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Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York

2 March 2005

The month of March would be a lively month for the Security Council, as it would be meeting practically every day, the current Council President, Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg (Brazil) told correspondents this afternoon.

Briefing on the Council programme of work, he said 16 reports would have to be considered on issues from all regions. From Africa, nine situations had to be considered. Also issues from the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and Europe had to be considered, as well. There would be four open meetings: on the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On 30 March, a “wrap-up session” would be held with Brazil’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Celso Amorin, in the President’s seat, he said. The procedure of a “wrap-up” session had been frequently used up to 2003. Brazil wanted to turn back to the procedure in order to provide more transparency and give Member States an opportunity to speak.

Today he had delivered a statement on behalf of the Council regarding the “regretful events” of 25 February in Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo, when nine Bangladeshi peacekeepers were killed by militiamen, he said. The Council had also heard a briefing on the referendum on the Burundi transitional constitution, held on Monday, 28 February, which had been conducted with great attendance and no incidents. In a formal statement he said that the Council welcomed the successful conduct of the referendum and expressed its expectations regarding the coming national elections, which would then conclude the transitional process in Burundi.

Answering correspondents’ questions on the Sudan, Mr. Sardenberg said he expected that the matter would be addressed during the first two weeks of the month. There was no set timeline for reaching a decision. A draft resolution had to be discussed. All topics, such as sanctions, were object of negotiations. He was waiting for more indications of the delegations active in the matter before he could give more details. He was expecting to be able to do so by the end of the week or beginning next week.

On the Middle East, he said that the regular briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Kieran Prendergast, would be held on 8 March, after which the Council would hold consultations on the matter. He also expected some kind of briefing on the recent meeting of the Quartet (United States, Russian Federation, European Union and United Nations) in London. Regarding the situation in Lebanon, he said the Council was expecting a report from the Secretary-General this month.

A report on Iraq was due on 8 March, he said. There would be a briefing by the Coalition Forces on 16 March, after which the Council would hold consultations. As to why the Council would hold consultations on the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), he said the issue was the subject of an upcoming report. Consultations would include an assessment of the future of UNMOVIC.

Asked when the report on the assassination of the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, would be released, he said there was no fixed date, but expected the release this month.

Asked about Iran, and the wish of the Bush Administration to push that item, he said no proposal had reached the Council yet. The United States delegation had not presented anything to the President of the Council.

Speaking in his national capacity, Mr. Sardenberg addressed the issue of expanding the Security Council, saying the main forum, perhaps the only one, for discussion on that topic was the General Assembly. He was waiting for the Secretary-General’s reports and recommendations on reform of the Organization and on the Millennium Development Goals. That would set the boundaries of the debate. He did not foresee that the matter would be discussed at the Council level this month. Once the report was in, alternative actions could be considered, including the possibility of a draft resolution.

The position of Brazil had grown stronger, he said. Since the General Assembly meeting on the issue last year, more than 110 delegations had come out in support of expanding both the permanent and elected memberships of the Council.

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