Security Council urges implementation of resolution 1402, hails Powell mission
Voting unanimously, the United Nations Security Council this evening, demanded the implementation "without delay" of its recent resolution 1402 on the Middle East and welcomed the mission by United States Secretary of State Colin Powell to the region, as well as the peace efforts by a "quartet" of envoys representing the US, Russia, the European Union and the UN.
The adopted resolution, 1403, also requested Secretary-General Kofi Annan to "follow the situation and keep the Council informed."
Addressing the Council before the vote, Mr. Annan "strongly" welcomed President Bush's decision to send Secretary Powell to the region and stressed that the Council's resolution 1402, and an earlier one, 1397, provided "the vision" for a permanent settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the immediate security and political steps needed to move beyond the present crisis. "Our efforts need to focus on implementing these resolutions," he said.
The Secretary-General also called on Israel "to give the Quartet full access to the compound of Chairman Arafat and to the Chairman himself," stressing that together with US envoy General Anthony Zinni the Quartet could be used as an effective instrument to pursue the implementation of resolution 1402. He noted that forcing Chairman Arafat into exile would be "reckless" and said that it would be "a miscalculation of monumental proportions" to believe that dismantling the Palestinian Authority would create conditions where Israel can achieve security for itself.
At the same time, Mr. Annan stressed that the spiralling violence could not be blamed on one party alone. "The Palestinian Authority seems to believe that failing to act against terrorism, and inducing turmoil, chaos and instability, will cause the Government and people of Israel to buckle," he said. "They will not." While noting that the Palestinian security services were seriously limited in their ability to contain terrorism, he underscored that Chairman Arafat did have the capacity to exercise political leadership, to set the course for the future of his people.
Also addressing the Council, Yehuda Lancry, the Permanent Representative of Israel, said his country was willing to work with General Zinni and Secretary Powell "to engage in steps, together with reciprocal Palestinian actions, to achieve an immediate and meaningful ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli troops, the implementation of Tenet and Mitchell and an end to all acts of terrorism and incitement in accordance with resolutions 1397 and 1402."
For his part, Nasser Al-Kidwa, the Permanent Observer for Palestine, welcomed the readiness of the United States to engage in the peace process as well as Secretary of State Powell's planned visit to the region. "I can absolutely assure you that President Arafat is absolutely willing to cooperate with Mr. Powell to ensure the success of his mission, once again, in order to put an end to the ongoing tragedy and to go back to the path that would lead us towards peace," he said.