16 January 2004


Press Release

Security Council

2003 Round-up


In a year dominated by the war in Iraq, the Security Council also addressed a broad range of other threats to peace and security around the globe, including in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Liberia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and others.

The Council convened 181 formal meetings, including 48 on situations in Africa, adopted 67 resolutions and issued 30 presidential statements.  The veto was used twice, both times by the United States on draft resolutions regarding the situation in the Middle East.

In the months prior to hostilities in Iraq, the Council was briefed several times by the Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), Hans Blix, and Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), both of whom reported they had not yet found weapons of mass destruction.  During a ministerial level meeting on 5 February, however, United States Secretary of State Colin Powell presented what he said was evidence of Iraq’s failure to disarm and declared the country in material breach of Council resolution 1441 (2002).

A number of countries, including France, Germany and the Russian Federation, strongly opposed military action and, at several high-level public meetings, asked for more time for United Nations weapons inspectors to finish their work.  A coalition of countries led by the United States and the United Kingdom attacked on 19 March, and thereafter the Council found itself dealing with the military occupation of that country.  Council unity was somewhat restored with the adoption of a number of resolutions dealing with the aftermath and providing for a Special Representative for Iraq (Sergio Vieira de Mello, who died in the 19 August bombing at UN headquarters in Baghdad), establishing the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), and ending the “oil-for-food” programme and the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM).

Monthly briefings on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, provided a narrative of the ups and downs of the peace process there.  In resolution 1515 of 19 November, the Council endorsed the “Road Map” of the Quartet (United States, Russian Federation, European Union, United Nations) towards resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Due to a United States veto, the Council rejected a draft resolution on demands that Israel desist from deporting or threatening the safety of the elected President of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, as well as a text declaring construction of the barrier being built by Israel in the West Bank to be illegal.

Dedicating 32 per cent of its formal meetings to situations on the African continent, the Council established a 15,000 personnel-strong United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), authorized an Interim Emergency Multinational Force in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, increased the authorized military strength of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), and authorized deployment of forces of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and France in Côte d’Ivoire.  Council missions visited the western and central African region.

The Council was regularly briefed about progress and setbacks in Afghanistan regarding security, political and socio-economic processes, disarming rival factions, training of police, development of institutions, and reintegration of ex-combatants and refugees.  A Council mission visited the country from 31 October to 7 November.  In resolution 1510 of 13 October, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was authorized to provide security outside Kabul for international personnel engaged in reconstruction and humanitarian efforts.  Last week, as part of the Bonn process that began two years ago, a Loya Jirga adopted Afghanistan’s new Constitution.  Lakhdar Brahimi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, briefed the Council for the final time in that capacity and stressed the need to quickly capitalize on that success.

Throughout the year, the threat of international terrorism was addressed by the Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee established in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks.  A Council meeting at the ministerial level on 20 January adopted resolution 1456 containing a declaration on the subject, and on 6 March the Council met with some 60 international, regional and subregional organizations to encourage a coordinated approach to the problem.

In a rare action, the Council removed the item of Libya from its agenda after it lifted sanctions against that country, imposed because of terrorist acts against Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, and France’s Union de transports aeriens (UTA) flight 772 over the Niger in 1989.  Sanctions were lifted because Libya accepted responsibility for the actions of its officials, renounced terrorism and arranged for compensation for the victims’ families.

Following are summaries of major Council activities in 2003:


Prior to the invasion of Iraq on 19 March, the Council held numerous meetings on the implementation of resolution 1441 (2002), which provided for an enhanced inspection regime and offered Iraq a final opportunity to comply with relevant Council resolutions.

The Council was briefed by the Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), Hans Blix, and Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), on 27 January, 14 February, 7 and 19 March.  On 7 March, Mr. ElBaradei reported that, after three months of intrusive inspections, the IAEA had found no evidence of the revival of a nuclear weapons programme.  Mr. Blix reported progress in the disarmament process after a period of somewhat reluctant cooperation from the Iraqi side.  On 5 June, Mr. Blix told the Council that up until 19 March the inspectors had found no evidence of the continuation or resumption of programmes of weapons of mass destruction.

On 5 February, United States Secretary of State Colin Powell presented what he said was evidence of Iraq’s failure to disarm and declared the country in material breach of resolution 1441 (2002), warning of serious consequences.  However, France’s Foreign Minister, Dominic de Villepin, echoed by other speakers, said that given the choice between military intervention and an inadequate inspections regime, the international community should choose to strengthen inspections.

On 14 February, discussing a briefing by the heads of the weapons inspections regime, the Foreign Ministers of France, China, Russian Federation, Germany and others supported a continued inspection process.  Mr. Powell, however, supported by Jack Straw, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, spoke out against endlessly stringing out the inspection process.  Iraq’s representative stated that his country was free of weapons of mass destruction, and that Mr. Powell’s statement “was utterly unrelated to the truth”.  During a debate on 7 March, Mr. de Villepin of France said it would not allow a resolution authorizing the automatic use of force.  Other high-level speakers once again stated their position.

On 18 and 19 February, and on 11 and 12 March, the Council heard the opinion of non-Council member States in open debates called for by the Non-Aligned Movement during which most speakers urged the Council to exhaust all peaceful means before resorting to what many called a “rush to war”.  Several speakers, however, including Australia, Peru and Japan, urged quick action if the Council was to maintain credibility.

On 19 March, just before hostilities in Iraq started, the Council met once again to hear from the chief weapons inspectors, whose mission had been suspended.  Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that, now that it was clear the conflict was about to begin, everything possible must be done to mitigate that imminent disaster, which could easily lead to epidemics and starvation.

During the period after 19 March, the Council’s actions were characterized by the adoption of resolutions 1483 and 1511, and by the attack on Baghdad United Nations headquarters on 19 August.

During an open debate on 26 and 27 March, the Secretary-General said the world was living through a moment of deep divisions, and the Council must rediscover its unity of purpose.  While the war continued, he said, it was essential to protect the civilian population.  Some 68 speakers spoke during the debate, most of them stating that the war was a violation of international law and the United Nations Charter.  They stressed the need to:  protect Iraqi civilians; provide immediate humanitarian aid; ensure Iraq’s territorial integrity; and adjust the “oil-for-food” programme.

The Council’s unity was somewhat restored on 22 May through adoption of resolution 1483 by a vote of 14 in favour with Syria being absent.  The resolution provided for, among other things, appointment of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General and lifting of trade sanctions, and supported the formation by the people of Iraq, with the help of the “Authority” (the occupying Powers under unified command) and the Special Representative, of an Iraqi interim administration.

In his only briefing to the Council, on 22 July, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello, called for a clear timetable, as soon as possible, for the earliest possible restoration of sovereignty.  “Our greatest contribution will be in following [Iraq’s] lead and, when necessary, assisting them in achieving consensus among themselves”, he said, adding that the United Nations could not replace the Coalition Provisional Authority.  Members of Iraq’s Governing Council also addressed the Council.

By resolution 1500, adopted on 14 August with 14 members voting in favour and Syria abstaining, the Council authorized creation of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) for one year, and welcomed the creation of the 25-member Iraqi Governing Council as “an important step” towards the formation of an internationally recognized, representative government.

In the wake of the terrorist attack on United Nations headquarters in Baghdad on 19 August, resulting in 23 deaths, including the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello, the Council, in a presidential statement on 20 August, said the United Nations would “not be intimidated” and condemned in the strongest terms the perpetrators of the attack, underlining the need to bring them to justice.

On 16 October, the Council, unanimously adopting resolution 1511, called on the Coalition Provisional Authority to return governing authority to the people of Iraq “as soon as practicable”, and invited the Iraqi Governing Council to provide a timetable, by 15 December 2003, for drafting a new constitution and holding democratic elections.  The Council urged Member States to contribute to a multinational force under a unified command to maintain security in Iraq.  It also resolved that the United Nations should strengthen its vital role in the country.  The Secretary-General said he would do his utmost to implement the mandate, bearing in mind his obligation to care for the safety of United Nations staff.

The representatives of the Coalition Provisional Authority (United States and United Kingdom) informed the Council on 21 November that the Authority and Iraq’s Governing Council had reached an agreement to establish a representative transitional national assembly to fully assume sovereign powers by 30 June 2004.  A timeline had been established for the direct election of a constitutional convention, no later than 15 March 2005.  A constitution would be ratified through a popular referendum, and a new Iraqi Government would be elected no later than  31 December.  Coalition representatives had briefed the Council earlier on

21 August, as required by resolution 1483.

On 16 December, three days after the capture of Saddam Hussein, the Secretary-General told the Council that the United Nations was ready to play its “full part” in Iraq, but, owing to security concerns, few international staff could operate inside the country.  Therefore, the Organization’s mission would be built up in Cyprus and Jordan.  Much greater clarity on what was expected of the United Nations by Iraqis and by the Coalition in terms of assistance to the political transition was needed.  However, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari stressed that the current situation underlined the need for a deepened United Nations involvement, which could not be effectively delivered from Cyprus or Amman.

By resolution 1518, unanimously adopted on 24 November, the Council established a Committee that would continue to track financial assets removed from Iraq by persons connected to Saddam Hussein.

In a presidential statement of 18 December, the Council extended the mandate of Yuli Vorontsov, the Secretary-General’s High-Level Coordinator regarding repatriation and return of all Kuwaiti and third-country nationals, or their remains, and on the return of all Kuwaiti property, including archives, seized by Iraq, in accordance with resolution 1284 (1999).

‘Oil-for-Food’ Programme

The “oil-for-food” programme came to an end on 21 November at midnight, pursuant to requirements of resolution 1483.  The programme, created in 1995 to ease the impact of the sanctions imposed following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, permitted Iraq to use part of its oil revenues for food and medicine and has been the only sustenance for some 60 per cent of Iraq’s people.  It was suspended on 17 March when the Secretary-General withdrew United Nations personnel from Iraq, just prior to the start of military action.

Through resolution 1472, adopted on 28 March, the Council authorized the Secretary-General to urgently establish alternative locations, both inside and outside Iraq, for the delivery of humanitarian supplies and equipment, to redirect shipments of goods to those locations, as necessary, and proceed with approved contracts after a review to determine the relative priorities of the need for adequate medicine, health supplies, foodstuffs and other materials.

In a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2003/24), the Council underlined the exceptionally important role of the programme in providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq under the regime of Council imposed sanctions.  The Secretary-General announced that the Organization would hand over all responsibilities, remaining funds and assets to the Coalition Provisional Authority.  In nearly seven years, he said, the programme –- the only humanitarian programme ever to have been funded entirely from resources belonging to the nation it was designed to help -– had been required to meet an almost impossible series of challenges, using some $46 billion of Iraqi export earnings.

United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM)

On 6 October, the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) came to an end, as did the demilitarised zone between Iraq and Kuwait.  This was decided on 3 July, through unanimous adoption of resolution 1490 (2003), which extended UNIKOM’s mandate for a final period until 6 October.


The situation in Afghanistan continued to demand the Council’s attention during 2003, with eight meetings and a Council mission to the country devoted to it.

After the fall of the Taliban in the wake of 11 September 2001, representatives of various Afghan groups signed a peace agreement in Bonn, Germany, on 5 December 2001.  The Council established the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in resolution 1401 on 28 March 2002.  In regular briefings during 2002 and the first half of 2003, the Council was updated about the situation in Afghanistan.

On 31 January 2003, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Lakhdar Brahimi, highlighted three areas on which to focus in order to make the peace process irreversible:  solidifying the key institutions of the State; pursuing national reconciliation; and showing tangible results in reconstruction.  Security also had to be addressed.  He described “remarkable” progress on many fronts, including on the constitutional and electoral process, but also described problems regarding relief delivery, education, human rights, refugees and drug production.  He urged sustained engagement of the international community.

In subsequent briefings, on 24 February, 26 March, 6 May and 30 October, issues such as reform of the security and judiciary sector, disarming rival factions, training of police, development of institutions, reintegration of ex-combatants and refugees, and the political and socio-economic process were addressed.  It was also suggested that security outside of Kabul -– where the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was responsible -– be considered.

On 17 June, the Council dedicated a meeting to the threats presented by drugs grown in the country, as, according to one speaker, the old Silk Road had been turned into “an opium-paved road”.  The opium economy undermined current institution-building efforts in Afghanistan.  In a presidential statement, the Council, recognizing the links between illicit drug trafficking and terrorism, stressed that security would be enhanced by continued coordinated efforts to combat production of illicit drugs.  The Council urged the international community to provide assistance in developing alternative livelihoods and enforcing prohibitions on cultivation, manufacturing and trafficking of drugs.

UNAMA’s mandate was extended twice, most recently on 13 October for 12 months in resolution 1510, which also authorized expansion of ISAF to allow for maintenance of security outside the capital for international personnel engaged in reconstruction and humanitarian efforts.

In a briefing on 24 October, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno said the mandate’s expansion was a welcome development that would, among other things, allow extension of government authority into the provinces.  However, in addition to security, social services and reconstruction were needed to maintain confidence in the transitional administration.  For that purpose, some $6 billion per year were required.  Maintaining the forward momentum that had been building since Bonn would require the determination of the Afghan people and the will of the international community.

A Council mission visited the country from 31 October to 7 November.  The mission’s leader, Gunter Pleuger (Germany), told the Council on 11 November that progress had been made in many areas, including the launch of a new national currency, ongoing reconstruction, start of a national disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, and preparations for the constitutional Loya Jirga [which took place in December].  The benchmarks of the Bonn peace process had been attained broadly on schedule.  He supported a follow-up conference to the Bonn process early next year, and the initiation of a national reconciliation process.

Middle East


The Council was briefed monthly on the situation in the Middle East.  During his last briefing, on 12 December, Terje Roed-Larsen, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Special Coordinator for the Middle East, noted that the death toll since September 2000 stood at 2,969 Palestinians and 863 Israelis.

In numerous briefings, it was emphasized that, although Israel’s right to self-defence was recognized, as the occupying Power it had to do so within the parameters of international law, in particular, the Fourth Geneva Convention.  In that regard, concern was expressed at continuous demolition of Palestinian homes, closures, and extrajudicial killings.  At the same time, it was stressed, the Palestinian Authority must do everything in its power to prevent the killing of innocents.  The Authority was called upon to bring those involved in planning attacks to justice.

On 15 September, 47 speakers debated ways to reverse a recent surge of violence and return the parties to the peace process.  Many voiced fundamental disagreement with the Israeli Cabinet’s decision, in principle, to expel Yasser Arafat from the occupied territories.  Israel’s representative, however, said   Mr. Arafat, who had not abandoned the path of terrorism, was a significant obstacle to the peace process.  The Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States said that Israel’s attempt to put the conflict in the prism of terrorism was ridiculous.  The Council must take a clear position to end Israel’s flouting of international norms.

On 16 September, the Council failed, due to the negative vote of the United States, to adopt a draft resolution by which it would have demanded that Israel desist from any act of deportation and cease any threat to the safety of the elected President of the Palestinian Authority.  Bulgaria, Germany and the United Kingdom abstained.  Eleven members voted in favour.  The United States had voted against, according to its representative, because the draft did not include a robust condemnation of acts of terrorism.  His country, however, did not support removal of Mr. Arafat.

On 14 October, 44 speakers raised concerns regarding the security barrier being built by Israel in the West Bank.  The Permanent Observer for Palestine  said the construction of the “expansionist” wall involved de facto annexation of expansive areas of occupied land, and would constrict a large number of Palestinian civilians in several walled Bantustans.  Israel’s representative said the “security fence” was being built with great reluctance, but that his country had few other options to protect its people against terrorism.  Israel was willing to remove the fences if there was a negotiated settlement.

Due to the negative vote of the United States, the Council failed that same day to adopt a draft resolution that would have declared illegal construction of such a wall in occupied territories departing from the armistice line of 1949.  Bulgaria, Cameroon, Germany and the United Kingdom abstained.  Ten members voted in favour.  The United States representative said the text was unbalanced and did not adequately address terrorism.

Also on 19 November, after the Council was told that the peace process was undergoing a period of inertia, excuses and conditionality, it adopted unanimously resolution 1515, endorsing the “Road Map” put forward by the so-called “Quartet” (United States, Russian Federation, European Union, United Nations).  The Road Map is a performance-based and goal-driven plan with clear phases, time lines, target dates and benchmarks, aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and ending the occupation that began in 1967 and was officially submitted to the parties on 30 April 2003.

In his briefing of 12 December, Mr. Roed-Larsen said that, due to relative quiet on the ground, willingness of Israeli and Palestinian Prime Ministers to meet, efforts by Egypt to achieve a ceasefire, adoption of resolution 1515, and civil society initiatives such as the Geneva accords, there was now a window of opportunity to put the peace process back on track.  To do so, each party had to recognize the core concerns of the other side, roughly defined as territory and terror, as a reality, and both parties and the international community must address them in parallel, not sequentially or with preconditions.


The Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) twice for six months, most recently by resolution 1496 (2003), unanimously adopted on 31 July.  During briefings on the situation in the Middle East, Council’s attention was drawn to the fact that, although the situation along the “Blue Line” generally remained calm, because of continued air violations by Israel and resulting Hezbollah anti-aircraft fire, the situation could escalate.  Both parties had to exercise restraint, it was noted, and extension of the Lebanese Government’s authority throughout southern Lebanon would be helpful in diminishing tension.


On Sunday, 5 October, the Council met to discuss the Israeli air strike against Syria earlier that day.  The strikes followed a suicide bombing the day before in Haifa, Israel, which killed 19 Israelis.  While Syria’s representative said the attack, on the pretext of fighting so-called terrorism, was used to justify a policy of colonialism and settlement-building, Israel’s representative stated that Islamic Jihad, which had claimed responsibility for the Haifa attack, had its headquarters in Damascus, Syria.

The mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was 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  22 December extending UNDOF's mandate until 30 June 2004.  The UNDOF has supervised ceasefire and disengagement between Israel and Syria since 1974.


      Counter-Terrorism Committee

During the course of the year, progress had been made in the international fight against terrorism, according to briefings from the Chairmen of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (Committee established pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001).  The Committee was established to monitor the resolution's implementation, through, among other things, reports from States on actions they had taken to that end.

Two weeks after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, 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.  Committee actions focused on three main areas:  working with Member States to raise their capacity to defeat terrorism in their countries; promoting assistance programmes to accelerate the capacity-building process; and creating a global network of international and regional organizations.

On 20 January, a Council meeting at the ministerial level adopted, through resolution 1456, a declaration reaffirming the severity of the global terrorist threat and calling on all States to take urgent action to prevent and suppress all active and passive support to terrorism.  Speaking at the meeting, Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed the increasing “indispensable legal and institutional role” the United Nations must play in the anti-terrorism campaign.  He also urged action to solve the political disputes and long-standing conflicts which generated support for terrorism.

On 6 March, the Council met with some 60 international, regional and subregional organizations in order to encourage development of a coordinated approach within the international community on counter-terrorism issues.

The Chairmen of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (United Kingdom until 4 April, Spain after that) briefed the Council on 20 January, 20 February, 4 April, 6 May, 23 July and 16 October.

On 4 April, the outgoing Chairman, Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom), said counter-terrorism had gone global.  Collective effort would pay dividends, because no country could prevent terrorism in isolation.  “It took a horrific terrorist act less than five miles from this Council Chamber to shake the international community into adopting 1373’s legally binding and global standards”, he said, but memories could fade, and so could the call of responsibility.  The vigour of a central, catalytic body could make a huge difference to the maintenance of global law and order, and the Committee had become that.

On 16 October, Committee Chairman Inocencio F. Arias (Spain) said the Committee’s work was moving from stage “A”, which basically related to seeing that legislation was adapted to the struggle, to stage “B”, which dealt with “real implementation” of those measures.  The Committee was increasingly cooperating with States that were having difficulties in implementing provisions of the resolution.  Ties had been strengthened with regional and subregional organizations.  Steps had also been taken to ensure cooperation between the Committee and the “1267” Committee, which monitored sanctions against the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Speakers in the debates following the briefings stressed the need to pay more attention to the root causes of terrorism, including poverty, intolerance, regional conflicts and denial of human rights.  In the fight against terrorism, national and international law, human rights and the Charter of the United Nations must be respected.  Attention was also drawn to the links between terrorism, transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money laundering and trafficking in illegal arms.

States that had not yet done so were urged to sign and ratify the 12 conventions relating to terrorism.  Regret was expressed that political differences were delaying elaboration of a global convention to combat terrorism and nuclear terrorist acts, an agreed definition of terrorism being an impediment.  Some speakers underlined the right to self-determination of peoples and said the phenomenon of State terrorism should not be excluded from consideration.

In a presidential statement following the 16 October debate, the Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constituted one of the most serious threats to peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism were criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, whenever and by whomsoever committed.

Committee Established Pursuant to Resolution 1267 (1999)

On 17 January, the Council, through resolution 1455, improved implementation of measures against the Taliban and members of the Al Qaeda organization, through freezing of funds of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden and his associates, an arms embargo and travel prohibitions.  The Council also stressed the need for improved coordination between the “1267” Committee and the Counter-Terrorism Committee.

The Chair of the Committee established to oversee implementation of sanctions imposed on Osama bin laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban (the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999)) briefed the Council on 29 July.  Heraldo Muñoz (Chile) said, although the international community had achieved some success against Al Qaeda, among other things through the arrest of senior leaders, recent bombings in various countries had underscored the challenges ahead in the fight against international terrorism.  The Committee had improved format and content of the “consolidated list of individuals and entities belonging to or associated with the Taliban and Al Qaeda”.

Other Action

On 13 February, the Council, in resolution 1465, condemned “in the strongest terms” last week’s bomb attack in Bogotá, Colombia.  In a presidential statement on 20 August, the Council unequivocally condemned as an assault against the international community as a whole the 19 August attack against the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, and stated the Organization’s Iraq mission “will not be intimidated”.  On 20 November, the Council in resolution 1516 condemned the bomb attacks of 15 and 20 November in Istanbul, Turkey.


      Continuing a policy to address the situation in Africa as a whole through enhanced interaction between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, it dedicated 58 formal meetings, roughly 32 per cent, on situations on the continent, endorsed several peacekeeping missions and peace initiatives organized by subregional organizations, and sent two Council missions to the continent, one to the western African and one to the central African region.

Central and West Africa

The Council held a public meeting on 18 March, in which it was briefed by high-level officials of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on threats to peace and security in the West African subregion.  Through adoption of resolution 1467, which contains a declaration on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and mercenary activities in West Africa, the Council recommended that the States of the subregion consider broadening ECOWAS’ small arms moratorium, and recommended the creation of an ECOWAS national register that would record national holdings of those weapons.

A Council mission to Central Africa took place from 7 t0 16 July, focusing on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi. From 26 June to 5 July, a Council mission visited Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Sierra Leone in support of peace efforts in the West African subregion.  Due to the conflict in Liberia at that time, the mission was unable to visit that country and travelled instead to Accra, Ghana, where the parties to the Liberian peace talks were gathered.  The Council met on 30 May in preparation for those missions.

The Council was briefed on its mission to Central Africa by its head, Jean-Marc de la Sablière (France) on 18 June, and on the West Africa mission, headed by Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom), on 9 July.

On 25 July, the Council issued a presidential statement in which it endorsed the recommendations made by the two missions as set out in documents S/2003/653 on Central Africa, and S/2003/688 on West Africa, and emphasized the importance of a subregional approach to issues such as small arms and light weapons, mercenaries, child soldiers and humanitarian access.

An assessment mission to the countries of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) from 8 to 22 June visited Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe, Congo, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad and the Central African Republic.

The Council considered the mission’s report (document S/2003/1077) on 24 November to consider strengthening cooperation between the United Nations system and the States of the Central African subregion.  The Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Tuliameni Kalomoh, stressed the need for a holistic, integrated and cross-border approach to finding a solution to armed conflicts, promoting long-term stability and development there, and countering such problems as the illicit arms trade, the mass movement of refugees, widespread poverty and weak State institutions.

Great Lakes Region

On 20 November, the Council considered preparations for an international conference on the Great Lakes region of Africa.  The objective of the conference is to establish a regional framework around the themes of peace and security, democracy and good governance, economic development and regional integration, and humanitarian and social issues.  The conference’s preparatory process will involve meetings of national preparatory committees and a regional preparatory committee, as well as a set of thematic meetings (subregional organizations, women, youth), culminating in two summit meetings:  in June 2004 to adopt general principles and directives, and a second one on a date to be determined.

In a presidential statement, the Council appealed to the countries in the region (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania) and the international community to provide political, technical and financial support to that event, which would take place under the auspices of the United Nations and the African Union.

Food Security in Africa

On 7 April, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), James T. Morris, briefed the Council on Africa’s food crisis as a threat to peace and security, saying that the WFP needed to find $1.8 billion this year to meet the emergency food needs in Africa.  According to Mr. Morris, the causes of Africa’s food crises included a “lethal combination” of recurring droughts, failed economic policies, conflict and the widening impact of HIV/AIDS.  Speakers in the ensuing debate stressed the need for the international community to address the crisis, with the understanding that food security was closely linked to larger security issues.  They also stressed the need to address the root causes of hunger, rather than focus on food emergencies alone. 


After a long-standing internal conflict between the largely Tutsi army and Hutu rebels, which had resulted in an estimated 200,000 deaths and massive displacement, a Peace and Reconciliation Agreement was signed by most of the parties on 28 August 2000 in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania.  On 1 November 2002, a power-sharing plan came into force that allows for a Hutu and Tutsi President to alternate at the helm of the country.  On 2 December 2002, the Government and the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD) agreed to a ceasefire.

In a presidential statement of 2 May, the Council congratulated the parties on a peaceful transition of power in the presidency of the transitional Government on 1 May.  It strongly condemned attacks in April on Bujumbura and other cities by the forces of National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), and reiterated its demands that the Forces nationals de liberation (Palipehutu-FNL) enter into a ceasefire with the Government without preconditions.

On 22 December, through a presidential statement, the Council welcomed the signing on 16 November of the ceasefire agreement between the Transitional Government of Burundi and the CNDD-FDD.  It once more urged the Palipehutu-FNL, the only rebel group that had not yet joined the Arusha process, to do so without further delay.  That statement followed a 4 December meeting, in which members were briefed on developments by the Deputy President of South Africa and Facilitator of the Burundi peace process, Jacob Zuma.

Côte d’Ivoire

Following an attempted coup in September 2002, resulting in widespread violence and a humanitarian crisis, the country remained virtually divided, with its southern part under the control of the Government, led by President Laurent Gbagbo, and the north by rebel groups.

Through the adoption of resolution 1464 on 4 February, the Council called for full and immediate implementation of the peace agreement signed by the Côte d’Ivoire political forces in Linas-Marcoussis, France, on 24 January.  The Council authorized deployment of forces of ECOWAS and France for a period of six months in support of the agreement.  The authorizations was renewed for a period of six months on 4 August (resolution 1498).

In a ministerial-level meeting on 29 April, the Secretary-General appealed to the Council and the international community to provide the necessary financial support to sustain the West African peacekeeping force and recommended the establishment of a small United Nations operation.

Adopting resolution 1479 on 13 May, the Council established the United Nations Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (MINUCI) for an initial period of six months, in order to facilitate implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.  MINUCI’s mandate was extended for another six months on 13 November (resolution 1514).

Through a presidential statement adopted on 25 July, the Council reiterated the need for the Ivorian political forces to implement, fully and without delay, all of the provisions of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, as well as those of the agreement signed in Accra, Ghana, on 8 May (“Accra II”), with a view to open, free and transparent elections in 2005.  In a presidential statement of 13 November, the Council expressed concern over a slowdown in the Ivorian peace process.

Addressing the Council on 24 November, the Secretary-General expressed deep concern over a political stalemate, created by the withdrawal of the Forces Nouvelles from the Government of National Reconciliation.  He urged the Forces Nouvelles to rejoin the Government without delay and called on all militias to begin to disband immediately, so that armed groups be cantoned and disarmed.

On 4 December, in a presidential statement, the Council expressed grave concern at attempts by armed elements to cross the established ceasefire line and firmly called on all parties to refrain from any action that might jeopardize observance of the ceasefire and implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.  It emphasized the importance of having the Forces Nouvelles participate fully in the Government of National Reconciliation and reaffirmed the urgency of carrying out operations to regroup opposing forces so that disarmament and demobilization could begin.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Council work on the Democratic Republic of the Congo this year focused on the continued instability in the eastern part of the country, along with the continued, massive human rights violations and plundering of resources there, as political progress was consolidated around the formation of the Government of National Unity in July.  The conflict dates from August 1998, when, in an attempt to stabilize the country and consolidate his control, then President Laurent Kabila expelled Rwandan troops from the country.  That action soon evolved into a regional dispute.

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.  To help monitor its implementation, the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) was established in November 1999.

Alarm over the situation in the east was sounded at briefings on 13 February and 20 March by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, and the late United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello.  The Council was told that there had been heavy fighting in the Ituri region, involving the Mouvement de libération du Congo (MLC), the Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie-National (RCD-N), the Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie-Kisangani/Mouvement de libération (RCD-K/ML), and the Union des patriotes congolais (UPC), despite the signing in December of an all-inclusive agreement in Pretoria, South Africa.  Briefers underlined the need to put an end to human rights violations and the culture of impunity.

In a presidential statement on 16 May, the Council welcomed the ceasefire agreement for the Ituri region, signed earlier that day, as well as the efforts by the Secretary-General to address the urgent humanitarian situation in Bunia, where ethnic killings were intensifying, including options for sending an emergency international force.

On 30 May, the Council, acting under Chapter VII and through adoption of resolution 1484, authorized the establishment until 1 September of an Interim Emergency Multinational Force in Bunia, with authorization to take all necessary measures to fulfil its mandate, namely, to: contribute to stabilizing the security and humanitarian situation in Bunia; ensuring the protection of the airport and camps for internally displaced persons; and, if the situation required it, protecting the population, United Nations personnel and the humanitarian presence.

During a briefing on the situation on 7 July by Mr. Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Bertrand Gangapersaud Ramcharan, the Council focused on two reports of the High Commissioner’s Office on atrocities committed in the Ituri region.  The reports concluded that all parties in the eastern part of the country were using human rights violations to create an atmosphere of terror and oppression, in order to control the population and natural resources.

A decisive moment in the four-year-old peace process had been reached, the Council was told later that month, as 28 speakers took the floor in a public meeting on 18 July to consider the way ahead.  Speakers welcomed the European Union’s decision to establish the Interim Emergency Multinational Force in Bunia authorized by resolution 1484.  Several speakers warned, however, that replacement of the Force must be done seamlessly and carefully.  Some called for an arms embargo in the eastern portion of the country; many sought an end to the reign of impunity for perpetrators of violence.  The establishment of a transitional government, four years after the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement was signed, was hailed as historic.

Meeting on the issue for the third time that month, on 28 July, the Council extended MONUC’s mandate, until 30 July 2004.  Resolution 1493 put MONUC in the context of “Chapter VII”, authorizing the Mission to use “all necessary means” to fulfil its mandate in the eastern portion of the country.  It increased its authorized military strength to 10,800, and instituted a 12-month arms embargo over areas in the eastern part of the country.  (On 26 June, MONUC’s mandate had been extended for one month through resolution 1489.)

On 26 August, through resolution 1501, the Council authorized the Interim Emergency Multinational Force to provide assistance as the United Nations Mission is reinforced and deployed in and around the town of Bunia on 1 September.  That assistance was intended to ensure a smooth transition as the United Nations Mission assumes the responsibilities of the Force, which was to complete its withdrawal by 15 September.

Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources in Democratic Republic of Congo

In June 2000, at the request of the Council, the Secretary-General had established a Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  On 24 January this year, the Council, through resolution 1457, requested a new mandate for the Panel for a period of six months.  Resolution 1499 of 13 August requested an extension of the Panel’s mandate until 31 October to allow it to complete its work and submit a final report.

In a presidential statement on 19 November, the Council condemned the continuing exploitation of those resources in light of the final report by the Panel.  It urged all States concerned, especially those in the region, to take steps to end those illegal activities by proceeding with their own investigations on the basis of the information accumulated by the Panel.  It also encouraged States, trade organizations and specialized bodies to monitor the trade in raw materials from the region.

Ethiopia and Eritrea

War between Ethiopia and Eritrea 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.  A comprehensive peace agreement was signed on 12 December 2000, also in Algiers.

UNMEE’s mandate was extended twice, most recently on 12 September, through resolution 1507, until 15 March 2004.  In that resolution, the Council called on the parties to cooperate fully and promptly with the Boundary Commission in its delimiting and demarcating activities and to implement fully its demarcation directions and orders.

On 17 July, the Council, in a presidential statement, welcomed the countries’ acceptance of the April 2002 delimitation decision as “final and binding” and it urged the parties to provide their full and prompt cooperation to the Boundary Commission for the beginning of demarcation in Sector East and for the initiation of survey work in Sectors Centre and West.


The Council established a Peace-building Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS) in March 1999 to coordinate the efforts of the United Nations system after the civil strife of the late 1990s.

Reacting to the fragile political situation in Guinea-Bissau in the first of two formal meetings, the Council issued a presidential statement on 19 June (document S/2003/PRST/8).  In anticipation of its mission to the West African subregion from 26 June to 5 July, it urged the leaders and the international community to work more purposefully together to ensure that the development, humanitarian and peace-building agendas were “quickly put back on track”.  The Council appealed to the country’s President and Government to ensure the transparency and credibility of forthcoming legislative elections, scheduled for  6 July.

On 29 September, the Council met to consider the situation in the wake of a bloodless coup in which the country’s military had taken power from President Kumba Yala on 14 September, after the President had postponed elections once again following several such postponements since he had dissolved the Government last November.  José Ramos Horta, Minster for Foreign Affairs of Timor-Leste and Special Envoy of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries, said the military intervention had been seemingly welcomed by the people.  He was confident that the current Transitional Government had no wish to remain in power, and had been genuinely motivated by socio-economic conditions.


Due to its support for armed groups in the West African subregion, including in Sierra Leone, the Council had imposed wide-ranging sanction on Liberia in 2001, including an embargo on arms and rough diamonds and a travel ban for officials.  In a 13 December 2002 presidential statement, the Council had expressed concern over armed attacks by the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebel group.  A Panel of Experts was appointed to investigate sanction violations.

By resolution 1458 of 28 January, the Panel of Experts was re-established for a further three months.  Resolution 1478 of 6 May extended existing sanctions for 12 months and added a 10-month ban on import of round logs and timber products originating in Liberia.

On 1 August, in light of renewed fighting in Monrovia on 18 July after a   17 June ceasefire agreement between the parties, the Council, in resolution 1497, authorized a Multinational Force to use “all necessary measures” to support implementation of the agreement, and declared its readiness to deploy a United Nations peacekeeping force by 1 October to assist in reaching a comprehensive peace agreement.  It authorized the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) to extend logistical support for up to 30 days to the forward Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) elements of the Multinational Force.

That resolution was adopted in a vote of 12 members in favour and France, Germany and Mexico abstaining because of a resolution’s provision limiting jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and third countries.

Later that month, on 27 August, the Council, in a presidential statement, welcomed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 18 August.   That action followed a ministerial-level briefing by senior officials of ECOWAS.

Through resolution 1509, adopted on 19 September, the Council established for a period of 12 months a 15,000-strong stabilization force to assist in implementing the ceasefire and the peace agreement.  It also welcomed the 11 August resignation of President Charles Taylor and the peaceful transfer of power in the country, and asked the Secretary-General to transfer authority to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) on 1 October from ECOWAS-led forces.  That action followed a briefing on 16 September by Jacques Paul Klein, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Liberia.

Adjusting the embargoes against Liberia to reflect the changed circumstances there, in particular, the departure of Mr. Taylor and the formation of the National Transitional Government, as well as progress in the peace process in neighbouring Sierra Leone, the Security Council, on 22 December, terminated its bans on the sale or supply of arms, diamonds and timber, as well as travel, and dissolved the Committee set up to monitor them.  At the same time, it reapplied the measures under the watch of a new body set up by resolution 1521.

The Council also demanded that all States in West Africa take action to prevent armed individuals and groups from using their territory to prepare and commit attacks on neighbouring countries and refrain from any action that might further destabilize the situation in the subregion.


By a vote of 13 in favour with France and the United States abstaining, the Council adopted resolution 1506 on 12 September by which it lifted sanctions on Libya after that country accepted responsibility for the actions of its officials in terrorist acts against Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, and France’s Union de transports aeriens (UTA) flight 772 over the Niger in 1989, renounced terrorism and arranged for payment of appropriate compensation for the families of the victims.  Action on the text had been postponed during a meeting on 9 September.  The Council also removed the item from its agenda.

Sierra Leone

Resolution 1470, adopted on 28 March, extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) for six months.  Also by that text, UNAMSIL was to take responsibility for internal and external security, and to complete phase two and enact phase three of the Mission’s drawdown plan, as presented in the Secretary-General’s fifteenth report (document S/2002/987).

On 18 July, through resolution 1492, the Council approved the Secretary-General’s recommendation that the drawdown should proceed according to the “modified status quo” option, by which four stages of troop reduction would culminate in complete withdrawal by December 2004.

UNAMSIL’s mandate was further extended until 31 March 2004 through resolution 1508, adopted on 19 September.  The Council welcomed the Secretary-General’s intention, should the security environment remain favourable, to reduce troop strength to 11,500, starting in November.  It is envisaged that by October 2004 troop strength will stand at 5,000.

The conflict in Sierra Leone dates from March 1991 when fighters of the Revolutionary United Front (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.


Following a decade of anarchy and famine in the country, 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 remained.  On 27 October 2002, a Declaration on Cessation of Hostilities and Structures and Principles of the Somalia Reconciliation Process was signed in Eldoret, Kenya.

On 12 March, through a presidential statement, the Council expressed its strong regret that, even after the signing of that Declaration, fighting continued.  It condemned all those involved in the fighting and called for an immediate end to all acts of violence.  It also called on all States and other actors to comply scrupulously with the arms embargo established by resolution 733 (1992).

In a presidential statement on 11 November, the Council urged Somali leaders to reach agreement on a viable government and a durable solution to the conflict, through a “Leaders Meeting” planned for Kenya later in the month.  It called on the international community to support the Somali Reconciliation Process, the Trust Fund for Peace-building in Somalia, and the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Somalia.

In monitoring the 1992 arms embargo, the Council, in its resolution 1474 of 8 April, re-established for six months the Panel of Experts it had set up in September 2002 to investigate violations of the embargo.  The Council also decided to send a mission of the Council Committee established in 1992 to monitor the embargo to the region.

Having considered the Panel of Expert’s report (document S/2003/35), which described widespread embargo violations with weapons flowing into and out of Somalia to neighbouring countries, with consequences for security in the region, the Council adopted resolution 1519 on 16 December, which asked the Secretary-General to establish a Monitoring Group as soon as possible, for six months, to focus on the ongoing arms embargo violations, including transfers of ammunition, single use weapons and small arms.


Through a presidential statement on 10 October, the Council welcomed the agreements on security arrangements between the Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, reached at Naivasha, Kenya, in September, and stated it looked forward to a comprehensive peace agreement based on the Machakos Protocol.

The Machakos Protocol, signed on 20 July 2002 at Machakos, Kenya, between the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, is an agreement on a broad framework on principles of governance, as well as procedures for a transitional process.  As part of its Protocol, the parties reached an agreement on the right to self-determination for the people of south Sudan.

Western Sahara

In January, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for the Western Sahara, James Baker III, presented a “Peace plan for self-determination for the people of Western Sahara” to the parties involved in the settlement of the long-running dispute about the Territory.  The proposed plan (document S/2003/565, annex II) provides for a United Nations-conducted referendum on the final status of Western Sahara and for an interim authority until results of the referendum are implemented.

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 United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (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.  That referendum process has been stalled for years.

In order to give the parties time to consider the proposal, MINURSO’s mandate was extended five times for short periods during the course of the year, most recently until 31 January 2004 through adoption of resolution 1513 on

28 October.



The Council was briefed thrice on the situation in Bougainville (Papua New Guinea) and the activities of the United Nations Political Office in Bougainville (UNPOB).  The UNPOB was established to assist in implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, signed in August 2001 following a decade of armed conflict on the island.     

In light of the expiration of UNPOB’s mandate on 31 December, and of the fact that the peace process had not yet reached its logical conclusion -- the establishment of an autonomous government -- the Council, on 15 December, was briefed on the Secretary-General’s intention to establish for a period of six months a small, follow-on United nations Observer Mission in Bougainville (UNOMB), to finish the residual tasks of UNPOB and support efforts in the transitional period leading to elections.

In briefings on 28 March and 6 August, the Council was told about progress made in the Weapons Disposal Plan and the constitutional process.

East Timor/Timor-Leste

Hailed last year as a “text book” success of the United Nations, the United Nations Transitional 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 2002.  Just prior to independence, on 17 May 2002, the Council established the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) as a follow-up.

In his first briefing to the Council this year on the situation there, on  10 March, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno told the Council that, despite successes achieved, several violent incidents sounded a warning bell.  He proposed enhancement of UNMISET’s ability to support development of the Timorese police and to strengthen short-term operational capacity to deal with the threat posed by armed groups, as well as a delay in downsizing of the military component.

Those recommendations were enacted on 4 April through adoption of resolution 1473.  Resolution 1480 of 19 May extended UNMISET’s mandate until 20 May 2004.

The Council was further briefed on the situation on 28 April and 15 October.  Speakers in the ensuing debates welcomed continued improvement in relations between the country and Indonesia, as well as agreements with Australia regarding oil-exploitation.  They stressed the necessity of strengthening the national police and judiciary, and emphasized that United Nations involvement should not end with expiration of UNMISET’s mandate.


Bosnia and Herzegovina

On 1 January, this year, the European Union Police Mission (EUPM) assumed the work of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) after that Mission’s mandate expired on 31 December 2002.

By its resolution 1491 of 11 July, the Council extended the mandate of the Multinational Stabilization Force (SFOR) for a period of 12 months.

The High Representative for the Implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, Paddy Ashdown, briefed the Council on 8 October on establishing the rule of law and reforming the economy. Much attention was focused on establishment of a special War Crimes Chamber within the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to which cases involving intermediary- and lower-level accused could be transferred to national jurisdiction by the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.  On the economic front, Mr. Ashdown said a “bulldozer had been driven through red tape”, so that other structural reforms could be tackled.


The Council was regularly briefed on the latest developments there, with a focus on implementation of the “standards before status” policy.  According to that policy, Provisional Institutions of Self-Government in Kosovo (Serbia and Montenegro) had to achieve certain standards, or benchmarks, before final status of Kosovo could be addressed.  The eight standards to be met are:  functioning democratic institutions; rule of law; freedom of movement; returns and reintegration; economy; property rights; dialogue with Belgrade; and the Kosovo Protection Corps.

Support for that policy was once more expressed on 12 December in a presidential statement, which expressed Council support for the “Standards for Kosovo” document, which sets out point by point the meaning of the standards.  The Council also welcomed the launching of a review mechanism, which set out the prospect of a comprehensive review of progress made by the Provisional Institutions of Self-government in meeting the standards.

Although speakers during nine debates on the issue welcomed progress made  in implementing resolution 1244 (1999) governing the situation in Kosovo, in particular the launching of a direct dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina on practical matters, they expressed concern about ethnic violence, equal rights for non-Albanians, and safe and dignified return of refuges and displaced persons.  They were also concerned about the economic situation, with unemployment running at 57 per cent as of July, freedom of movement, and urged an end to impunity for those who committed violent, ethnic-based crimes.


Hopes for a solution to the issue of Cyprus, where the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has been active since 1964 as the Organization’s longest continued peacekeeping operation, were diminished early this year when, as discussed by the Council in resolution 1475 of 14 April, the “negative approach” of the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash meant it would not be possible to carry out the settlement plan offered by the Secretary-General.  The Council expressed its regret at the situation after hearing a briefing by Alvaro de Soto, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus, who described a breakdown in talks between parties, just before signature of the European Union accession treaty on 16 April.

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.

The Council extended the mandate of the Cyprus Force twice this year, most recently until 15 June 2004 through resolution 1517.


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 2003, most recently until 31 January 2004 through resolution 1494.  The Council also endorsed adding a civilian police component of 20 officers to the Mission to contribute to the creation of conditions conducive to the safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees.

International Tribunals and Courts

International Criminal Tribunals for Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda

This year’s Council action regarding the International Criminal Tribunals was geared towards concluding the Tribunals’ work in a timely fashion.

Resolution 1503 of 28 August called on the Tribunals to complete investigations by the end of 2004, to complete all trial activities at first instance by the end of 2008, and to complete all work in 2010. By that resolution, the Council also split the prosecutorial duties for the Tribunals, which until then had been the responsibility of a single official.  Resolutions 1504 and 1505 of 4 September appointed Carla Del Ponte as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and Hassan Bubacar Jallow as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

The Tribunals’ statutes were amended in resolutions 1481 of 19 May and 1512 of 27 October to allow ad litem judges, during the period of their appointment to a trial, to adjudicate in pre-trial proceedings in other cases.  Resolution 1512 also increased the number of ad litem judges of the Rwanda Tribunal serving at the same time from four to nine.  A presidential statement accompanying resolution 1512 allowed the Tribunal to fund renovation of prison facilities in States that carried out prison sentences of the Tribunal.  Resolution 1482 of 19 May extended the term of office of four permanent judges at the Rwanda Tribunal in order to allow them to dispose of a number of ongoing cases.

The Council was briefed on 9 October by the Presidents and other high officials of the Tribunals on progress made and on their strategies to comply with the Council’s completion strategy.

On 29 April, the Council, through resolution 1477, forwarded a list of 35 candidates for ad litem judges of the Rwanda Tribunal to the General Assembly.  On 28 March, it had extended the deadline for nominations until 15 April.

International Criminal Court

On 12 June, the Council adopted resolution 1487 in a vote of 12 in favour and France, Germany and Syria abstaining.  That resolution requested immunity from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for United Nations peacekeepers from countries not party to the Court’s Statute for a 12-month period, extending an exemption originally requested in July last year.  The abstaining members argued that the ICC was not an impediment to peacekeeping, but a safeguard, and that there was no justification to renew the resolution.

Thematic Issues

Children and Armed Conflict

      In resolution 1460 of 30 January, the Council called on all parties to armed conflict who are recruiting or using children to halt such practices immediately.  The Council also noted with concern the cases of sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children in humanitarian crises and requested contributing countries to incorporate the “Six Core Principles” of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on Emergencies into pertinent codes of conduct for peacekeeping personnel and to develop appropriate disciplinary and accountability mechanisms.

Adoption of the resolution followed an open debate held 14 January, which focused on the Secretary-General’s report (document S/2002/1299), which listed   23 parties to conflicts in the Council’s agenda, both governments and armed groups, that continued to recruit or use child soldiers.  The conflicts include Afghanistan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and Somalia.

Chapter VI of United Nations Charter

On 13 May, on the initiative of Pakistan, which held that month’s Council presidency, the Council debated its role in the peaceful settlement of disputes.  Opening remarks were made by the Secretary-General and three eminent persons:  Sir Brian Urquhart, former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs; Jamsheed Marker, former Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for East Timor; and Nabil Elaraby, Judge, International Court of Justice.

In a presidential statement, the Council cited Articles 33 to 38 of Chapter VI, which sets forth means and a framework for the peaceful settlement of disputes, as an essential component of its work to promote and maintain international peace and security.  It underscored that efforts to strengthen that process should be continued and made more effective.

Civilians in Armed Conflict

In order to protect civilians in armed conflict, a presidential statement of 15 March 2002 containing an “Aide-Memoire” on the subject 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.

The Council was briefed twice on progress in implementing the objectives, for the first time on 20 June by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Kenzo Oshima.  On 9 December, Jan Egeland, Mr. Oshima’s successor, presented an updated version of the Aide-Memoire, as well as a “road map”.  He outlined 10 action points that built on areas of the road map that enjoyed the consensus support of the Council.

In a presidential statement on 15 December, the Council adopted the updated Aide-Memoire, and took note with interest of the 10-point action plan, looking forward to further discussions and consultations on the issue.


Over the years, it had been pointed out that illegal exploitation of rough diamonds and the trade therein fuelled conflict in countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, and others. “Conflict diamonds” featured in various sanctions regimes (see, for example Liberia).  In resolution 1459 of 28 January, the Council expressed its strong support for the “Kimberley Process Certification Scheme”, launched on 1 January, and urged all Member States to participate.  That voluntary system of self-regulation would help facilitate the full traceability of rough diamond transactions.


With 92 countries contributing over 42,000 personnel to peacekeeping operations, countering the spread of HIV/AIDS in those operations presented an immense challenge, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno told the Council on 17 November.  It was essential for troop-contributing States to mainstream HIV awareness in their own national training programmes.  The Department of Peacekeeping Operations had developed a pre-deployment training module on HIV/AIDS and established an HIV/AIDS Trust Fund.

Speakers, supporting recommendations of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), underlined the need for more specific surveys on HIV prevalence in peacekeeping missions, and assessments of the effectiveness of current programmes.

      Justice and Rule of Law

At a meeting at the ministerial level on 24 September, the Council, in a presidential statement, invited all Member-States to contribute to enhancing the United Nations role in establishing justice and the rule of law in post-conflict societies.  The Council was determined to harness the abundant wealth of expertise on the matter within the Organization.  At the outset of the meeting, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the United Nations had learned that the rule of law was not a luxury.  People had lost faith in a peace process because they did not feel safe from crime, or resorted to violence because there was no credible machinery to enforce the law.  “We have learned that the rule of law delayed is lasting peace denied”, he said.

During a follow-up meeting on 30 September, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno noted that, as judicial and corrections mission costs were quite small compared with costs of deploying a large military force, support for the rule of law was a good investment.  Speakers stressed the link between justice and the rule of law and building a peaceful society.  There was a call for ending the culture of impunity.  The International Criminal Tribunal was seen by many to be a remedy for that.  Many speakers underscored the need to balance justice with reconciliation.

Mine Action

Citing the long-term consequences of landmines and unexploded ordnance on peace and security, the Security Council, on 19 November in a presidential statement, expressed its intention to address mine action in the mandates of peacekeeping operations when appropriate, and encouraged the Secretary-General to consider including mine action in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration initiatives.  It stressed the importance of international technical assistance for mine-affected States, and urged Member States to provide adequate financial support to mine action through further contributions to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action.  The statement followed up on a 13 November briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno, who called mine action a dynamic component of peacekeeping operations, and Martin Dahinden, Director of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining.


On 28 August, in focusing on ways of providing better support for United Nations peacekeeping operations in various parts of the world, the Council addressed the evolving and increasingly complex nature of peacekeeping, with speakers emphasizing the need for clear mandates and timetables, as well as conditions to ensure their implementation.  Peacekeeping missions should not only be involved in providing military forces, but also in ensuring support for restoration of durable peace through humanitarian efforts, as well as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants, support for the rule of law, electoral assistance and economic reconstruction.  Provision of adequate human and financial resources was of particular importance.

Post-Conflict Situations

During a debate on 30 April on the role of the Organization in post-conflict situations, speakers pointed out that, in some cases, gaps had emerged in the transition from peacekeeping to peace-building, and stressed the importance of coherence of efforts, coordination among United Nations bodies, and flexibility.  Of particular importance was the provision of adequate human and financial resources.  Important lessons could be learned from previous conflict resolution and peacekeeping experience.

As much of the discussion focused on the situation in Iraq, Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed to the Council to set aside its past differences and find a new “unity of purpose in the post-war phase”.

Regional Organizations

The Council, on 11 April, held a joint meeting with regional organizations on the theme “The Security Council and regional organizations:  Facing New Challenges to International Peace and Security”.  After Secretary-General Kofi Annan listed potential global threats to stability, noting that the Organization was at a crucial juncture in development of international relations, discussion focused on conflict prevention, management and solution, in terms of new opportunities for cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.  Such cooperation should be based on complementarity of action, keeping in mind regional differences, speakers said.

Safety of Humanitarian Workers

One week after the attack on United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, and other attacks on humanitarian workers, the Council, on 26 August, adopted resolution 1502, expressing its strong condemnation of all forms of violence against those participating in humanitarian operations, and urging States to ensure that crimes against such personnel did not go unpunished.


General issues of sanctions, including possible time limits, collateral humanitarian damage and evasion, were taken up on 25 February, when Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Hans Dahlgren presented the findings of the “Stockholm process” on the implementation of targeted sanctions.  The Stockholm process has been a more-than-year-long period of engagement with governments, non-governmental organizations, and academics, among others, with the goal of suggesting ways to strengthen the capacity to implement targeted sanctions by the United Nations and Member States.

In the ensuing debate, some speakers stressed that sanctions as a coercive measure must be among the last, and not the first resort.  Other speakers noted that “smart sanctions” remained subject to frequent violations.  A uniform and effective monitoring mechanism should be set up.  It was stressed that the more efficiently, objectively and transparently sanctions regimes were conceived and implemented, the better they could serve as sharp instruments under Chapter VII of the Charter, thus, enabling the Council to avoid the use of force.

On 22 December, the Council was briefed by the Chairman of the Working Group on General Issues of Sanctions (the representative of Cameroon), as well as by the Chairs of the Sanctions Committees on Iraq (Germany), Somalia (Bulgaria), Rwanda (Syria) and Sierra Leone (Mexico).

Women, Peace and Security

On 29 October, the Council convened on the third anniversary of adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), which expressed concern that women and children accounted for the majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict, and reaffirmed the role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts.  The Council was briefed by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations on the resolution’s implementation in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  Amy Smythe, Senior Gender Advisor of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), highlighted experiences from the field.  Thirty-seven Member States, including high-level government officials of Germany, Fiji and the Netherlands, participated in the debate.

Speakers urged the Council to focus expressly on gender perspectives in drawing up its mandates, and to ensure that women were involved in all aspects of decision-making processes regarding conflict resolution.  The Secretary-General was urged to appoint more women as his special representatives and envoys.  Attention was drawn to sexual violence against women during conflicts and in post-conflict situations, including by humanitarian personnel, and speakers called for an end to impunity for perpetrators of such crimes.  The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court had criminalized sexual and gender violence, some noted.

Annual Report

On 19 September, the Council adopted its fifty-eighth annual report to the General Assembly, covering the period from 1 August 2002 to 31 July 2003 (document A/58/2).  It included an analytical introduction summarizing Council activities.

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For information media. Not an official record.