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Security Council president says Mideast crisis will top August agenda

The ongoing crisis in the Middle East is expected to dominate the Security Council’s work this month, said Ambassador Nana Effah-Apenteng of Ghana, which holds the Council presidency for August, but African issues will also receive priority attention.“It is evident that the Mideast crisis, particularly Lebanon, is going to feature prominently on our agenda,” he said, noting that the Council expected to receive Secretary-General’s report on the attack on the Lebanese city of Qana within a week and would “most likely” hold closed-door talks on it.Asked about the need for action on the issue, he said all Council members appreciate the sense of urgency, but cautioned that careful preparation is needed. “The Council on such a crucial issue would be better serving the international community if it acts unanimously and presents a united position and therefore we don’t think that they should take any course of action that would cause more division.”African issues were also expected to play a significant role on the Council agenda. A preliminary briefing on the recent elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is slated for tomorrow, said Ambassador Effah-Apenteng. On the topic of Sudan, discussions would continue on progress in carrying out the Darfur Peace Agreement and other developments.He said it was also important for the Council to monitor the implementation of the road map in Côte d’Ivoire in the hope that elections would go ahead as scheduled for the end of October. Ghana would also chair a ministerial-level open debate on peace consolidation in West Africa on 9 August.In other work, Mr. Effah-Apenteng noted that the mandates of several UN missions were expiring in August, including those in Iraq, Haiti and Timor-Leste. He said all of those mandates would be reviewed and extended. With Kofi Annan’s second and final five-year term as Secretary-General set to expire at the end of this year, the Council president said it had not been decided whether there would be another straw poll on his replacement, but added that if it were to be held, it would probably take place towards the end of the month. read more

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