Security Council – 2000 round-up – Press release (excerpts)



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Developments in Africa and renewed violence in the Middle East were among the major issues dealt with by the Security Council in 2000, as it pursued its mandate of securing, establishing and maintaining global peace and security.  Also dominant on the Council’s agenda this year, as in 1999, was the situation of Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and East Timor.


The Council met three times to discuss the situation in the Middle East, from 3 to 5 October, after violence erupted following a visit to Al-Haram Al-Sharif in Jerusalem on 28 September by Ariel Sharon, leader of Israel's Likud Party.  More than 40 speakers addressed the Council.

Following the debate, on 7 October the Council adopted resolution 1322 (2000) by 14 votes in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (United States).  By the text, it deplored the provocation carried out at Al-Haram Al-Sharif, and subsequent violence there and throughout the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, which had resulted in more than 80 Palestinian deaths.


Following are summaries of Council activity in 2000.


Middle East


On 31 January, the Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) until 31 July by unanimously adopting resolution 1288 (2000).  It also condemned acts of violence against the Force and urged the parties to put an end to them.

A related presidential statement has the Council expressed concern over continuing violence in southern Lebanon and regret the loss of civilian and UNIFIL lives, urging all parties to exercise restraint.

On 20 April, a presidential statement welcomed Israel's notification of its intention to withdraw from Lebanon in full accordance with Security Council resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978).  It said that cooperation by all concerned would be needed to avoid a deterioration of the situation and welcomed the Secretary-General's decision to send his Special Envoy, Terje Roed-Larsen, to the region.

[Resolution 425 (1978) called on Israel to cease its military action against Lebanon and withdraw its forces.  The resolution also sets out the role UNIFIL will play — to confirm the Israeli withdrawal, restore international peace and security, and assist the Lebanese Government to establish effective authority in the area.  Resolution 426 (1978) actually establishes UNIFIL.]

On 23 May, in another presidential statement the Council endorsed the Secretary-General's report, in which he stated his intention to take all necessary measures to enable UNIFIL to confirm that a complete Israeli withdrawal had taken place in compliance with resolution 425 and to take steps to deal with all possible eventualities.  The Council also called on all concerned to exercise the utmost restraint and to cooperate with UNIFIL.

On 18 June, in yet another presidential statement, the Council endorsed the Secretary-General’s conclusion that, as of 16 June, Israel had withdrawn its forces from Lebanon.  However, it expressed serious concern over border violations since 16 June, and called on the parties to respect the United Nations-identified line.  It noted that the United Nations could not assume the Lebanese Government's law and order functions, and called on Lebanon to deploy its armed forces into the territory vacated by Israel as soon as possible, with UNIFIL assistance.  It also stressed that the redeployment of UNIFIL should be coordinated with the Lebanese Government.

On 27 July, the Council extended the mandate of UNIFIL for a further six months, until 31 January 2001, by unanimously adopting resolution 1310 (2000).  The resolution called on the Lebanese Government to ensure its effective authority in the south, and to proceed with significant deployment of its armed forces as soon as possible.


The mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was extended twice in 2000, on 31 May, by resolution 1300 (2000), until 30 November, and on 27 November, by resolution 1328 (2000), until 31 May 2001.

In a presidential statement related to the first extension, the Council noted that, despite quiet in the Israeli-Syrian sector, the situation continued to be potentially dangerous, and would remain so until a comprehensive Middle East settlement was achieved.


Situation in Middle East


From 3 to 5 October, after an outbreak of violence that followed a visit by Israel's Likud Party leader, Ariel Sharon, to Al-Haram Al-Sharif in Jerusalem on 28 September, the Council met three times to discuss the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine.  It heard from over 40 speakers.

During the debate, many speakers suggested that the Council must act to act to ensure it fulfilled it responsibilities, in particular to the Palestinian people, and to ensure that its previous resolutions were acted upon. Speakers were highly critical of the level of force used by the Israeli Government in response to Palestinian protests.

Israel's representative told the Council said it was regrettable that at such a sensitive time in the Middle East peace process, the Palestinians had once again decided to resort to violence for political gain.

The Permanent Observer for Palestine said that what had happened could only be understood as Israel trying to break the will of Palestinians, and the Council must end Israel's brutal campaign and its violations of international law.

Following that open debate, the Council met on 7 October and adopted resolution 1322 (2000) by 14 votes in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (United States).  The resolution deplored the provocation of 28 September, and the subsequent violence which had resulted in more than 80 Palestinian deaths.  It condemned all acts of violence, especially excessive use of force against Palestinians.  It also stressed the importance of a mechanism for an objective inquiry into events since 28 September, to prevent their repetition.


On 22 November, during an emergency Council meeting on the Middle East, the Observer for Palestine called for specific measures to end Israeli violations against the Palestinian people, while Israel's representative said that Palestinian leaders continued to call for an escalation of the current conflict.

The Non-Aligned Movement called on the Council to seriously consider immediate deployment of a protection force in the region.  The United States said any outside observer force would require the agreement of the parties to the conflict.  The Council should not impose something that was opposed by one side.

On 18 December, the Council met to consider a draft resolution to establish a United Nations force of military and police observers in the occupied Palestinian territories, but the draft did not receive the necessary nine-vote majority (8 in favour to none against, with 7 abstentions).

A number of speakers said that while an observer force might, at some stage, be useful, it was not timely given current peace negotiations.  Others argued that the Council should not wait for bilateral peace efforts to run their course and that establishing an observer force could substantially contribute to stability.

The Permanent Observer for Palestine said the Council had once again assured Palestinians they could not rely on the Council for justice.


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