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

2 August 2005

The Security Council’s programme of work for August was a relatively light one, this month’s Council President Kenzo Oshima ( Japan) told correspondents this afternoon during a press conference at Headquarters, adding that he hoped it would remain that way.

He said this morning, the Council, in closed consultations, heard a briefing by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, on the situation in the Sudan after the tragic death of John Garang de Mabior, First Vice-President of the Sudan, in a helicopter crash on 30 July 2005. Afterwards, the Council had adopted a Presidential Statement on the matter (see Press Release SC/8470).

The Council would follow closely the important political events that were expected to take place in the Middle East, including the withdrawal from Gaza in the third week of August, as well as the 15 August deadline of the Constitution-drafting process in Iraq, he continued. On 23 August, the Council would hold a public meeting on the situation in Afghanistan in the context of the Assembly elections to be held there in September. Those elections would mark the end of the “ Bonn” process. It would, therefore, be appropriate to start thinking about how the international community could continue to be involved in the consolidation of peace in that country.

Asked by a correspondent if he had already met John R. Bolton, the new United States representative, Mr. Oshima said he was going to meet him this afternoon. He welcomed Mr. Bolton to the United Nations and looked forward to working closely with him.

Answering a question about the possibility of Iran being put on the Council’s agenda this month, or even this week, as Mr. Bolton wanted, he said that Iran had sent a formal letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), declaring its intention to restart its uranium conversion at certain nuclear facilities. The Council would monitor closely the ongoing consultations and negotiations between the European Union-3 ( France, Germany and United Kingdom) and Iran.

He was not aware of any Council plan regarding the jailed Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji, who had asked the world to help him, he said in response to a question. The 29 August meeting on Timor-Leste was meant to review the work of the three-month-old United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL)

Asked about the Council’s plans to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe, he said the Council had considered last month a report on Zimbabwe from the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Anna Tibaijuka. The Secretary-General intended to visit the country in the future. The Council would closely monitor developments in Zimbabwe.

Speaking in his national capacity, Mr. Oshima answered many questions about Security Council reform and Japan’s bid for a permanent seat. He said that matter would certainly be discussed with Mr. Bolton when he met him this afternoon, as would other issues. His country was very grateful for the “consistent support” the United States had given Japan in the matter, he said, noting that both the United States and Japan were among the most important contributors to the United Nations.

The “Group of Four” aspirants for a permanent seat (Brazil, Germany, India and Japan) looked forward to a summit meeting of the African Union to be held on 4 August in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where, he hoped, the African heads would endorse an ad referendum agreement between the foreign ministers of the Group of Four and some African Union ministers reached in London. Japan and the other three countries would send senior representatives, as observers.

Asked whether a resolution by which Japan would get a permanent status in the Council could be implemented before bilateral issues between China and Japan had been resolved, he said that, overall, Japan and China had good and important bilateral relations, especially in the economic area, and efforts on both sides were ongoing to improve them. What position China would eventually take remained to be seen. He hoped China and other countries would find it possible to live with the kind of solution Japan tried to achieve.

Answering a question about the possibility that the United States Senate would not ratify a Council expansion, as such a ratification would require a two-thirds majority, he said many Japanese were aware of the fact that the Senate had refused to ratify Japan’s participation in the League of Nations. In the current context, however, it was up to the General Assembly to decide on the framework resolution the Group of Four proposed. That was the first phase, in which no veto issue was involved. The second phase would involve reporting on individual candidates. The third phase would consist of adoption of a Chapter amendment-resolution by a majority of two-thirds of the Assembly. The fourth and final phase would consist of the ratification process of the Chapter amendment resolution, something that would happen in the future. Focus now was on the first phase. The Japanese Government would continue to work closely with the Government of the United States and, if necessary, with its branches.

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For information media • not an official record

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