- Palestine Participates as Observer in NPT Review Conference: The 2000 Review Conference of the State Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) began its deliberations at U.N. headquarters in N.Y. on 24 April. On that day, the Conference adopted Palestine’s request to participate as an observer. At its opening session, the Review Conference agreed to establish two subsidiary bodies to its Main Committees I and II. The subsidiary body to Main Committee II will “examine the regional issues, including with respect of the Middle East resolution.”
Israel’s nuclear capabilities and its refusal to join the NPT and accept the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is one of the hottest issues before the Conference. (Only India, Pakistan, Cuba, and Israel are not parties to the treaty.)
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) presented a paper to the Conference reflecting longstanding principled positions on nuclear disarmament and the related issues of nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear testing, peaceful uses of nuclear energy, nuclear weapon-free zones, including the issue of the Middle East, and matters related to the NPT’s strengthened review process.
- Security Council Issues Statement on Occupied South Lebanon: On 20 April 2000, the President of the Security Council made a statement on behalf of the Council members regarding the pending withdrawal of the occupying Israeli army from South Lebanon. In response to recent letters to the Secretary-General (SG) from the Government of Israel, the Council welcomed the decision by Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon in full accordance with resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978), as well as its intention to cooperate fully with the U.N. in the implementation of that decision.
The Council also endorsed the decision of the SG to initiate preparations to enable the U.N. to carry out its responsibilities in this regard, including his decision to send a Special Envoy to the region as soon as possible for this purpose. In this regard, the Security Council noted that it awaits a report from the SG on relevant developments, including the outcome of consultations with the parties and interested Member States, as well as with those nations contributing troops to U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon. This report is also to include recommendations regarding plans and requirements for implementation of the above-mentioned resolutions.
In concluding the statement, the Council stressed “the importance of, and the need for, achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973.”