"Security Council Resolution 1636 (2005)"
Explanation of vote of  H. E. Ambassador Celso Nunes Amorim
Minister of External Relations of Brazil
 New York, 31 October  2005


Mr. President,

Mr. Secretary-General,

Members of the Council,


Brazil maintains strong historical ties with both Lebanon and Syria. We host a community of ten million descendants of Lebanese and Syrian origin.

President Lula has been keen in intensifying our dialogue with the Arab world through initiatives such as the South American and Arab Countries Summit, held in Brasilia last May. Issues such as the one we are discussing today touch us directly.

Mr. President,

Out of a concern with possible undue interference in a delicate internal situation as well as with stability in the region, Brazil decided to abstain on Resolution 1559.

Subsequent developments created a new and troubling scenario.               

Brazil condemned in the strongest terms the 14th February terrorist attack in Beirut, which caused the death of former Prime-Minister Rafiq Hariri and other 22 innocent people.

The international community was unanimous in its support for Resolution 1595, which pledged assistance to the Lebanese authorities in their efforts to clarify the circumstances of Rafiq Hariri's death. It is imperative that those responsible for that crime be brought to justice.

Mr. President,

We commend the International Independent Investigation Commission, under the leadership of Mr. Detlev Mehlis, for the serious work carried out in establishing the facts related to the events of 14 February. 

As the report points out, the investigation is not yet complete.  It is thus most appropriate that the Council expresses its support for the decision by the Secretary-General to extend the Commission's mandate until 15 December. 

The demand for greater cooperation by those who have not been forthcoming is entirely justifiable.

We note, in this regard, that in recent days Syrian authorities have provided assurances to this effect.     

Mr. President,

The initial draft of the Resolution we have just adopted went beyond the scope of the Commission's report. It did not include language that ensured respect for the presumption of innocence, among other shortcomings.

We would not have been in a position to support a text that sought to promote objectives other than those strictly related to the investigation of the Hariri assassination.

A number of our concerns have been dealt with in the revised draft. And we pay tribute to the co-sponsors for having spared no effort to arrive to a consensus.

We have voted in favor of this text on the understanding that any additional measures can only be taken on the basis of a collective assessment by Council members of the final conclusions by the Commission.

In other words, Brazil considers that the references to Chapter VII of the UN Charter neither imply nor authorize the application of measures against Syria in the absence of a collective decision by the Council, based on a careful evaluation of the facts.


Mr. President,

The present situation in the Middle East is marked by tension, on one hand, and hopes for peace, on the other.  Under such circumstances, the Council must be guided by a sense of balance and realism. 

Our decisions must reconcile a firm determination to bring to justice those responsible for Prime Minister Hariri's assassination and the pursuit of stability through institutional and political progress.

Indeed, the Council must send a strong political message. The unanimous approval of Resolution 1636 has done just that. But Brazil will not favor hasty decisions that may lead to an undesirable escalation of this situation or further endanger stability in the region.


Thank you.