SITUATIONS IN IRAQ, MIDDLE EAST, AFGHANISTAN, BALKANS, AFRICA AMONG KEY ISSUES BEFORE SECURITY COUNCIL IN 2002

14 January 2003
SC/7632

SITUATIONS IN IRAQ, MIDDLE EAST, AFGHANISTAN, BALKANS, AFRICA AMONG KEY ISSUES BEFORE SECURITY COUNCIL IN 2002

14/01/2003
Press ReleaseSC/7632

Security Council

2002 Round-up

SITUATIONS IN IRAQ, MIDDLE EAST, AFGHANISTAN, BALKANS, AFRICA

AMONG KEY ISSUES BEFORE SECURITY COUNCIL IN 2002

International Terrorism Also a Major Focus of Council Action

During the year 2002, the Security Council worked to reduce tension and conflict around the globe, approving 167 resolutions and 42 presidential statements on a wide range of concerns, including the situations in Iraq, the Middle East, Afghanistan, the Balkans and various countries in Africa.  The Council this year also confronted the threat of international terrorism in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States and addressed matters in regions and countries where stability had emerged after conflict, such as in Timor-Leste and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Upon the Council’s recommendation, and the General Assembly’s approval, Switzerland and Timor-Leste became the 190th and 191st United Nations Member States, respectively.

The independence of East Timor/Timor-Leste in May was hailed as a success story of United Nations peacekeeping and peace-building.  In the Balkans, the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) and the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) came to an end after having completed their mandates successfully.  Significant progress in establishing peace and stability was also made in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and Angola.

In a wrap-up meeting at the end of December, members stressed that the Council was most effective when it acted in unison.  That unity was perhaps best demonstrated in the unanimous adoption, after lengthy negotiations, of resolution 1441 in November, which resulted in inspectors returning to Iraq after an absence of four years with an enhanced mandate to verify Iraq's compliance with its obligations regarding weapons of mass destruction.

Unity came under stress this summer, however, when the United States blocked extension of UNMIBH's mandate because of its concern about the risk of “political prosecutions” of its peacekeepers before the International Criminal Court (ICC), whose jurisdiction it does not accept.  The Mission's mandate was extended after adoption of resolution 1422, by which the Council requested the ICC not to commence a case against any person serving in a United Nations peacekeeping operation, from a State not party to the Statute, for a 12-month period commencing 1 July.

The Council held 21 meetings on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine question, and adopted five resolutions.  In March, the Council adopted, by a vote of 14 in favour with the United States abstaining, resolution 1397, affirming a vision of a region where two States, Israel and Palestine, would live side by side within secure and recognized borders.  In a presidential statement issued in April, the Council expressed support for the same vision reflected in the Joint Statement of the "Quartet" (European Union, Russian Federation, United States, United Nations).

Much of the Council's work was dedicated to various conflicts on the African Continent, to which it devoted 62 of its 185 meetings, while Africa as a whole was also addressed.  The Council established the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, and Council missions visited the Great Lakes region and Eritrea and Ethiopia.  Actions taken by the Council included the expansion of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), and lifting of sanctions against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) in Angola.  The situation in Côte d'Ivoire was also taken up by the Council.

The Council was briefed several times on the activities of its Counter-Terrorism Committee, established last year in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks.  During an open debate on the issue, speakers called for more attention to issues that fuelled terrorism, such as poverty, intolerance, regional conflicts, and denial of human rights.  Delegates said the Committee should also assist Member States in dealing with problems arising from the links between terrorism, transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, and trafficking in illegal arms.  Speakers also stressed that war against terrorism should not provoke a clash of religions and cultures.

Following are summaries of Council activity in 2002.

Afghanistan

After the fall of the Taliban in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks in the United States, representatives of various Afghan groups signed an agreement in Bonn, Germany, on 5 December 2001, concerning provisional political arrangements, pending the re-establishment of permanent government institutions. The agreement was endorsed by the Council the following day.

The Council established the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in resolution 1401 (2002), adopted on 28 March.  Having a relatively lean structure, the Mission is intended to ensure that all United Nations assistance efforts are channelled towards supporting the implementation of the peace process by the Afghan people.  That process consists of two pillars -- one for political affairs; and one for relief, recovery and reconstruction.  Throughout the year, the Council monitored the situation in Afghanistan through monthly briefings.

As called for in the Bonn Agreement, an emergency Loya Jirga, or council, was held in Kabul from 11 to 19 June, which established a Transitional Authority under President Hamid Karzai.  In its resolution 1419 (2002), the Council commended the Afghan people on the success of that Loya Jirga, noting with particular satisfaction the large participation of women and the representation of all ethnic and religious communities.  It called on all Member States to provide long-term assistance to the Transitional Authority and rapid international assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons to facilitate their orderly return.

In a briefing on 19 July, Lakhdar Brahimi, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, warned the Council that, despite numerous achievements, security was the most formidable remaining challenge, and he proposed the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).  In the ensuing debate, however, several speakers stressed that such extension was not practicable and that current conditions would not allow for such extension.

In a last briefing on the country this year, Hedi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, concluded on 13 December that one year after the Bonn Agreement, the Afghan people and the international community had much to be proud of. However, the point had not been reached where complacency was acceptable.  Specific challenges included intensifying efforts to combat the production and trafficking of drugs; developing a culture of respect for human rights; establishing clear benchmarks and timelines for implementation of the Bonn Agreement; and the importance of the preparation of free and fair elections by June 2004.

As President Karzai had signed a decree on 1 December, establishing an Afghan National Army that was unified, under civilian control and ethnically balanced, he urged the international community to provide both political and financial support for the reform of the security sector.  The Commander of the coalition forces had briefed UNAMA on plans to deploy teams outside Kabul.

Finally, by its resolution 1453 (2002) of 24 December, the Council endorsed the Kabul Declaration on Good-Neighbourly Relations signed by the Transitional Administration and Governments of Afghanistan's neighbouring countries on

22 December.

Iraq

Weapons Inspection

In his speech to the General Assembly of 12 September, the President of the United States, George W. Bush, had called Iraq a threat to the United Nations and to peace, as it had continued to defy United Nations resolutions calling for destruction of its weapons of mass destruction, in particular resolution 687 (1991).  He said the international community must stand up for its security.    "By heritage and by choice, the United States will make that stand", he said.

Shortly afterwards, the Secretary-General received a letter from the Foreign Minister of Iraq in which he invited inspectors, who had left the country in 1998, back to establish whether Iraq had complied with the relevant resolutions.  On

16 and 17 October, the Council held a four-session open debate, called for by the Non-Aligned Movement, to discuss the desirability of allowing inspectors to return to Iraq.  During the debate, speakers called for an early return of inspectors as a first step in compliance with Iraq's obligations, leading to a lifting of sanctions.  Many also warned of the grave consequences of any military action in the region.

Iraq's representative denied his country had any nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction.  The American Administration, he said, had declared "unabashedly" its intentions to invade his country and put its hands on the oil resources.  The representative of the League of Arab States, rejecting the waging of war on any Arab country, called for a Middle East region free of weapons of mass destruction and asked why the Council did not pressure Israel in the same way as Iraq, making it abide by the numerous resolutions addressed to it.

The United States representative said the Council should adopt a resolution that held Iraq to its commitments and stated that there would be consequences if Iraq refused to comply.  If Iraq did not, compliance would be sought by other means.  France's representative proposed a two-stage approach, first adopting a resolution specifying the "rules of the game".  If Iraq refused to cooperate fully with inspectors, the Council should immediately decide on appropriate measures, ruling out no alternatives.  The representative of the Russian Federation said no new Council decisions were needed; the inspectors needed only clarity.  The Council could not give its consent to a new resolution for the purpose of the use of force for regime change.

On 8 November, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1441 (2002), by which it held Iraq in "material breach" of its obligations under previous resolutions, and decided to afford it a "final opportunity to comply" with its disarmament obligations, while setting up an enhanced inspection regime.  The Council also decided it would convene immediately upon the receipt of any reports from inspection authorities that Iraq was interfering with their activities and recalled repeated warnings by the Council that Iraq would face "serious consequences" as a result of continued violations.  The United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would have "immediate, unimpeded, unconditional and unrestricted access" to any sites in Iraq, including presidential sites.

On 25 November, the first inspectors arrived in Baghdad and have been continually present there since then.  On 7 December, one day before the deadline set by resolution 1442, Iraq handed over to the United Nations the required declaration "of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and other delivery systems".  The Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, Hans Blix, and the Director-General of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, briefed the Council in closed consultations on their initial assessment of the declaration and progress of inspections on 19 December.

‘Oil-For-Food’ Programme

During the year, the Council also focused on the humanitarian consequences of the sanctions against Iraq through its "oil-for-food" programme administered by the Office of the Iraq Programme, established by resolution 986 (1995).  Under that programme, Iraq was allowed to sell oil in order to finance humanitarian goods and services, under certain conditions and under control of the United Nations.

On 14 May, in resolution 1409 (2002), the Council extended that programme for a further 180 days, and adopted a revised Goods Review List and revised procedures for its application, as a basis for the humanitarian programme in Iraq. On 25 November, the programme was extended until 4 December through adoption of resolution 1443 (2002).  On 4 December, the programme was extended for another  180 days, but in resolution 1447 (2002) the Council decided to consider necessary adjustments to the Goods Review List and procedures for its implementation no later than 3 January 2003 and to continue regular, thorough reviews thereafter.

On 30 December, the Council adopted resolution 1454 (2002) in a vote of

13 in favour and 2 abstentions (Russian Federation, Syria), adjusting the Goods Review List and procedures for its implementation.  That resolution also directed the Secretary-General, within 60 days, to develop consumption rates and use levels for certain chemicals and medications.  After the vote, speakers expressed concern that lifting of sanctions had not been mentioned in the text, and criticized negotiation procedures.

Middle East

Israel/Palestine

Escalating violence, the humanitarian situation in the West Bank and the Gaza strip, and the emergence of a "road map" towards two independent States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and internationally recognized borders, dominated the 21 meetings on the situation in the Middle East. The Council adopted five resolutions and issued two presidential statements.

Addressing the Council on 21 February, the Secretary-General said the lack of confidence between the Israeli and Palestinian side made a third-party role essential.  During a two-day meeting on 26 and 27 February, the representative of the United States reiterated his country's vision of a viable Palestinian State, living side by side the State of Israel in peace and security.  Speaking on behalf of the European Union, the representative of Spain called on the Palestinian Authority to do everything possible to put an end to terrorism, and on the Israeli Government to withdraw its military forces, lift closures and freeze settlement activity.

On 12 March, the Council adopted, in a vote of 14 in favour with

1 abstention (United States), resolution 1397 (2002), in which it affirmed a vision of a region where two States, Israel and Palestine, lived side by side within secure and recognized borders.  The Council also stressed the need for all concerned to ensure the safety of civilians and the need to respect the universally accepted norms of international humanitarian law.  It also welcomed efforts of the Quartet (Russian Federation, United States, European Union, United Nations), to bring about a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.

Resolution 1402 (2002) was adopted on 29 March, by a vote of 14 in favour, with Syria not participating.  The Council, gravely concerned at recent suicide bombings in Israel and the military attack against the headquarters of the President of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, called on both sides to move immediately to a meaningful ceasefire.

In a meeting on 3 April, 58 speakers addressed the Council, many of them stressing the need to implement the Council's call for a ceasefire and Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah.  On 4 April, in resolution 1403 (2002), the Council unanimously called for such withdrawal, as well as for both parties to move to a meaningful ceasefire.  In a two-session meeting on 8 and 9 April, speaker after speaker called on Israel to withdraw from Palestinian areas.  Israel's representative, however, said that withdrawal, if not preceded by a meaningful Palestinian ceasefire, must, at the very least, be accompanied by a reciprocal step from that side.

On 10 April, the Council issued a presidential statement, expressing support for the Joint Statement issued by Quartet members supporting the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders and calling on the parties to move towards a political solution based on resolutions 242 (1968) and 338 (1973), as well as the principle of land for peace.

Reacting to a call made by the Secretary-General during a closed Council meeting for the deployment of a multinational force to the region, 29 non-Council members addressed the Council on 18 and 19 April.  Other topics addressed during that meeting were non-implementation of recent resolutions, the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin, and the need for an independent investigation into an alleged massacre there. Israel's representative, however, said that his country could not put its faith in a "robust international presence, which could not be effective in the face of a continuing strategy of Palestinian terrorism".

On 19 April, the Council adopted unanimously resolution 1405 (2002), calling for further lifting of restrictions imposed, particularly in the Jenin refugee camp, on the operations of humanitarian organizations and welcoming the initiative of the Secretary-General to develop accurate information regarding recent events in Jenin through a fact-finding team.  On 3 May, speakers in an open meeting expressed regret at Israel's refusal to cooperating with such a fact-finding team and warned that such failure would jeopardize the Council's authority and undermine its credibility.

On 13 June, the Council met to discuss Israel's reoccupation of Ramallah and imposition of a military curfew on Yasser Arafat's headquarters.  The Permanent Observer for Palestine called on the Council to:  condemn the Israeli practices and reject destruction of the outcome of the Oslo accords; work to implement relevant Council resolutions; and push towards a comprehensive rapprochement. Israel's representative said that scrutiny of Israel continued, while Israeli forces had discovered clear proof of the Palestinian Authority's support of terrorist activity.

The Quartet's road map, for which support was expressed in a presidential statement of 18 July, was the subject of a briefing by Terje Roed-Larsen, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General, on 20 September.  He reported that members of the Quartet had agreed on a three-phase plan of action for achieving a two-State solution within three years, progress being monitored by a third-party mechanism to be established by the Quartet.

In a vote of 14 in favour with the United States abstaining, the Council adopted resolution 1435 (2002) on 23 September by which it demanded that Israel immediately cease measures in and around Ramallah, including the destruction of Palestinian civilian and security infrastructure, as well as withdrawal of Israeli forces towards positions held prior to September 2000.  The Council called on the Palestinian Authority to meet its expressed commitment to bring to justice those responsible for terrorist acts.

On 20 December, the Council failed to adopt a draft resolution, proposed by Syria, to condemn the killing by Israeli forces of several United Nations employees, as well as the "deliberate destruction" by those forces of a United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse in the occupied Palestinian territory at the end of November.  The draft failed due to the negative vote of the United States. Bulgaria and Cameroon abstained, while 12 Council members voted in favour.

Israel/Lebanon

The Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) twice for six months, most recently by resolution 1428 (2002), unanimously adopted on 30 July.  During briefings on the situation in the Middle East, the Council was also informed about the problems the Lebanese Wazzani springs water project caused between the two countries.  Terje Roed-Larsen warned on 16 December that unless a useful mechanism was established soon to handle future developments through diplomatic channels, there might be a dangerous escalation of tensions between the two countries, with possible regional consequences.

Israel/Syria

The mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was also extended twice through unanimously adopted resolutions, accompanied by a presidential statement in which the Council identified itself with the Secretary-General's view that "... the situation in the Middle East is very tense and is likely to remain so, unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached".  It did so most recently on  17 December, extending UNDOF's mandate until 30 June 2003.  The UNDOF has supervised ceasefire and disengagement between Israel and Syria since 1974.

Counter-terrorism

Two weeks after the terrorist attacks on the United States, on 11 September 2001, the Council adopted resolution 1373 which called on Member States to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, refrain from providing any support to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts, and deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support and commit such acts.  The Council also established the Counter-Terrorism Committee to monitor the resolution's implementation, through, among other things, reports from States on actions they had taken to that end.

The Committee's Chairman, Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom), briefing the Council on 18 January, said a critical part of the counter-terrorism effort would be building cooperation, at the international and regional levels, exchanging information about terrorism, and sharing expertise and assistance.  In response to each State's report, the Committee would respond to the government concerned, asking for more information, or outlining areas in which that State's capacity against terrorism could be upgraded and identifying possible resources of expertise or assistance.  He also suggested establishing a trust fund to finance the Committee's work.

Following the briefing, 40 speakers called for more attention to issues that fuelled terrorism, such as poverty, intolerance, regional conflicts, denial of human rights, lack of access to justice, and lack of sustainable development. Speakers also called on the Committee to assist Member States in dealing with problems arising from the links between terrorism, transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money laundering and trafficking in illegal arms.  The Secretary-General stressed that human rights, along with democracy and social justice, were the best prophylactics against terrorism.

On 15 April, through a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2002/10), the Council invited the Counter-Terrorism Committee to continue its work for its third 90-day period.  It made that invitation so that the Committee could, among other things:  explore ways in which States could be assisted to implement resolution 1373 (2001); build a dialogue with international, regional and subregional organizations; and identify issues on which concerted international action would further the implementation of the letter and spirit of the resolution.

In subsequent briefings and meetings, the Committee's Chairman informed the Council on progress made, assistance rendered to States in implementing resolution 1373 (2001), the number of State reports received and contacts with relevant international and regional organizations, and identifying gaps and weak links in counter-terrorism efforts.  He noted that ratification of the 12 international Conventions and Protocols relating to terrorism had risen by more than 15 per cent since last July.  Member States urged those who had not done so to become party to those Conventions and Protocols and also called for completion of the United Nations convention against terrorism.

Speakers also stressed that war against terrorism should not provoke a clash of religions and cultures.  Some warned that the comprehensive strategy to prevent and fight terrorism should not jeopardize the inalienable right of peoples to self-determination and the legitimate struggle of peoples against foreign or colonial occupation.

On 11 September, at the conclusion of a high-level meeting convened to pay solemn tribute to the memory of the victims of the terrorist acts of 11 September 2001, the Council, in a presidential statement, urged all States and all regional and subregional organizations to maintain and strengthen their cooperation with the Counter-Terrorism Committee.  Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Colin Powell, United States Secretary of State, addressed the Council, which observed a minute of silence at the end of the meeting.

On 8 October, in a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2002/26), the Council called on the 17 Member States that had not yet submitted a report to the Counter-Terrorism Committee to do so urgently.  It invited the Committee to pursue the programme of its fifth 90-day phase of operations, focusing on the domestic legislation of Member States, which it said should cover all aspects of resolution 1373 and the ratification of all 12 international Conventions related to terrorism.  Other priorities for the period would be the creation of mechanisms to suppress terrorist financing and the building of dialogue with international and regional organizations.

In a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2002/38) of 17 December, the Council requested the Committee to invite all relevant international, regional and subregional organizations to contribute information on their activities in the area of counter-terrorism and to send a representative to a special meeting of the Committee with such organizations on 7 March 2003.

The Council adopted resolution 1438 (2002) condemning the bomb attacks in Bali, Indonesia, of 12 October, resolution 1440 (2002) condemning the hostage taking in Moscow on 23 October, and resolution 1450 (2002) condemning the terrorist bomb attack on the Paradise Hotel in Kikambala, Kenya, and the attempted missile attack on Arkia Israeli Airlines flight 583 departing Mombassa, Kenya, on 28 November.  Resolution 1452 (2002) adjusted the Council's provisions regarding the frozen funds of the Taliban and members of Al Qaeda.

Africa

Adopting a broader approach to the maintenance of international peace and security, the Council this year sought to address the situation in Africa as a whole, stressing the importance of international cooperation and conflict prevention, including enhanced interaction between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations.  Highlighted was the need not only to prevent or end hostilities, but also to help transform political economies into healthy systems based on political participation, social and economic inclusion, and respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Following a two-day high-level debate concerning the continent, the Council, on 31 January, issued a wide-ranging presidential statement containing a broad spectrum of proposals aimed at improving cooperation in peacekeeping and conflict prevention in Africa.  The Council also underscored the importance of partnership and enhanced coordination and cooperation between the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), and subregional organizations in Africa.

On 22 May, the Council held a day-long debate on conflict prevention and resolution in Africa.  The Chairman of the recently established Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, Jagdish Koonjul (Mauritius), briefed the Council on the Group’s programme of work, which would deal with:  strengthening cooperation between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council; confidence-building in the region of the Mano River Union -- Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia; observation and assistance to electoral processes; cooperation with the OAU and subregional organizations; and enlisting the contribution of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academia.

On 18 July, in a day-long "workshop" on the situation in Africa, the Council focused on the latest developments in the area of the Mano River Union, taking note of the lessons learned from the experience of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and trying to determine the way forward to build peace in that country.  Council members also examined what more the United Nations could do to help reduce subregional instability and end the fighting in Liberia.

A separate Council session on 22 October was dedicated to the Central African region (Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe), as five of the 12 peacekeeping and peace-building missions under way on the continent were established there.  Speakers urged international support for regional initiatives to cement recent progress towards peace in Central Africa.  Critical issues, such as ethnic tension, cross-border trafficking of arms, absence of national dialogue, and inadequate economic resources, were highlighted. 

Following that discussion, the Council issued a presidential statement on

31 October affirming the need to promote and strengthen the partnership between the United Nations system and Central African States.  It emphasized the need to strengthen capacities in the subregion in the areas of conflict prevention and the maintenance of peace and security, as well as of economic integration, and called on the Central African States to improve the effectiveness, coordination and cohesion of the subregional organizations.

On 3 December, Council members considered Africa's food crisis, describing it as a threat to peace and security.  The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) explained in a briefing to the Council that the crisis stemmed from a combination of difficult weather situations, health factors (complicated by HIV/AIDS), civil strife and issues related to governance and economic policy. Regions such as southern Africa, the Horn of Africa, western Africa and the Sahel, were experiencing severe problems, and some 40 million people were at risk of starvation.  Progress required stronger and more consistent humanitarian aid, additional investment in agriculture, and a functioning private sector, the Council was told.

Angola

In January 2003, Angola would move from being a recurring item on the Security Council’s agenda to taking a place at the Council table, the Council was told on 17 December during a briefing by Ibrahim Gambari, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Mission in Angola (UNMA). In contrast, on 13 February, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Kenzo Oshima, had urged the world to "remember Angola", while attention had been focused on the situation in Afghanistan.

Since the country's independence in 1975, the Government of Angola and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) had been engaged in an intermittent, devastating civil war.  In January 1999, the Secretary-General concluded that the Angolan peace process had once again collapsed, after UNITA refused to proceed with the implementation of the 1994 peace agreement, known as the Lusaka Protocol.  In consequence, the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Angola (MONUA) ended early in 1999. 

In October that year, the Council authorized the creation of the United Nations Office in Angola (UNOA) to explore effective measures for restoring peace, assist the Angolan people in the areas of capacity-building, humanitarian assistance, the promotion of human rights and the coordination of other activities.  A monitoring mechanism on sanctions imposed on UNITA by resolution 864 (1993) and subsequent resolutions was established in 2000.

On 22 February 2002, UNITA's leader, Jonas Savimbi, was killed.  In a communiqué on 13 March the Angolan Government stated its intention to cease all offensive movements.  That communiqué was welcomed by the Council in a presidential statement on 28 March.  Calling the Government's approach "positive, constructive and forward-looking", the statement called upon UNITA to show that it shared a similar position, with the aim of achieving national reconciliation, including through a general ceasefire.

On 18 April, welcoming the 4 April ceasefire agreement in Angola, the Council extended until 19 October the mandate of the monitoring mechanism created in April 2000 to investigate violations of the sanctions placed on UNITA.  The Council requested the monitoring mechanism to provide a detailed action plan for its future work within 30 days, in particular on financial measures and the measures concerning the trade in diamonds and arms against UNITA.

In a briefing to the Council on 23 April, Mr. Gambari said the prospects  for lasting peace in Angola were brighter now than during the previous peace agreements aimed at ending the conflict in the country.  The most significant public event during his recent mission to Angola had been the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding formally ending hostilities between the Angolan Government and UNITA in one of Africa’s longest-running wars.

On 17 May, by unanimous adoption of resolution 1412 (2002), the Council suspended travel restrictions on senior officials of UNITA for a period of

90 days.  That suspension was extended for a further 90 days on 15 August through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1432 (2002), also tabled by the Troika.

Also on 15 August, through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1433 (2002), the Council established UNMA as a follow-on mission to UNOA, to be staffed as appropriate and including a Child Protection Adviser, for a period of six months until 15 February 2003.  The UNMA would assist the Angolan Government in, among other things, the protection and promotion of human rights, support for social and professional reintegration of demobilized personnel through appropriate United Nations agencies, and the promotion of economic recovery.

On 18 October, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1439 (2002) by which it extended the mandate of the Angola monitoring mechanism until 19 December 2002, and lifted the travel ban against members of UNITA as of 14 November 2002. On 9 December, it adopted unanimously resolution 1448 (2002), by which it lifted the remaining sanctions on UNITA, including materiel embargoes, travel restrictions and the freezing of assets.  It also decided to dissolve the Angola Sanctions Committee.

Burundi

The Council held four formal meetings to consider the situation in Burundi, which culminated in 2002 with a ceasefire agreement between the Government and the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD), one of two main rebel forces in that country.  That and other agreements, signed on 2 December, were due to come into force on 30 December.

Long-standing internal conflict in Burundi had led, in 1993, to a coup attempt in which the first democratically elected President, a Hutu, was killed, followed by widespread fighting between the largely Tutsi army and Hutu rebels, which resulted in an estimated 200,000 deaths and massive displacement.  In August 2000, a Peace and Reconciliation Agreement was signed by most of the parties in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania. On 1 November 2001, a power-sharing plan came into force that allowed for a Hutu and Tutsi to alternately serve as President.

On 5 February, Burundi's transitional President, Pierre Buyoya, in a brief open meeting, called on the Council to compel the rebels to give up violence, stressing that, if diplomatic efforts were not successful, other means would have to be taken to prevent the current peace process from being held hostage.  He said there were still genuine challenges that could compromise the road to peace.  The first was the continuing violence.  The second was reconstruction.  Following eight years of crisis, the economy had suffered:  nearly 60 per cent of the population lived in poverty; exports were down; and debt continued to be a major problem.

The Council issued a presidential statement on 7 February affirming support for the transitional Government of Burundi and calling on the rebel groups to lay down arms immediately and join the peace process.

On 4 December, Deputy President of South Africa Jacob Zuma described the terms of the 2 December agreements and urged discussion on outstanding issues, including the return to legitimacy, the welfare of ex-combatants, good governance and reconciliation.  The Council issued a presidential statement on 18 December in support of the immediate and full implementation of the agreements.  It requested the Secretary-General to study ways of responding positively and urgently to the request for the deployment of the African mission provided for in that accord.  The Council also condemned all massacres and acts of violence against civilians in Burundi.

Central African Republic

In recent years, the situation in the Central African Republic had been characterized by prolonged political tensions and social crises that led, in 1996, to three successive mutinies of elements of the armed forces.  In March 1998, under resolution 1159 (1998), the Council established the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA).  The United Nations Peace-Building Support Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA) took over from MINURCA in February 2000.  On 28 May 2001, an attempted coup d'état seriously destabilized the political, economic, social and security situation in that country.

On 18 October 2002, the Council issued a presidential statement expressing its full support for a decision taken at the African Union's eighty-fifth ordinary session of the Central Organ of the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, of 11 October to deploy in that country an international observation force of 300 to 350 troops from Gabon, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Mali.  That mission's three main tasks were:  ensuring the safety of the President of the Central African Republic; ensuring security on the border between Chad and the Central African Republic; and participating in the restructuring of the Central African Republic armed forces.

The statement further welcomed the undertaking by both the Presidents of the Central African Republic and Chad to relaunch the cooperation at various levels.  It strongly supports the intention of the President of Chad to visit Bangui in the very near future.  It encourages further confidence-building measures to help normalize the relations between the two countries.  (Tension between the Central African Republic and Chad had grown since the exile to Chad of the former Chief of Staff of the Central African Republic and rebel leader, General François Bozize.)

Côte d'Ivoire

The Council took up the situation in Côte d'Ivoire following targeted attacks by rebels on 18 and 19 September in Abidjan, Bouaka and Korhogo.  The Government of Côte d'Ivoire sought to end the crisis through negotiations under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and with the active participation of the United Nations.  Troops from France were supervising the ceasefire signed by the Government and three rebel groups on

17 October.  In December, however, fighting had intensified.

On 20 December, in a presidential statement, the Council firmly condemned attempts to use force to influence the political situation in Côte d’Ivoire and to overthrow the elected Government.  The Council expressed its full support for the deployment of an Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) force, under the command of Senegal, before 31 December, as called for in the final communiqué adopted on 18 December at the extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in Dakar.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The current conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo dates from August 1998, when, in an attempt to stabilize the country and consolidate his control, then President Laurent Kabila expelled the Rwandan troops that remained in the country after his 1997 victory.  That action prompted several army mutinies, which mushroomed into a drive to topple the Government.  The conflict soon evolved into a regional dispute, with Rwanda and Uganda, citing concerns about border security, supporting the rebels.  President Kabila was supported by Angola, Namibia, Chad, Zimbabwe, and the Congolese army.

A ceasefire agreement was signed in Lusaka, Zambia, in July 1999 by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe, with the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC) -– one of the rebel groups -- signing on in August, and the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) was established in November 1999 to help monitor implementation.

The Mission, originally consisting of up to 5,537 military personnel, including up to 500 observers, and appropriate civilian support staff, was charged with, among other things, verifying disengagement and redeployment of the parties' forces, as well as facilitating humanitarian assistance and human rights monitoring.  The ceasefire agreement calls for normalization along the borders, control of illicit trafficking of arms and the infiltration of armed groups, and the holding of a national dialogue.  Despite several outbursts of violence this year, there were some positive developments, including the withdrawal of more than 20,000 Rwandan troops, as well as withdrawals by Uganda, Zimbabwe and Angola.

In June, the Mission’s mandate was extended until 30 June 2003 by resolution 1417.  In resolution 1445 of December 2002, the Council authorized MONUC's expansion to up to 8,700 military personnel in two task forces, mandating the deployment of a second task force when the Secretary-General determines that disarmament, demobilization and repatriation needs could not be carried out by the first task force alone.

In several presidential statements this year, the Council stressed the importance of the inter-Congolese dialogue called for by the ceasefire agreement and reiterated the call for the implementation of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and withdrawal of foreign troops.  Taking up various developments, the Council reacted to such destabilizing developments as the resumption of fighting in the Moliro pocket, massacres of civilians and soldiers in Kisangani, the attack on Uvira and ethnically targeted violence in the Ituri region.

During a presentation on 14 May of the report of the Council's third mission to the Great Lakes region, Jean-David Levitte (France) said that the establishment of a transitional government in Kinshasa, the disarming of rebel groups, and the withdrawal of foreign troops were the bases for advancing the peace process in that country.  Among the Mission’s recommendations were the absolute need to respect the ceasefire and the need for an inclusive agreement that left no one out, he said.

In a presidential statement of 5 June, members strongly condemned acts of intimidation and unfounded public statements against MONUC, particularly by one of the rebel groups -- Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie-Goma (RCD-Goma) -- as well as the group’s attempts to ban the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and expel several MONUC and other United Nations personnel from areas under its control.  The Council reiterated its condemnation of the killings and attacks against civilians and soldiers following events that took place on

14 May and thereafter in Kisangani, and held the RCD-Goma responsible for bringing to an end all extrajudicial executions, human rights violations and harassment of civilians in Kisangani and all other areas under its control.

By its presidential statement of 23 July, the Council demanded that RCD-Goma bring to justice the perpetrators of the May massacres in Kisangani.  It stressed that RCD-Goma must demilitarize Kisangani without further delay, and cooperate with MONUC and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in efforts to identify all the victims and perpetrators in Kisangani.  It also stressed that RCD-Goma would be held accountable for any extrajudicial executions, and emphasized that Rwanda had a duty to use its strong influence in ensuring that the group took no such action.

On 30 July, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda signed an agreement in Pretoria that called for the withdrawal of Rwandan troops from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the dismantling of the ex-Forces armées rwandaises (ex-FAR) and Interahamwe militia.  During an open debate a week later, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Council that the signing of the Agreement represented a political milestone that could pave the way for resolution of one of Africa’s longest conflicts.  The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo said the Agreement would speed up the remaining phases of the Lusaka Agreement, and the demilitarization of Kisangani would be another promising sign.  He urged an end to the illegal exploitation of Congolese natural resources.  In a presidential statement issued on 15 August, the Council expressed full support for the implementation of the Agreement.

On 24 October, the Chairman of the Expert Panel on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mahmoud Kassem (Egypt), presented its final report.  He called attention to the entrenchment of so-called “elite networks” of exploitation in areas under the control of the various parties to the conflict, and emphasized the need to address such economic issues for any peace to be sustainable.  The Foreign Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo asked for implementation of all the Panel’s recommendations, and called for the withdrawal of foreign forces, particularly those of Rwanda and Uganda, along with reparations and the prosecution of aggressors.

On 5 November, following the presentation of the Panel's final report, the Council held a day-long meeting in which representatives of Uganda, Rwanda and other governments named in the report disputed its allegations.  Others generally supportive of the Panel's work said that individuals and countries named in the report should be able to respond.

Ethiopia and Eritrea

During 2002, considerable progress was made in the final settlement of the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea.  War between the two countries erupted in May 1998 as a result of a border dispute.  The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) was established after both countries signed an Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities on 18 June 2000 in Algiers, Algeria. Further negotiations resulted in the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement on 12 December 2000, also in Algiers.

On 16 January, through a presidential statement, the Council called for the unconditional release of remaining prisoners of war, and welcomed the repatriation on the day before of 25 Ethiopian prisoners of war from Eritrea under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

A Council mission visited the two countries from 21 to 25 February, during which, according to a 6 March briefing on that mission, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the President of Eritrea had agreed to work with the United Nations to move the peace process forward and had announced that the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, established in accordance with the Algiers Agreements, on the demarcation of their common border would be final and binding.

On 14 August, through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1430 (2002), the Council adjusted the Mission's mandate to assist in the expeditious and orderly implementation of the Delimitation Decision of the Boundary Commission of

13 April.  In so doing, it decided that the mandate would immediately include demining in key areas to support demarcation, and administrative and logistical support for the field offices of the Boundary Commission.

The mandate of UNMEE was extended twice during the year, the last time on

6 September by resolution 1434 (2002) until 15 March 2003.

Liberia

Due to its support for Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and other armed groups in the West African subregion, the Council had imposed wide- ranging sanctions on Liberia in 2001 by its resolution 1343 (2001). The Government of Liberia was, among other things, to:  immediately cease its support for RUF and expel all RUF members from its territory; and cease all import of rough diamonds not controlled through he Certificate of Origin regime of the Government of Sierra Leone.  A Panel of Experts was appointed to investigate violations of those sanctions.

On 27 February, the Council adopted resolution 1395 (2002), re-establishing that Panel.  The Panel was to conduct a follow-up assessment mission to Liberia and neighbouring States to compile an independent audit of the Government of Liberia's compliance with the resolution.

On 6 May, by its resolution 1408 (2002), the Council extended sanctions on the Government of Liberia for a further 12 months -- including an arms embargo, travel ban for officials and a prohibition on the import of rough diamonds -- deciding that it had not fully complied with Council demands that it halt its support for RUF and other armed rebel groups in the region.

In a 13 December presidential statement, the Council expressed concern over recent armed attacks by the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebel group and condemned the failure of Liberia's Government, other States and non-State groups to comply with the arms embargo of resolution 1343 (2001).  In that same statement, the Council expressed its commitment to an expanded role for the United Nations Peace-building Support Office in Liberia (UNOL) and will consider an assessment mission to the region in 2003.

Sierra Leone

Council efforts on Sierra Leone during the year focused on the consolidation of stability and support for the elections of 14 May, the holding of which it welcomed as peaceful, orderly and important for peace in the region, according to a presidential statement of 22 May.  On 16 January, through resolution 1389, it had given UNAMSIL wide-ranging security tasks for those elections.

The conflict in Sierra Leone dates from March 1991 when fighters of the RUF launched a war from the east of the country near the border with Liberia to overthrow the Government.  In October 1999, Council resolution 1270 (1999) established UNAMSIL to aid with implementation of the Lomé (Togo) Peace Agreement, which was signed on 7 July 1999 between the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF.

The mandate of UNAMSIL was extended for two more six-month periods in 2002, most recently on 30 September through resolution 1436, by which the Council also urged the Mission to complete the first two phases of proposed adjustments, including the reduction of 4,500 troops and the deployment of up to 170 civilian police.  It emphasized that an effective police force, army, penal system and judiciary were essential for long-term peace and development.  It also urged the Government of Sierra Leone to actively seek additional resources for equally essential reintegration activities.  The Special Court of Sierra Leone and the return of displaced persons remained of concern.

Concern was also expressed through the year at continuing abuse of civilians and allegations that some United Nations personnel might have been involved in sexual abuse of women and children in camps for refugees and internally displaced people.  Concerned as well over the Government's lack of control over diamond mining areas, the Council decided on 4 December to extend the prohibition on uncertified rough diamonds from Sierra Leone for a new period of six months, until 5 June 2003, through resolution 1446.

Somalia

Most speakers during an 11 March open debate on the situation in Somalia supported a proposal by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional organization of States in the Horn of Africa aiming to achieve regional cooperation and economic integration, to hold a peace and reconciliation conference.  An inter-agency assessment, however, had confirmed that the security situation did not allow for a long-term United Nations presence and, therefore, precluded the launching of a comprehensive peace-building programme.

Following a decade of anarchy and famine, a national reconciliation process began with a multi-faction peace conference in Arta, Djibouti, in the middle of 2000, and the formation of a transitional government.  As several Somali parties did not support the process, major challenges of security, reconstruction and development still confront the country.

In a presidential statement issued on 28 March, the Council endorsed a working mission to the region of interested Council members and Secretariat staff and identified preparatory activities on the ground for a comprehensive peace-building mission there.  Insisting that the situation in Somalia should not be allowed to be used for planning terrorist acts from the country, the Council emphasized that efforts to combat terrorism there were inseparable from the establishment of peace and governance.

Concerned by the continued flow of weapons and ammunition to Somalia, the Council, by resolution 1407 adopted on 3 May, required that a two-member team be set up to prepare, within 30 days of its establishment, an action plan to investigate violations of the 1992 arms embargo on Somalia and to strengthen its enforcement.  Resolution 1425 (2002), adopted on 22 July, further recommended that a three-member panel of experts be set up to gather information on violations of the arms embargo.

Finally, on 12 December, the Council welcomed the Declaration on Cessation of Hostilities and the Structures and Principles of the Somalia Reconciliation Process, signed in Eldoret, Kenya, on 27 October.  In a presidential statement, the Council further welcomed the Joint Declaration issued by involved parties in Mogadishu, Somalia, on 2 December.  The Council also requested the Secretary-General to continue putting in place preparatory activities on the ground for a comprehensive post-conflict peace-building mission once security conditions permit.

Western Sahara

The Council, in 2002, extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) three times:  on 27 February, 30 April, and 30 July, respectively, through resolutions 1394, 1406 and 1429.  By that last action, the Council extended the mandate for six months -- until 31 January 2003  -- and expressed its readiness to consider any approach that provided for self-determination for the people of the Territory that might be proposed by the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy.

Morocco and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO Front)) have contested the Territory since Spain relinquished control in 1974.  The MINURSO was established in 1991 to oversee the holding of a referendum in which the people of Western Sahara would choose between independence and integration with Morocco, as part of the United Nations Settlement Plan.  The referendum process has been stalled for years, due to appeals in the voter-identification process and other problems.  Continuing humanitarian problems include those of refugees, missing persons and long-unrepatriated prisoners of war.

Asia

Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

On 21 November, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Kieran Prendergast, asked the Council for a 12-month extension, until 31 December 2003, for the United Nations Political Office in Bougainville (UNPOB) during a briefing, citing setbacks in the weapons disposal plan.  In January 1996, an Agreement on Peace, Security and Development on Bougainville had been signed in Lincoln, New Zealand, by the Government of Papua New Guinea and the main Bougainville groups in order to end a nine-year old conflict on that island. The plan had three elements: autonomy, a referendum, and a weapons disposal plan.

In the ensuing debate, Papua New Guinea's representative said a one-year extension would enable UNPOB to complete its work.  Most speakers supported that extension, but the representative of the United States noted that a six-month extension was adequate to fulfil UNPOB's mandate.  In a 19 December letter to the Secretary-General (document S/2002/1380), the Council's President stated that the Council endorsed a final extension of UNPOB's mandate until 31 December 2003.

East Timor/Timor-Leste

Hailed as a "text book" success of United Nations peacekeeping operations last year that could serve as an example in other situations, the United Nations Transition Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) -- established in October 1999 to administer the Territory of East Timor after the referendum there of 30 August -- ceased operations as that Territory gained independence on 20 May.  At that date, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette told the Council, during a debate marking the occasion, that the East Timorese had set an example for other nations in their steadfast adherence to the core values of the United Nations Charter -- to reconciliation and the creation of democratic institutions that could safeguard human rights.

During an open Council debate on 30 January, speakers hailed improvements in public administration, police, the justice system, and especially its Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation.  The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Second Transitional Administration of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta, noted that in designing a blueprint for economic development, civil society had contributed to governmental planning before the plan was approved, one of the few times that had happened in history.

As independence drew near, the Secretary-General called for a follow-up mission to UNTAET during a Council debate on 26 April.  East-Timor's President-elect Xanana Gusmao expressed the hope that the follow-up mission would provide key support in the critical areas of public administration, law and order, and external security.  Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri said the Government would do all it could to convert aid into investments that would benefit future generations, focusing on such areas as education, health, housing, and agriculture.

By resolution 1410 (2002), unanimously adopted on 17 May, the Council established the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), consisting of 6,350 civilian and military personnel, to provide assistance to core administrative structures critical to the viability and political stability of East Timor.  The Mission would also provide interim law enforcement and public security, assist in developing the police service and contribute to the maintenance of the new country's external and internal security.  Downsizing of UNMISET should proceed as quickly as possible over a period of two years.

By resolution 1414 (2002), unanimously adopted on 23 May, the Council recommended to the General Assembly that East Timor be admitted to membership in the United Nations.  Timor-Leste, as the country would be known from then on, became the 191st Member on 27 September.

Briefing the Council on 14 November, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Timor-Leste presented the prospects of that new State with positive expectation and optimism, noting that the cohesive population was endowed with significant resources to safeguard its economic future, including the presence of gas and oil and metallic ores.  Principal challenges confronting the country included rule of law; job creation; development; institution building; and aid absorption.

Addressing the Council for the first time, Timor-Leste's representative expressed appreciation for United Nations efforts on behalf of his country.  He said his country's National Development Plan had identified poverty reduction, education, health care, infrastructure, economic development and institutional capacity-building as key challenges.  He highlighted the growth of democratic culture, progress in reconciliation, and the return of refugees as positive developments.

Europe

Bosnia and Herzegovina/Croatia

The United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) and the United Nations Observer Mission in Prevlaka (UNMOP) completed their mandates in December, bringing to an end a decade of United Nations peacekeeping there.

The success of UNMIBH and UNMOP demonstrated that with the right mandate, cooperation of the parties and strong support of the Council and Member States, United Nations peacekeeping could make an important difference, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said at the last of the Council’s nine meetings on Bosnia and Herzegovina this year.  With completion of both missions, “an era of United Nations involvement in the former Yugoslavia” had come to an end, he said.

In a presidential statement of 12 December, the Council welcomed the decision of the European Union to establish a police mission, which was scheduled to take over from UNMIBH from 1 January 2003, “as part of a broader rule of law approach”.  While encouraging continued international support, the Council reiterated, however, that the willingness of the international community and major donors to assume the political, military and economic burden of reconstruction efforts would be determined by the compliance and active participation by the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the reforms needed to rebuild a civil society.

According to the final report on UNMIBH, by improving public security and reforming the police, it had helped lay the foundation for post-war recovery and development.  The high standard of returnee security had encouraged the return of over 250,000 refugees.  Police restructuring had created “a police fit for Europe”.  A general election of 5 October -- the first election for which the Bosnian authorities were solely responsible -– was generally deemed free and fair.

The UNMOP, for its part, had monitored the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula, laying the basis for an eventual negotiated settlement.  Of particular importance was the signing on 10 December of a protocol between Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on an interim regime for their southern border.  At the Council’s final meeting on UNMOP on 12 December, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guehenno, said the Mission had demonstrated that even a small United Nations presence, properly conceived and implemented, could make a difference.

The renewal of UNMIBH’s mandate last summer became the focus of the world’s attention, with the United States -– a permanent member of the Council with veto power -- blocking the resolution that would extend it.  The Mission was the first one to come before the Council since entry into force of the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute on 1 July, and the United States explained its position by citing its concern about the risk of "politicized prosecutions" of its peacekeepers before the Court, whose jurisdiction the United States Government does not accept.

UNMIBH's mandate was originally due to expire on 21 June.  By adopting resolution 1421 on 3 July, the Council extended it until 15 July.  That action followed a negative vote by the United States on 30 June (13 members voted for the extension, and Bulgaria abstained), on a resolution that would have renewed the mandate of UNMIBH and authorized the continuation of the multinational stabilization force (SFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Immediately following the rejection of that draft, the Council adopted a technical text, extending UNMIBH for three days.

The Mission’s mandate was extended on 12 July by resolution 1423 (2002), following adoption, in a separate meeting, of resolution 1422 addressing the problems raised (see:  International Criminal Court).

Kosovo

Monitoring the situation in Kosovo, the Council was regularly briefed on the latest developments there.  It took up its agenda item on Kosovo at 12 meetings this year, focusing on such issues as preparations for the October municipal elections and voter turnout, reconciliation efforts and security of minorities. During the latest of those meetings on 19 December, the Council was briefed by its mission dispatched to the area for a four-day visit.  Similar teams with representation by all Council members had previously visited Kosovo in April 2000 and June 2001.

This year’s mission sought ways to enhance support for the work of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the implementation of resolution 1244 (1999), by which it was established.  The mission also intended to convey a strong message to local leaders about the need to move forward with decentralization, development of democratic institutions, rejection of violence and promotion of inter-ethnic inclusion.  It also explored ways to enhance cooperation with the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and received a briefing from the NATO-led force -– KFOR -– on the security situation.

Since its visit last year, the mission had found notable progress in Kosovo, with elections to Kosovo Assembly in 2001 and municipalities in 2002 leading to the formation of provisional self-government institutions and municipal assemblies, said mission leader Ole Peter Kolby (Norway).  The process of handing over power and responsibilities to local institutions continued.  Crime rates were down, and security was improving.  The Kosovo Police Service continued to increase in numbers, and the judiciary was being re-established.   Despite those positive developments, the situation remained fragile, however, requiring continued international engagement for the foreseeable future, as the progress achieved had been driven largely by the international community.

Cyprus

The Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) twice, this year, most recently until 15 June 2003 by unanimously adopting resolution 1442 (2002).

The UNFICYP was established through Council resolution 186 in 1964, with the mandate to prevent a recurrence of fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, and to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order.  Following the hostilities of 1974, the Council expanded the mandate to include maintaining a buffer zone between forces.  In the absence of a political settlement, UNFICYP has been extended thereafter every six months.

In a statement to the press, the President of the Council described a proposal the Secretary-General put forward to the two sides on 11 November as a "unique opportunity to reach a settlement in the coming weeks".  He underlined the importance of intensifying talks so that full agreement will be reached before

28 February 2003, in conformity with the timetable proposed by the Secretary-General.

Georgia

Social unrest in Abkhazia, the north-west region of Georgia, escalated into separatist violence in 1992.  The United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) was established in August 1993 to verify compliance with ceasefire agreements and to monitor human rights.  The Council unanimously extended the mandate of UNOMIG twice in 2001, most recently until 31 January 2003 through resolution 1427 (2002).

Switzerland

Adopting resolution 1426 (2002) on 24 July, the Council recommended to the General Assembly that Switzerland be admitted as a Member of the United Nations. The General Assembly subsequently admitted the country, which previously had the status of Permanent Observer, on 10 September as its 190th Member.  In a presidential statement, the Council noted with satisfaction Switzerland's solemn commitment to uphold the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and to fulfil all the obligations therein.

Thematic Issues before Council

Civilians in Armed Conflict

In order to protect civilians in armed conflict, a presidential statement of 15 March identified 13 core objectives for protecting civilians in conflict situations:  access to vulnerable populations; separation of civilians and armed elements; justice and reconciliation; security, law and order, disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation; small arms and mine action; training of security and peacekeeping forces; effects on women; effects on children; safety and security of humanitarian and associated personnel; media and information; natural resources and armed conflict; and the humanitarian impact of sanctions.

Following an open debate on the issue on 10 December, in a presidential statement of 20 December, the Council condemned strongly all attacks and acts of violence directed against civilians or other protected persons under international law and international humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict.  The Council emphasized the responsibilities of States to end impunity and to prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of humanitarian law.  It also recognized the needs of civilians under foreign occupation and stressed in that regard the responsibilities of the occupying Power.

Children and Armed Conflict

Through a presidential statement on 7 May -- the day before the General Assembly's special session on children -- the Council reiterated its strong condemnation of the abuse of children in armed conflicts, including their abduction, compulsory recruitment, mutilation, forced displacement and sexual exploitation.  It called on all parties to conflict to immediately desist from such practices and to allow unhindered humanitarian access to children.  Prior to issuing the statement, the Council heard from Olara Otunnu, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, who asked the Council to ensure that the protection and well-being of children become integral to peace negotiations.

Women, Peace and Security

On 31 October the Council reaffirmed its commitment to the provisions of resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security through a presidential statement marking the second anniversary of its adoption.  By the statement, it also condemned continuing violations of the human rights of women and girls in conflict situations, and recognized the vital role of women in promoting peace.  It noted some progress in gender mainstreaming at the United Nations, but sought the naming of more women as special representatives and envoys of the Secretary-General.

The statement followed meetings on 28 and 29 October in which the Secretary-General presented his report on the topic, containing recommendations to increase the role of women in peacemaking and reduce their suffering in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Those meetings, in turn, followed a 25 July meeting in which the Council heard arguments for broader, more systematic participation of women in peacekeeping and peace-building operations.  Participating were Angela King, the Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women; Noeleen Heyzer, the Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM); and Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.

Food Security in Conflict Situations

On 4 April, on the last day of her 10-year tenure as Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Catherine Bertini briefed the Council on food aid in the context of conflict settlement, highlighting Afghanistan as the most recent example of how the international community had successfully prevented famine.  She said food aid kept people alive and helped reconstruct communities and stabilize countries and regions, but it was a dangerous business. It was appalling how few perpetrators of violence against aid workers had been brought to justice.

While paying tribute to the work of Ms. Bertini and the WFP, Council members noted that food aid in conflict situations was highly sensitive and, if misused, could have a direct effect on the dynamics of violence.  Systems should be put in place to minimize food-aid diversions, which could exacerbate inequalities in conflict and post-conflict.  Exit strategies should also be defined.

Refugees

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers, briefed the Council on 7 February on the situation of the more than 21 million refugees, internally displaced persons, stateless people and others who were of concern to his Office.  He said he was determined to make progress during the year in finding durable solutions for them.  For those purposes, he emphasized the importance of ending armed conflict and the avoidance of unwarranted links between refugees and terrorists.  In the discussion that followed, representatives of Member States brought up a range of issues, including underfunding of the Office of the High Commissioner, and the importance of ensuring that humanitarian assistance did not fuel conflict.

Small Arms

Through a presidential statement on 31 October, the Council called upon States to establish a national register of arms brokers and urged them to impose penalties for illicit brokering activities.  While reaffirming the importance of arms embargoes in that statement, it also recognized its responsibility to examine ways in which it could further help staunch the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

That statement was issued after a day-long open meeting on 11 October, at which speakers expressed support for the Programme of Action of the 2001 United Nations Conference on the illicit trade of such weapons.  They also proposed ways in which the Council could strengthen its role in preventing small arms from fuelling conflict.

Opening that debate, Jayantha Dhanapala, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, introduced a report from the Secretary-General on the topic.  Among the recommendations of the report that received widespread support were proposals for international mechanisms to identify and trace weapons, as well as a permanent mechanism to monitor embargoes and sanctions under the Council's purview.

Sanctions

The importance of lessons learned and continuity of effort were stressed before the Council in briefings on 18 December by the outgoing Chairmen of the Council Sanctions Committees concerning the situations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait, Angola and Liberia, as well as of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa and the Working Group on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.  The Chairmen also discussed Council action against States or individuals who violated sanctions and considered what line the Council should take against sanctions busters after sanctions had been dissolved, among other issues.

Miscellaneous

Annual Report

On 26 September, the Council adopted its fifty-seventh annual report to the General Assembly, covering the period 16 June 2001 to 31 July 2002 (document S/2002/1068).  Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tuliameni Kalomoh introduced the revised format agreed upon by the Council in 2002 that included an analytical introduction summarizing Council activities.  Representatives of Council members praised the new format as more analytical, reader-friendly and cost-effective, but added that improvements could still be made in the report, as well as the Council’s working methods and procedures, in order to enhance transparency and cooperation with other bodies of the United Nations.

Tribunals

The Council devoted six meetings to the functioning of the International Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, seeking to facilitate their work and ensure a speedy conclusion of their mandates.  In a presidential statement of 18 December, it recalled the mandatory obligation of all States to cooperate fully with the Tribunals, complying with their requests for arrest, detention and transfer of indictees, making witnesses available, and assisting with ongoing investigations.

To allow the Yugoslav Tribunal to achieve its goal of completing all trials by 2008, instead of the originally envisioned year of 2018, the Council, by a presidential statement of 23 July, endorsed a broad strategy for the transfer of intermediary and lower-level cases to competent national jurisdictions.  This would allow the court to concentrate on the prosecution and trial of the highest-ranking political, military and paramilitary leaders suspected of being responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law on the territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991.

In August, adopting resolution 1431 (2002), the Council decided to establish a pool of 18 ad litem judges for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to expedite the conclusion of its work as early as possible.  The Rwanda Tribunal believes the appointment of such judges will provide additional judicial manpower in order to complete trials by 2008, instead of the originally envisaged date of 2017.

By resolution 1411 (2002) adopted in May, the Council amended statutes of both Tribunals to address the issue of judges holding dual nationalities, deciding that such persons would be deemed to be a national of the State in which they ordinarily exercise their civil and political rights.

On 13 December, the Council forwarded 23 permanent judges’ nominations to the Assembly.

International Court of Justice

On 21 October, the Council, acting concurrently with the General Assembly, elected five members to the International Court of Justice for a nine-year term, beginning on 6 February 2003.

International Criminal Court

It was in connection with the International Criminal Court that the renewal of the mandate of UNMIBH -- the first one to come before the Council since entry into force of the ICC's Rome Statute on 1 July -- became the focus of the world’s attention last summer, with the United States blocking the resolution that would extend it (see:  Bosnia and Herzegovina/Croatia).  The United States, a permanent member of the Council with veto power, explained its position by citing its concern about the risk of "politicized prosecutions" of its peacekeepers before the ICC, whose jurisdiction it does not accept.

Addressing the Council before a negative vote by the United States on the extension of the Mission's mandate on 30 June (13 members of the Council voted for the extension, and Bulgaria abstained), the Secretary-General said:  "The world cannot afford a situation in which the Security Council is deeply divided on such an important issue, which may have implications for all UN peace operations."

Following a series of votes in the Council on the question of whether or not to extend the UNMIBH mandate, 39 speakers at a public meeting on 10 July debated the legal exposure of United Nations peacekeepers under the ICC.  Most speakers expressed concern about the future of United Nations peacekeeping, saying that hasty decisions would cause damage not only to the rule of international law, but

also to the very credibility of the Council.  Many pointed out that the ICC had sufficient safeguards against unwarranted and politically motivated prosecutions.

The Mission’s mandate was extended on 12 July by resolution 1423 (2002), following adoption, in a separate meeting, of resolution 1422, under the terms of which, consistent with article 16 of the ICC’s Statute, the Council requested the Court not to commence a case against any personnel in a United Nations peacekeeping operation from a State not party to the Statute for a 12-month period beginning 1 July.  Also by that text, the Council expressed its intention to renew its request for further 12-month periods for as long as might be necessary and decided that Member States should take no action inconsistent with the above-mentioned provision and their international obligations.

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For information media. Not an official record.