UN Security Council might visit region

Proposed trip would be first such collective visit to the region since 1979; goal would be to help Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

UNSC vote on Iran sanctions (photo credit: Associated Press)
UNSC vote on Iran sanctions
(photo credit: Associated Press)
NEW YORK – The United Nations Security Council is considering making its first trip to the Middle East in over three decades in order to help the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said on Tuesday he made the proposal to the council during consultations late last week. In addition to Israel and the Palestinian territories, the 15-nation council should try to visit Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, Churkin said. The Security Council has not collectively visited the region since 1979.
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Russia is one of five permanent Security Council members, along with the United States, Britain, China and France, and is also part of the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers, which includes the US, the UN and the European Union.
“We are making this proposal now because we are concerned about the situation in the Middle East,” Churkin said on Tuesday. “As we all know, 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 further possible complications.”
A Security Council diplomat told The Jerusalem Post, “Though the council listened to the Russian proposal, serious questions were expressed by a number of countries about the timing and purpose of the trip. A number of council members questioned whether such a trip would be harmful rather than helpful.”
The diplomat said that the meeting concluded with an agreement that countries would check with their governments, and that consultations would continue on the proposed trip.