding formal consultations on the report. It, however, agreed to meet under “other matters” on 13 May to discuss a draft resolution which had been introduced by Libya welcoming the report, condemning Israel for its actions in Gaza, calling for accountability and reparations and calling for further investigation into humanitarian law violations by Israel. However there was no agreement on the draft. In remarks to the press, the Council’s president said that Council members expressed their appreciation for the information provided by the Secretary-General. They also expressed concern about the report’s findings and general interest in being kept abreast of progress as the Secretary-General deems appropriate.
On 12 May the League of Arab States had also submited to the Council an executive summary of the report of an Independent Fact-Finding Committee on Gaza presented to the League on 30 April (S/2009/244).
Sri Lanka: On 13 May the Council held closed consultations to discuss the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka. Following the meeting it issued a press statement (SC/9659) which expressed grave concern over the humanitarian crisis in northeast Sri Lanka and called for urgent action by all parties to ensure the safety of civilians. The press statement also condemned the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for terrorism, the use of civilians and demanded it lay down its arms and allow civilians to leave the conflict zone. It also expressed deep concern at reports of continued use of heavy calibre weapons and expressed the expectation that the Sri Lankan government would fulfil its commitment not to use such weapons. The Secretary-General visited Sri Lanka on 23 May to press the following points:
the importance of humanitarian assistance and access by the UN and humanitarian agencies;
the need to screen and release refugees as soon as possible so that they can be integrated back into society; and
the need for the government to take immediate steps to initiate a political process of dialogue, accommodation and reconciliation.
Following a visit to an internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp in Vavuniya and a fly-over the conflict area, the Secretary-General met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. They agreed that addressing the aspirations and grievances of all communities and working towards a lasting political solution was fundamental to ensuring long-term socioeconomic development. They also agreed that the UN would continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the IDPs in Vavuniya and Jaffna and that humanitarian access would be provided. Reintegration of child soldiers forcibly recruited by the LTTE was brought up as an important issue as was rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-combatants.
Cyprus: On 22 May the Council held a meeting with UNFICYP’s troop contributors. It then heard a briefing by the Secretary General’s Special Representative in Cyprus Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, and held consultations on the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate. At press time it was expected that the Council would adopt a resolution by the end of May renewing the UNFICYP mandate until 15 December 2009. (Please see our 19 May Update Report.)
Myanmar: On 22 May the Council held consultations on Myanmar and issued a press statement expressing its concern about the political impact of recent developments relating to Aung San Suu Kyi (SC/9662). It reaffirmed the Council’s presidential statements of 11 October 2007 (S/PRST/2007/37 ) and 2 May 2008 (S/PRST/2008/13). It also reiterated the call for the release of all political prisoners and the need for the necessary conditions for genuine dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and all concerned parties in order to achieve an inclusive national reconciliation with the support of the UN.
DPRK: On 25 May, following the conduct of an underground nuclear test in the DPRK, the Council met in an emergency session and voiced its strong opposition to and condemnation of the test. In an agreed statement to the press, citing it as a clear violation of resolution 1718 , the president said the Council agreed to begin work on a new resolution. The Secretary-General also issued a statement calling the test a grave violation of UN resolutions and an act that undermines regional peace and stability. On 13 May Turkish Ambassador Baki İlkin, chairman of the 1718 Sanctions Committee on the DPRK briefed the Council on its latest activities. On 24 April the Committee designated new entities and materials subject to sanctions (S/2009/222). It seems that during consultations some Council members emphasised the need for the DPRK to return to the six-party-talks.
Subsidiary Bodies (Counter-Terrorism): On 26 May the Council heard briefings during an open debate (S/PV.6128 and resumption 1) by the chairs of the 1267 Committee (Al-Qaida/Taliban sanctions), the Counter-Terrorism Committee (established under resolution 1373), and the 1540 Committee (non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction) on the work of their respective committees and continuing collaborative efforts among the committees (SC/9664).
DRC: At press time, the Council was expected to be briefed on 28 May in private consultations by the chairman of the DRC sanctions committee, Ambassador Baki İlkin of Turkey, on the 15 May interim Group of Experts report (S/2009/253).
Bosnia and Herzegovina: At press timethe Council was expected to receive a briefing on 28 May from the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Valentin Inzko and to discuss his latest report. (S/2009/246).