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Unity among Security Council members is crucial, new President says

Unity among Security Council members is crucial, new President says

Amb. Martin Belinga-Eboutou
With many delicate matters under consideration, members of the United Nations Security Council must work to achieve agreement on pressing and sensitive issues, its President said today.

"What is important is that we all be moved by the same wish to protect the unity of the Council, to make consensus prevail," Ambassador Martin Belinga-Eboutou of Cameroon, which holds the rotating presidency during October, told reporters at a press briefing in New York.

"Consensus should not be taken for granted - it is something that has to be built," he said. "And whatever you build is something you have to work for, through effort, so what is important is that the outcome smoothes away the difficulties."

Reviewing this month's programme of work, he said that key hotspots, including Iraq and the situation in the Middle East, would continue to receive priority attention. Open meetings would also be held on thematic issues such as small arms, the role of women in conflict situations, and cooperation between the UN and Central Africa in peacekeeping and security. Another meeting would be held to take stock of the work of the Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee, he added.

Asked about the latest state of play on Iraq, Ambassador Belinga-Eboutou said consultations are underway in capitals and ministries, but added that "the baby is still in gestation; it hasn't yet emerged."

Earlier today, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was also asked about the Council's discussions on Iraq. He replied that it was up to the Council to decide what it wanted to do. Until the Council came up with new guidelines for inspections, he noted, the chief of the UN Monitoring, Inspection and Verification Commission (UNMOVIC), Hans Blix, "is guided by existing resolutions, and it is on that basis that he has been dealing with the Iraqis."