Western Sahara; The Democratic Republic of




                    We agreed on the text of the Western Sahara resolution which we have just

                    adopted and we had a discussion about our working procedures over the

                    month of April, because the UK Presidency has tried to introduce one or two

                    innovations in terms of proper use of time, of briefings from the Secretariat, of

                    interactive discussions in the main Council Chamber. And I think the

                    impression I got from this morning’s discussions was that the Council wishes

                    to continue in that mode to make their business more efficient, more in

                    keeping with the clock which should please members of the media, and in

                    trying to liven up our formal debates.


                    Rather more sadly, the Council was briefed on the death of six International

                    Committee of the Red Cross workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

                    (DRC). We have just had a minute silence in the main Chamber to pay

                    respect to those who lost their lives. The Council wanted me to make clear in

                    public that they vigorously condemned those murders. We do not know who

                    did it at the moment and investigations are going on. But these were

                    humanitarian workers in the course of their duties courageous people whose

                    lives were brutally taken. We do not know why at the moment. And that made

                    us not just worry about the safety of humanitarian and other United Nations

                    and international workers, but also for the peace process in the Congo if this

                    is the reaction when international workers are going about their normal

                    business to help the people of the Congo. And Security Council members

                    wanted it to be clear that they were calling on everyone with any authority in

                    the DRC to try to make sure that these kind of incidents did not happen.

                    There is responsibility for those with military or executive authority in each

                    area to try and prevent these things from happening, because we have had far

                    too many examples of them in the recent period. So we paid our respects to

                    the governments and people of Colombia, Switzerland and the DRC in

                    condemning those murders.


                    (Question about the next briefing from the Expert Panel on the DRC) The next

                    main event on that particular item will be an open meeting of the Council,

                    under the US Presidency. But they will brief you on when that might be when

                    they look at their programme which I understand is likely to be before the end

                    of next week. We discussed the arrangements for that. Separately, there will

                    be discussion amongst experts from next Monday onwards on a presidential

                    statement to make a decision on the extension of the mandate of the Expert

                    Panel. And we expect that to be taken forward during the course of next

                    week, but it is not yet decided. n