Security Council to remain 'deeply involved' with Iraq in April, President says

Amb. Adolfo Aguilar Zinser

2 April 2003 – While the Security Council will continue to be deeply involved with the situation in Iraq, it will also add the issue of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to its agenda, the President of the 15-nation body for the month of April said today.

In a press briefing on the Council's monthly work programme, Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser of Mexico recalled that the issue of the DPRK was referred to the Council in a letter sent by the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in which he reports on the status of relations between the Agency and Pyongyang.

The topic would be tackled on 9 April, one day before the DPRK would be dispensed from its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, from which it had withdrawn, Ambassador Aguilar Zinser noted, adding that it was important to make sure that the results of the meeting were constructive in terms of finding a solution to that serious problem of international scope and relevance. Based on the consultations, the Council had unanimously decided to ensure that all its Members supported its decision on the matter.

Turning to Iraq, Ambassador Aguilar Zinser said that although there were still deep differences of opinion within the Council, it had been decided that the short-term focus would be on humanitarian assistance to Iraq. That was not yet reflected in the work programme, however, because there was agreement that the humanitarian agenda would be developed as time went by and as the situation evolved. The Council will hold regular consultations on the matter, at least once a week.

Possibilities will also be explored in connection with humanitarian access and political and diplomatic measures to bring an end to hostilities, the Council President said. "I will not pretend that this is not an extremely difficult topic," he said, for the divisions were still extremely clear-cut. Also important was the subject of post-conflict rebuilding of Iraq, which was already being discussed in the background, but no consultations have been scheduled on that issue for the moment.

The work programme will also include open briefings on Afghanistan and the Middle East, Ambassador Aguilar Zinser said, as well as two meetings scheduled at the initiative of Mexico. The first, on 11 April, will deal with the participation of regional organizations, including the Organization of African Unity, the Arab League, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The objective of the meeting would be to look at the collective security agenda from the regional perspective in the light of the new challenges.

The second meeting, on 29 April, will be held away from UN Headquarters in New York at the Council of the Americas, and is intended to address the part played by civil society organizations in conflict and their connection with the United Nations.

Video of Council President's press briefing

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