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Situations in Africa key topics for Security Council in July, President says

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The Security Council will devote a considerable amount of its time this month to various situations on the African continent, and will also spotlight the Council's role in humanitarian crises, the new President of the 15-nation body said today.
Briefing the press on the Council's work programme for the month of June, Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis of Greece said that once again a large number of African issues would be at the forefront of the discussions.

Earlier today, the Council had been briefed on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), and the members' main concerns following successful elections in that country were respect for human rights, institution-building, restructuring of the national military forces and economic reconstruction, Ambassador Vassilakis said.

On 11 July, the Council would discuss the situation in Ethiopia and Eritrea, including exploring every option help the Horn of Africa nations break their ongoing boundary deadlock, including a Council mission to the region.

Later in the month the Council would also hear an oral briefing on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which demanded urgent attention as preparations were underway for the holding of elections -- the first to take place in the country in over 40 years, Ambassador Vassilakis said.

On 14 June, the Council was set to address the situation in Somalia, he said, adding that there was an impasse regarding the Somali Government's relocation, which was causing concern. There was a need for dialogue among the country's leaders to ensure that their location plan was implemented and that the country's reconstruction was allowed to begin.

On the 22nd, the Council would be briefed by the head of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) Jan Pronk, hopefully along with a representative from the African Union (AU). Mr. Vassilakis said the situation in Sudan's Darfur region remained worrying, requiring political will to move forward on both political and humanitarian fronts.

Concerning the Middle East, Council members would hear the regular monthly report by Alvaro de Soto, in his first briefing to the Council in his capacity as Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. Also coming due was the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

On 12 July, Greece's Foreign Minister was expected to head up a public meeting on the Security Council's role in humanitarian crises. Mr. Vassilakis said that Greece expected the discussion to focus on how, in maintaining peace and security, the Council tried to break the conflict cycle and prevent situations from deteriorating further.