Previewing the Security Council's agenda for the month of January, France's Ambassador to the United Nations and the current President of the 15-nation body said today that Iraq, the Middle East and Africa would continue to figure prominently in upcoming deliberations.
Jean-Marc de La Sablière announced two briefings on Iraq by chief weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei. At the first meeting, scheduled for Thursday, Mr. Blix is set to update the Council on Iraq's declaration. The second meeting on 27 January will be held in accordance with the terms of Council resolution 1441, which stipulates that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UMOVIC) inform the Council of developments 60 days after that resolution's adoption.
Turning to Africa, Mr. de La Sablière said that during consultations tomorrow, the Council would examine the latest report of the UN Secretariat on Ethiopia and Eritrea proposing a timetable for the operations to demarcate the border between the two countries. During consultations on the Central African Republic, the Council will be briefed by Special Representative Lamine Cissé on the implementation of the international observer force in that region and the activities of the UN Office in the country. The question of Côte d'Ivoire, he added, would be taken up in consultations during the second half of the month.
Consultations will also be held on Friday to examine the Secretariat's latest report on the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), Mr. de La Sablière said. Starting next week, the Council will discuss the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and hear a report on developments the eastern part of that country. He added that the Council would also have to take a decision this month about the future of the Panel on the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the DRC. Meanwhile, the Council will also examine Secretary-General Kofi Annan's recommendations on a revised mandate for the UN Office in Liberia (UNOL).
Mr. de La Sablière also highlighted two thematic open meetings planned for the month, one on children in armed conflict set for 14 January and another on the Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee scheduled for 21 January. Roughly one year after the adoption of a resolution that created the Committee, Mr. de La Sablière said, the time had come to produce a political assessment of actions undertaken. In addition, the Council will hold two open sessions to hear briefings on the situation in the Middle East and on Afghanistan, respectively.
Asked whether the Council will take up the issue of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Mr. de La Sablière said that the matter was not on the Council's agenda - it was currently being dealt with by the IAEA Board of Governors.