Russian ambassador proposes UN council Mideast trip

Under plan, Security Council would undertake its first mission to region since 1979, Vitaly Churkin says.

United Nations Security Council chamber 311 (photo credit: Patrick Gruban/WikiCommons)
United Nations Security Council chamber 311
(photo credit: Patrick Gruban/WikiCommons)
UNITED NATIONS — Stalled peace talks with the Palestinians and an ongoing protest in Egypt have lead Russia to propose that the Security Council undertake its first mission to the Middle East since 1979, the country's representative to the UN said Tuesday.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters that he made the proposal during consultations late Thursday afternoon.
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Churkin said details of the trip still must be worked out, and the countries to be visited and the messages to be sent must be carefully considered.
"We are making this proposal now because we are concerned about the situation in the Middle East. The efforts to restart the Israeli-Palestinian talks are at an impasse and the situation in the region is quite fragile and is fraught with other possible complications," Churkin said. "We think a mission of the Security Council could help on both tracks."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier briefed the council on his recent trip to Europe and Africa, including his participation at Quartet talks in Munich.
The Quartet, he said, "met against the backdrop of dramatic developments in the region," which include ongoing protests in Egypt calling for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek's resignation.
"While the Quartet did not discuss Egypt in detail, we are all conscious that it remains a crucial partner for both the Palestinian Authority and for Israel, and for the peace process," Ban said. The UN chief on Tuesday also briefed Arab ambassadors on the Quartet talks.
Speaking on background, a diplomat for another country holding a permanent council seat indicated that the trip is not a done deal.
The diplomat said council members expressed serious questions about the trip's timing and purpose, while others wondered if it would do more harm than good. Council members will now take the proposal to their governments while consultations on the issue continue, the diplomat said.