Letter dated 20 June 2005 from the Permanent Representative of

Benin to the United Nations addressed to the President of the

Security Council

I have the honour to attach herewith the assessment of the work of the Security Council during the month of February 2005, under the presidency of Benin (see annex). The assessment was prepared under my responsibility, in consultation with other members of the Security Council.

I should be grateful if you would have the present letter and its annex circulated as a document of the Security Council.

(Signed) Joël W. Adechi

Annex to the letter dated 20 June 2005 from the Permanent

Representative of Benin to the United Nations addressed to the

President of the Security Council

Assessment of the work of the Security Council during the

presidency of the Republic of Benin (February 2005)


During the month of February 2005, the presidency of the Security Council was held by Benin, represented by Rogatien Biaou, Minister for Foreign Affairs and African Integration, and by Joël Wassi Adechi, Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Under their presidency the Council completed a programme of work consisting mainly of public meetings, including one high-level public meeting with the participation of Ali Othman Taha, Vice-President of the Sudan, and of John Garang, Chairman of the Sudan People.s Liberation Movement/Army, as well as a formal meeting devoted to the election of a judge of the International Court of Justice. The Council held 11 public meetings including two open debates and eight informal consultations.

Middle East

The Israeli-Palestinian Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh

The Security Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2005/6) dated 16 February in which it welcomed the Summit, held in Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt) on 8 February, and the resumption of direct talks between the Prime Minister of Israel Ariel Sharon, and the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. The Council called for the full respect by the parties of their commitments that all Palestinians would stop all acts of violence against all Israelis everywhere and that Israel would cease all its military activities against all Palestinians everywhere.

The Council recognized these understandings, along with other recent positive developments, as primary steps towards restoring confidence between the two parties, enhancing a new spirit of cooperation and promoting an atmosphere conducive to the establishment of peaceful coexistence in the region.

The Council also expressed its appreciation to President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt for the invitation to both parties to the Summit and to King Abdullah Bin Al Hussein of Jordan for his participation and welcomed the initiative of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in

convening an international meeting in London, on 1 March, to support Palestinian efforts to prepare the ground for a viable Palestinian State.

The assassination of the former Prime Minister of Lebanon

On 15 February, the Secretary-General and the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs briefed the Council on the terrorist bombing in Beirut on

14 February that killed the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, and others. The Security Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2005/4) dated 15 February in which it condemned the act and called on the Lebanese Government to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of the bombing.

The Security Council underlined that such a terrorist act should jeopardize neither the holding of the upcoming parliamentary elections under transparent, free and democratic conditions nor the full implementation of all relevant resolutions concerning the restoration of the territorial integrity, full sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon.

The Security Council requested the Secretary-General to follow closely the situation in Lebanon and to report urgently on the circumstances, causes and consequences of this terrorist act. On 18 February, the Secretary-General informed the members of the Security Council about his decision to send a team to Beirut led by Peter FitzGerald (Ireland) to examine available evidence and conduct investigations regarding the assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri.

The monthly meeting of the Council on the situation in the Middle East

The Security Council held its monthly open briefing followed by informal consultations on the situation in the Middle East on 22 February. In his presentation, Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, emphasized that the summit meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh had generated hope for progress towards peace between Israel and Palestinians. He said that the commitment of the parties to implement the understandings reached, and especially the announcement by the Government of Israel of its decision to release 900 prisoners and to withdraw from five West Bank cities, to halt punitive house demolitions, to reopen three crossing points into Gaza and steps taken by the Palestinian side to end violence would all contribute to the momentum. He said that strong support, both from Israel and from the international community, could be helpful for the President of the Palestinian Authority to prevail against those who favour violence.

He also noted that the London Conference to be hosted by the Government of the United Kingdom was intended to assess suitable mechanisms to help the Palestinians lay the groundwork for an independent State, and to offer an opportunity to provide the urgently needed funds for short-term assistance to ensure the financial stability of the Palestinian Authority.

At informal consultations Council members concurred with the analysis made during the open briefing. They welcomed the positive developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the decision of the Secretary-General to send to Lebanon a fact-finding team for the preparation of the report on the assassination of the former Prime Minister Hariri, as requested by the Security Council.