Cowen to address Security Council as Ireland takes presidency


The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Cowen, will deliver his first speech to the UN Security Council tomorrow after Ireland assumed the role of presidency today.

Mr Cowen this evening held talks with UN Secretary-General Mr Kofi Annan and other top UN officials. The crisis caused by the September 11th attacks on the US was the main focus of the discussions.

Earlier, Irish ambassador to the UN Mr Richard Ryan became president of the Security Council for the month of October.

The presidency of the Council rotates monthly and comes at a time when international tensions are raised following last month’s attacks on the US.

As the crisis continues to escalate, Mr Cowen said at the weekend Ireland will use its presidency to ensure compliance with UN resolutions and will scrutinise any military action taken in response to the attacks.

The Security Council responsibility, under the UN Charter, is primarily for the maintenance of international peace and security. Its remit covers the power to issue ceasefire directives and decisions on enforcement measures such as economic sanctions or military action against members who refuse to comply with UN directives or resolutions.

The council can also send United Nations peace-keeping forces to help reduce tensions in troubled areas, keep opposing forces apart and create conditions of calm in which settlements may be sought.

The council has 15 members - five permanent members and 10 elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. Ireland was elected ahead of strong rivals Norway and Italy last October in the election for the non-permanent seats.

Ireland previously served on the council in 1962 and 1981, and its third term began on the first of January this year.