Press briefing by Security Council president
Having received the report by a United Nations-appointed commission of inquiry into whether genocide occurred in Sudan's Darfur region, the members of the Security Council stood united in their agreement and determination to ensure that impunity was not allowed and that the situation was addressed in some “internationally recognized way”, Joel W. Adechi, Permanent Representative of Benin and Council President for February, stated this afternoon.
Briefing correspondents on the Council’s programme of work, Mr. Adechi noted that Sudan would be the focus of two open briefings early in the month. On 4 February, the Council would hear a briefing by Jan Pronk, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the Sudan. The briefing on 8 February might include the participation of Sudanese Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, rebel leader John Garang and representatives of the African Union, in addition to Mr. Pronk. The Council hoped to consider the Commission’s report as soon as possible, pending its translation into the six official languages, possibly as early as 9 or 10 February.
As for whether he envisioned a quick resolution to get the peacekeeping force for the North/South agreement up and running or a larger omnibus resolution which also addressed sanctions, Mr. Adechi said that all Council members looked at the Sudan in a comprehensive way. It was not possible to consider the peace process and the North/South agreement without taking into account the humanitarian situation in Darfur. It was too early to say what type of resolution could be expected.
Asked about the African position regarding the International Criminal Court or the sanctions issue, he said that the issue had not been discussed yet, and the Council would engage in discussions to see how to deal with implementing the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry. All Council members agreed on the need for a quick reaction following the report’s release. Benin was a strong supporter of the Court and a party to it.
As the representative of Benin, he saw the need to stop what was happening in Darfur and the sense of impunity, as well as the need to react as quickly as possible. As Council President, he had to wait for the report to be ready and for members to discuss it.
In addition to the Sudan, the Council would also hold the following meetings during February: open debate on small arms (17); open briefing on the Middle East (22); open debate, organized by Benin, on children and armed conflict (23); public meeting on cross-border issues in West Africa (25); election of a judge to the International Court of Justice (15); public meeting on Timor-Leste (24); and a public meeting on Kosovo (28). In addition, the Council would meet to consider the results of the Iraqi election, as soon as a complete report was available, and have a presidential statement on it.
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