Expressing “deep concern” over missile launches by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), members of the United Nations Security Council agreed this morning that quick action is needed to deal with the matter, during a closed meeting requested by Japan and the United States.
“All members have expressed deep concern after the launching of this ballistic missile by North Korea,” Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière of France, which holds the Council presidency for the month of July, told reporters following the consultations of the 15-member body.
“There was an agreement in the room that the Council should react swiftly and firmly,” he added, noting that a meeting with experts in the subject will take place this afternoon to consider that reaction, which could include a Council resolution.
In a separate press conference, closely following on the morning consultations, Ambassador de la Sablière said that other priorities for the July presidency included the situation in Darfur, on which dialogue with the Sudanese Government continues over its reluctance to allow a UN force to take over from the African Union and support the recent peace agreement.
The Council would also be actively seized with related instability in Chad and the Central African Republic, as well as the elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), slated to take place 30 July, said Ambassador de la Sablière, who will personally provide a briefing on the DRC, where he led a Council mission last month.
In addition, he said the Council will continue to encourage dialogue between the Transitional Authorities in Somalia and the Union of Islamic Courts, which recently took over the capital, and also continue to closely follow the situation in the Middle East, noting that the Arab Group is at this moment discussing its next moves following Friday’s meeting on the recent flare-up of violence in the occupied territories.
On Iran, he said the Council was waiting for a “clear and substantive response” to the package of incentives offered to that country in return for its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Among thematic topics to be considered this month is the protection of children in armed conflict, which Mr. de la Sablière said will be reviewed in an open meeting on 24 July.
In addition, the first “straw polls” on the election of a new UN Secretary-General are due to be held in the middle of the month. Kofi Annan’s second and final term expires on 31 December.