The members of the Security Council were continuing efforts to bridge differences regarding the participation of the United States in United Nations peacekeeping operations, the President of the 15-member body said today.
Discussions were going on "in the corridors here, and in - and between - capitals," to find a solution to the impasse in the Council over extending the mandate of the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) before it expired at midnight Wednesday, said Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock of the United Kingdom, who just took over the Council's rotating presidency.
[On Sunday, the United States vetoed a resolution renewing UNMIBH's mandate and authorizing the continuation of the multinational stabilization force (SFOR), although it later agreed to roll the mandate over for 72-hours. The US representative said the veto was not directed at UNMIBH, but was due to concerns that US peacekeepers might be subject to prosecution by the International Criminal Court.]
"The Council is remaining perfectly calm on this issue," Ambassador Greenstock said, briefing the UN press corps on the Council's work for the month of July. "But the majority of the members of the Council believe there are arrangements under the ICC Statute that do indeed address those concerns."
In the event that no solution to the problem could be found before midnight tomorrow, Ambassador Greenstock said there was a contingency resolution that would accelerate UNMIBH’s handover to a European Union Police Mission (EUPM), which had been scheduled for 1 January 2003.
Meanwhile, the Council President noted that during July several UN peacekeeping missions would need their mandates extended, including those in Prevlaka, Lebanon, Georgia and Western Sahara, which already had several rollovers in the past year.
As for Africa, Ambassador Greenstock said the Council was also scheduled to hold briefings and informal consultations on Somalia, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Angola, the Mano River Union, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and Western Sahara.
The Council programme in July included briefings on the UN-Iraq talks, as well as the negotiations regarding Cyprus, Ambassador Greenstock added. He noted that Secretary-General Kofi Annan was expected to participate in a meeting on the situation in the Middle East, and that Mr. Annan's Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, would attend a meeting on Afghanistan.