26/07/2002
Press Release
SC/7468



PRESS STATEMENT ON WESTERN SAHARA, OTHER MATTERS BY PRESIDENT OF SECURITY COUNCIL


Following is today’s statement to the press by Security Council President Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom):


Western Sahara


This morning in informal consultations we talked plainly about Western Sahara.  We had a briefing from Ambassador Swing, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, who gave us a briefing on what is actually going on, on the ground, now in the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) -- the continuation of the successful ceasefire arrangement, but still a rather poor humanitarian situation.


The Council was very firm in calling for an improvement in the humanitarian situation, particularly a continuation of the release of prisoners of war.  The Council remains very concerned that so many prisoners have been held for so long in poor conditions, many of them ill.  It is time to separate out the issue of prisoners of war from the political situation. 


We had a discussion on where we might take the various draft proposals for the renewal resolution.  The Council is coming to the conclusion that a complex resolution covering the four options put forward by the Secretary-General may not be the way to move forward at this present juncture.  I adjourned that discussion and will try to make a proposal to the Council from the Presidency as to a more straightforward resolution to continue the mandate of MINURSO and, I hope, to continue the work of the Personal Envoy.  But that is work in hand and I will report back to you when the Council has taken further decisions on it.  There will be no further discussion in the Council of that subject today.  We will come back to it on Monday or Tuesday.  I am fully aware that the mandate has to be renewed by the end of Wednesday.


Other Matters


We checked on the progress of drafting of resolutions on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG):  both drafts are making good progress and will be taken, if agreed, on Monday.  Those are also mandate renewals for the end of the month.   The programme for Monday will include a private meeting of the Council to hear Mr. Kakabazi, the Georgian Minister for the Abkhaz briefing the Council.  Then we will go into informal consultations on the UNOMIG draft resolution and then continue as necessary with Western Sahara.  Tuesday is Mr. Steiner briefing us on the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) and Wednesday is left for completion of business this month.

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