The United Nations Security Council decided
today that an upcoming briefing on Iraq by the UN's top weapons inspectors
will be open to non-Council members.
The Council also agreed to hold a follow-up meeting early next week to give the wider UN membership an opportunity to discuss the issue, according to Security Council President, Gunter Pleuger of Germany.
Ambassador Pleuger made the announcement following consultations on the arrangements for Friday's scheduled briefing by Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), and Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The Council members agreed to hold an open meeting because several foreign Ministers had expressed interest in participating, the Council President said in a statement to the press.
That open meeting will get under way at 10:15 Friday morning, Ambassador Pleuger said. "Members will hear the reports of Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei and then have a chance to discuss them first in open meeting, followed by a closed meeting for the members of the Council."
Then, on Tuesday, 18 February, another open meeting is scheduled to be held, to give an opportunity for the remaining members of the United Nations to air their views on Iraq, according to Ambassador Pleuger.
"The idea behind this is that mainly the Council members will discuss the reports on Friday - so for more transparency - Council members felt there should be an opportunity to give members of the General Assembly who are not members of the Council the chance to discuss this important issue," he said. On Tuesday, non-Council members will take the floor first, Ambassador Pleuger added, noting that, if necessary, the Council will make arrangements for extending the meeting beyond Tuesday to allow all speakers to take part in the discussion.