Press Conference by UN Security Council President on Programme of Work (Excerpts)

May 2, 2006

The Security Council's work programme for May would deal primarily with African crises, not because a country from that region held the presidency, but because they were deemed to be the most serious, Council President Basile Ikouebe (Congo) said at a Headquarters press conference this afternoon.

. . .

Asked by the same correspondent whether the Congo delegation supported a Chapter VII resolution regarding demands that Iran implement the IAEA recommendations, he said Mr. ElBaradei's report did not suggest what the Council should do. It was up to Council members to meet and decide on the proper action.

He said Congo had signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which had three pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament and the universal right to have access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The third aspect required countries to submit their facilities to the IAEA regime. There was also an approach that stressed dialogue, and Congo favoured negotiations that might impel Iran to greater cooperation. It should give the international community every assurance that its programme was really peaceful. The crux of the matter was to restore confidence, and the question was how to ensure that Iran provided guarantees that it could restore confidence, because there were doubts among some countries. There was no need to rush into sanctions, he stressed.

. . .

What was Congo's position regarding sanctions against Iran and the Secretary-General's election? another journalist asked. Should the United Nations Charter be changed, with respect to the Secretary-General's election and powers?

The Council President replied that consultations would be held tomorrow on that question. As far as Congo was concerned, all the parties should ensure that all the doors had been opened to urge Iran to cooperate fully with the international community, and to ask it to give every assurance that its nuclear programme was peaceful. If that were the case, Congo would react as a signatory to the NPT in deciding on the proper response.

Cautioning against a hasty response, he said Congo was not the only State concerned about the possible consequences. Dialogue must come first and, if it failed, other measures could be considered. There should be no immediate recourse to extreme measures like sanctions, though, while not opposing sanctions per se, Congo found it necessary to determine who would bear the brunt of them. It was necessary to take timely action that had a real impact.

Regarding possible revisions to the Charter, he pointed out that Heads of State had adopted the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, establishing the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council. It was they who had called for management and Security Council reform. That was not a Congolese agenda, but a global one. However, there were different approaches, he noted.

Asked about the Security Council's reaction to a letter from the Iranian Ambassador, asking the Council to take resolute action regarding a military threat posed to his country by the United States, he said he had no information about that and that the letter may have been addressed to the outgoing Council President.

. . .