Security Council to debate new responses to Middle East crisis ‘shortly’

Security Council to debate new responses to Middle East crisis ‘shortly’

Echoing concerns over the danger of a “full-fledged war” in the Middle East expressed today by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the President of the Security Council said the 15-member body had agreed to hold a debate “shortly” to consider new responses to the crisis.

Echoing concerns over the danger of a “full-fledged war” in the Middle East expressed today by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the President of the Security Council said the 15-member body had agreed to hold a debate “shortly” to consider new responses to the crisis.

Speaking after the Council held a brief open meeting to hear a statement by the Secretary-General, Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser of Mexico said Council members regretted the vicious cycle of aggression and death in the Middle East, in Palestine, in Israel, in the Occupied Territories. “As you do,” said the President, addressing Mr. Annan, “we have certainty that this situation is intolerable and entails serious risks to international security.”

“We deplore the suffering of the civilian population, the loss of human life and the destruction,” the President added. “All of us, Mr. Secretary-General, want to do something to put an end to it.”

Ambassador Zinser said today’s public consideration of the situation in the Middle East should serve as “as a preamble to the debate we have agreed to hold shortly.” He added that the Council’s effort to contribute to resolving the conflict and halting the bloodshed “will be an essential part” of its deliberations.

Council members, he said, would examine the Secretary-General’s statement. “On that basis, and in consultation with our capitals, we shall prepare to argue our positions and to propose new initiatives.”

The Mexican Ambassador also pledged that the members would work to resolve their differences. “We all want to give to the Organization and the Security Council the opportunity today to become part of the solution as together we explore new ways for the United Nations to become active in the Middle East,” he said.

“We share your conviction and the conviction of the Secretariat officials that this work is essential to building peace,” the President told the Secretary-General, emphasizing the importance of an even-handed approach. “Without it, any international effort will prove sterile,” he added.