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PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT

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

4 April 2007

The President of the Security Council for April, Emyr Jones Parry of the United Kingdom, this afternoon introduced the Council’s programme for the month to correspondents at Headquarters and, in his national capacity, welcomed Iran’s statement this morning regarding the release of 15 captured British sailors.

Addressing the programme of work, he said the Council would be very busy during the coming month, with four mandates up for renewal and discussions about the Council’s priorities, such as Chad, the Central African Republic and the Sudan. On 17 April, there would be an open debate based on a letter “from me to me” containing a concept paper on those parts of climate change that were relevant for the work of the Council. The debate on Kosovo had started yesterday, and he expected a Council mission later in the month to Belgrade and Pristina.

Speaking in his national capacity, he expressed his pleasure with the statements out of Tehran this morning. His Government would be very pleased if its “policy of trying to resolve this without confrontation, trying to be steady, calm, measured in our approach, but, at the same time, insisting” would come to fruition, and would make sure that, in the future, any misunderstandings would be resolved in the quickest and most reasonable way.

Responding to correspondents’ questions on Kosovo, Mr. Jones Parry said yesterday’s discussion had demonstrated how sensitive the issue was, and how carefully the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Kosovo Future Status Process, Martti Ahtisaari, had formulated his proposals. There had been a natural sense of wanting more information within the Council, as the “dismemberment of a State” was being addressed. At the same time, many had acknowledged that the point had been reached of taking the “logical and necessary” next step. If that would be done in a carefully managed way, stability, rights and reconciliation between Kosovo and Serbia could be achieved. The Council would first identify the timing, leadership, nature and terms of reference of the Council mission. At the end of the month, there would be a meeting of the contact group, probably at the level of political directors. He did not expect an early tabling of a draft resolution.

Asked if the Ahtisaari proposal could still be changed, or if the document was considered “closed”, he said the Council did not yet have a position on that. In his national capacity, he said Mr. Ahtisaari’s proposals should be fully supported, as he had exhausted all possibilities.

Addressing questions about Darfur, including about possible sanctions against the Sudan, he said this morning’s discussion had underlined that the concern was not only Darfur, but also the contagion of the situation in Chad and the Central African Republic. The three tracks of humanitarian access, political action and delivery of security should be addressed in parallel, more so, as the mandate of the African Union Mission in the Sudan would expire on 30 June. The Council had said there was a need for three phases; the first being the “light phase”, which was being carried out. Full agreement with Khartoum on the second phase, the “heavy support package” had not yet been reached. The nature of third phase was that the “hybrid operation” had to be “crunched”.

The problem with the Sudan, he said, was that there had not been consistent and positive support by the key actors, the Government and the rebels. If it became clear that, in the window now available for progress on the political track, that progress was not made, then the work being done by some on further sanctions would emerge in a draft resolution. That resolution would increase the number of names covered by the current resolution. The issue of the arms embargo would also be addressed, as would monitoring of prohibited air movements over Darfur. The work on such a resolution was now being “stayed”, also on the request of those closely involved in the negotiations. Tomorrow’s consultations, where the Secretary-General would brief, would offer an opportunity for greater clarity on what was being discussed.

In light of this morning’s discussion about Chad and the Central African Republic, he said there was a need to better protect the civilian population and the displaced persons camps. In Chad, there were ongoing discussions between the Government and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on an advanced mission. There was agreement on increased policing in the camps, but there was no understanding yet on a military deployment. If further clarification on that was forthcoming speedily, a resolution could be tabled on a police and military presence in Chad and the Central African Republic. Otherwise, the situation in the Central African Republic should be tackled first.

Asked why Zimbabwe was not on the agenda, Mr. Jones Parry said that issue had been discussed at the very end of the South African presidency in March. No one had expressed the need at that stage to come back to it. From a British point of view, there was a very keen concern and a need to rally behind the people of Zimbabwe, but the Council had no plans to address the matter. It was not because he wanted to avoid a confrontation with South Africa, but because the situation had been discussed in the last seven days.

Asked the same question about Iran, he said there were no plans to address the nuclear issue during April. Resolution 1747 (2007) had requested a return to the matter in 60 days and had also asked for a report on compliance with resolutions 1737 (2006) and 1747. The policy remained quite clear, however, namely a commitment to an incremental increase of pressure in case of non-compliance, with measures being reversible in case of compliance. Conditions for Iran entering into negotiations were quite simple: suspension of research, development and enrichment.

In reply to a question about the Western Sahara and United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) mandate renewal, specifically how the Council was going to handle the expected proposal from Morocco on autonomy, he said such a proposal was expected on 10 April. The Council’s response would depend on its contents, taking into account all parties’ views. On the one hand, there was the proposal for autonomy within Morocco; on the other hand, there was the view that self-determination for the region should include the option of independence. He was not confident that the Council would find a lasting solution in the next few months, but he was confident, however, that MINURSO’s mandate would be renewed.

Asked about the mandate extension for the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and whether sanctions against individuals were considered, for instance in the cases of recruitment of child soldiers, he said he could not anticipate this afternoon’s discussions. Colleagues would certainly look at the events of the past few weeks, and how what would happen to the opposition leaders would reflect on political developments. There was a commitment shared by all members of the Council to stand by MONUC and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that the improvements reached justified the investments made and that “we have just to keep at it”.

On Somalia, he said the briefing of Tuesday, 24 April, could not be scheduled earlier, because the report was due on 20 April. Consultations on the issue were already being planned for 12 April. The Council was not considering a United Nations peacekeeping force at the current stage. The priority was to create a condition where there was peace to keep and where there was a prospect for some stability. If that could be achieved, then the United Nations would certainly consider a peacekeeping force.

Asked about this morning’s statement from Tehran and speaking in his national capacity, he said the United Kingdom had received a lot of support from the United States. The United Nations was also solid in its support, with the Secretary-General being clear in his public statements and reiterating those statements in private contacts. He stressed that there was no linkage between the capture of the 15 sailors and pressure in Iran regarding the nuclear issue, saying he had made that clear from the beginning. He did not know how much impact the statement to the press by the former President of the Security Council had had, but it had been part of applying incrementally increasing pressure. There had been no “negotiations” as such, but there had been discussions between officials and the ambassadors of both countries.

Addressing the issue of climate change, and what it had to do with the maintenance of international peace and security, he said people living in the Maldives, confronted with the possibility of a rise of three metres of the sea level that would make their State extinct, would certainly see it as a threat to their security. Climate change affected the supply of water and the potential of shifting patterns in famine and surplus. Those traditional “triggers for conflict” would be exacerbated by a change in climate. The redistribution of people currently living in low-lying areas must be managed, which could also cause potential instability. It was a complex issue and literally one of the big challenges for the world in the coming century.

He said the debate would be presided over by his Foreign Secretary, but, apart from that, there were no plans to “elevate” the meeting to include a presidential statement or a resolution. The fact of holding it and highlighting it was important. Claims that the United Kingdom was the leader in climate change issues were misplaced. Certainly, the country wanted to play a leading role, but everybody had to do that, as the issue was too big to be left to any one country or organization. He assumed that, sometime next year, there would be a summit devoted to climate change.

Answering a question about what “diplomatic trophies” he wanted to see on his shelf after his presidency, he said it was always futile to talk about achievements. He promised, however, “blood sweat and tears” to ensure that the programme of work was delivered and that as much impact was being made as possible in the areas addressed. One of the privileges of the job was that one “could try to make a difference”.

For further information on the Council’s programme of work for April, see the Security Council’s website at www.un.org/docs/sc.

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For information media • not an official record



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