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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

At First Appearance at UNSC, Guterres Calls For Prevention


Madame President, may I first of all thank you very much, and thank the Swedish presidency, for convening this meeting and allowing me to have my first formal presence in the Security Council, discussing what I believe must be the priority of everything we do together – preventing conflict and sustaining peace. And I believe that the massive attendance that we are registering in this meeting proves that indeed this message is something that we all fully recognize. Thank you very much again. 

The United Nations was established to prevent war by binding us in a rules-based international order.  
Today, that order is under grave threat.   
Millions of people in crisis look to this Council to preserve global stability and to protect them from harm, but the enormous human and economic cost of conflicts around the world shows how complex and challenging this is. Yet we spend far more time and resources responding to crises rather than preventing them. People are paying too high a price. Member States are paying too high a price. We need a whole new approach. 

It has proved very difficult to persuade decision-makers at national and international level that prevention must be their priority – perhaps because successful prevention does not attract attention. The television cameras are not there when a crisis is avoided. 

But most of today’s conflicts are still essentially internal, even if they quickly take on regional and transnational overtones. They are fuelled by competition for power and resources, inequality, marginalization and exclusion, poor governance, weak institutions, sectarian divides. They are exacerbated by climate change, population growth and the globalization of crime and terrorism. With so many factors at work, it takes very little to trigger a crisis that can engulf a country or a region, with global consequences.   

But while the causes of crisis are deeply interlinked, the UN’s response remains fragmented. 

The interconnected nature of today’s crises requires us to connect our own efforts for peace and security, sustainable development and human rights, not just in words, but in practice. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on sustaining peace demonstrate strong intergovernmental support for an integrated approach. 

The challenge now is to make corresponding changes to our culture, strategy, structures and operations. 

We must rebalance our approach to peace and security. For decades, this has been dominated by responding to conflict. For the future, we need to do far more to prevent war and sustain peace. 

The reforms I am setting in motion aim to achieve this. I have started with the decision-making processes in the Secretariat. The newly-established Executive Committee will increase our capacity to integrate all pillars of the United Nations, under a common vision for action.     

I have appointed a senior Advisor on Policy, whose main task will be to map the prevention capacities of the UN system and to bring them together into an integrated platform for early detection and action. This work will enable us to link the reform of our Peace and Security architecture with the reform of the UN Development System, while respecting the specific areas of competence of the Security Council and the General Assembly. 

But we need the support of both bodies for our efforts to build and sustain peace across the continuum, from prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping to peacebuilding and long-term development. 

The primary work of conflict prevention lies with Member States. 

L’ensemble du système des Nations Unies doit se tenir prêt à aider les gouvernements à mettre en œuvre l’Agenda 2030, à renforcer la gouvernance et les institutions et à promouvoir l’état de droit et tous les droits humains, qu’ils soient civils, politiques, sociaux, économiques ou culturels. L’initiative des Droits Humains Avant Tout, qui vise également à intégrer les problématiques de la paix et de la sécurité, des droits humains et du développement durable, permettra de continuer à renforcer les capacités de l’ONU dans ce domaine. 
Et les agences humanitaires et les acteurs du développement doivent travailler ensemble pour aider les états à prévenir les crises et à renforcer la résilience de leurs sociétés. Le dispositif fragmenté actuel ne nous donne pas la capacité de nous attaquer aux causes profondes des conflits.   
Il est fondamental aussi de faire en sorte que les femmes et les filles participent pleinement à l’édification de sociétés inclusives et résilientes. Lorsque l’égalité de genre imprègne le tissu social, lorsque les femmes et les hommes font face aux difficultés en tant que partenaires égaux, les sociétés ont de bien meilleures chances de parvenir à la stabilité et de préserver la dignité humaine et la prospérité. 

Il est aussi crucial de régler le fléau mondial qu’est le chômage des jeunes, non seulement pour garantir leur épanouissement, mais aussi pour prévenir l’instabilité, les conflits sociaux et réduire l’extrémisme violent. Combattre le chômage des jeunes doit faire non seulement une priorité absolue des politiques nationales de développement mais une priorité de la coopération au niveau international. 

As societies become multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural, we will need greater political, cultural and economic investments in inclusivity and cohesion, so that people appreciate the benefits of diversity rather than perceiving it as a threat. All groups need to see that their individual identities are respected, while feeling that they belong as valued members of the community as a whole. Civil society has a role to play in raising the alarm when this respect is threatened or lost. 

We must commit to a surge in diplomacy for peace, in partnership with regional organizations, mobilizing the entire range of those with influence, from religious authorities to civil society and the business community. 

We will launch an initiative to enhance our mediation capacity, both at United Nations Headquarters and in the field, and to support regional and national mediation efforts. 

I ask the Security Council to make greater use of the options laid out in Chapter VI of the UN Charter. And I am prepared to support you through the use of my good offices and through my personal engagement. 

Too many prevention opportunities have been lost because Member States mistrusted each other’s motives, and because of concerns over national sovereignty. Such concerns are understandable, in a world where power is unequal and principles have sometimes been applied selectively.  Indeed, prevention should never be used to serve other political goals. On the contrary, prevention is best served by strong sovereign States, acting for the good of their people. 

But in taking preventive action, we need to avoid double standards. But that does not mean that there are no standards at all. Preventive action is essential to avert mass atrocities or grave abuses of human rights.  And we can achieve this only through reasoned discussion, based on facts and the pursuit of truth. 

Prevention must consistently be seen as a value in itself. It is an essential means of reducing human suffering and enabling people to reach their full potential. 

International cooperation for prevention, and particularly translating early warning into early action, depends on trust between Member States, and in their relations with the United Nations. 

I stand ready to foster a more trusting relationship and to improve communications with the Council, with consistency, candour and transparency. 

Disagreements about the past cannot allow us to prevent us from acting today. 

Together, we need to demonstrate leadership, and strengthen the credibility and authority of the United Nations, by putting peace first. Ending the boundless human suffering and the wanton waste of resources generated by conflict is in everyone’s interests. 

This Council, working with the Peacebuilding Commission, all other parts of the United Nations system, and regional organizations, can enable faster preventive action when the warning signs are there. The cost of inaction is simply too high. 

War is never inevitable. It is always a matter of choice: the choice to exclude, to discriminate, to marginalize, to resort to violence. By restoring trust between governments and their citizens and amongst Member States, we can prevent and avoid conflict. 

But peace, too, is never inevitable. It is the result of difficult decisions, hard work and compromise. We should never take it for granted; but should prize and nurture it in every country, at every time. 

Prevention is not merely a priority, but the priority. If we live up to our responsibilities, we will save lives, reduce suffering and give hope to millions. 

Allow me to repeat the appeal I made ten days ago in my first message as Secretary-General: Let us make this year, 2017, a year for peace. I think it would be naïve to say that 2017 will be a year of peace, but at least it is our obligation to do everything we can to make it a year for peace. Thank you very much. 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Russian - Turkish Resolution (2336) on Syria: Ceasefire, Astana Talks

Russian Federation and Turkey
The Security Council
Recalling all its previous resolutions and Presidential Statements on situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, in particular 2254 (2015) and 2268 (2016), and the Geneva Communique of 30 June 2012, 
Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
Noting the Joint Statement by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey of December 20, 2016,
Noting with appreciation the mediation efforts undertaken by the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey to facilitate the establishment of a ceasefire in the Syrian Arab Republic,
Reiterating its call on the parties to allow humanitarian agencies rapid, safe and unhindered access throughout Syria, as provided for in its relevant resolutions,
Reiterating that the only sustainable solution to the current crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process based on the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 as endorsed by resolution 2118 (2013), its resolutions 2254 (2015) and 2268 (2016) and relevant statements of the International Syria Support Group,
1. Welcomes and support the efforts by Russia and Turkey to end violence in Syria and jumpstart a political process, and takes note of the document issued by Russia and Turkey in this regard (S/2016/1133);
2. Stresses the importance of the full implementation of all relevant Security Council resolution, particularly 2254 (2015) and 2268 (2016); 
3. Looks forward to the meeting to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan, between the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the representatives of the opposition viewing it as an important part of the Syrian-led political process and an important step ahead of the resumption of negotiation under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva on 8 February 2017; 
4. Decides to remain seized of the matter.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

France, UK draft: Sanctions on Assad's officers, helicopters

Draft and annexes (names) here

Draft UNSCR:
Use of chemical weapons in Syria
Preambular Paragraphs
The Security Council,
PP1. Recalling the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC) ratified by the Syrian Arab Republic on 14 September 2013, and the Council’s resolutions 1540 (2004), 2118 (2013), 2209 (2015), and 2235 (2015), (from PP1, UNSCR 2209 but added reference to 2235)
PP2. Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, (PP2 UNSCR 2118)
PP3. Condemning again in the strongest terms any use of toxic chemicals as a weapon in the Syrian Arab Republic, and reaffirming that the use of chemical weapons constitutes a serious violation of international law, (PP3 and 4, UNSCR 2235)
PP4. Recalling its determination to identify those parties in Syria responsible for the use of any chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, and recalling also the establishment of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) – United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) to identify to the greatest extent feasible individuals, entities, groups, or governments who were perpetrators, organisers, sponsors or otherwise involved in the use of chemical weapons, including chlorine or any other toxic chemical, in the Syrian Arab Republic where the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) determines or has determined that a specific incident in the Syrian Arab Republic involved or likely involved the use of chemicals as weapons, (OP4 and 5, UNSCR 2235)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Power's Explanation of Vote on Resolution 2334: US Long-Standing Position

Samantha Power, United States Permanent Representative to the UN, addresses the Council after the vote.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Let me begin with a quote: “The United States will not support the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements during the transitional period. Indeed, the immediate adoption of a settlement freeze by Israel, more than any other action, could create the confidence needed for wider participation in these talks. Further settlement activity is in no way necessary for the security of Israel and only diminishes the confidence of the Arabs that a final outcome can be freely and fairly negotiated.”

This was said in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan. He was speaking about a new proposal that he was launching to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While ultimately, of course, President Reagan’s proposal was not realized, his words are still illuminating in at least two respects.

First, because they underscore the United States’ deep and long-standing commitment to achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. That has been the policy of every administration, Republican and Democrat, since before President Reagan and all the way through to the present day.

Second, because President Reagan’s words highlight the United States’ long-standing position that Israeli settlement activity in territories occupied in 1967 undermines Israel’s security, harms the viability of a negotiated two-state outcome, and erodes prospects for peace and stability in the region. Today, the Security Council reaffirmed its established consensus that settlements have no legal validity. The United States has been sending the message that the settlements must stop – privately and publicly – for nearly five decades, through the administrations of Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Barack Obama. Indeed, since 1967, the only president who had not had at least one Israeli-Palestinian-related Security Council resolution pass during his tenure is Barack Obama. So our vote today is fully in line with the bipartisan history of how American Presidents have approached both the issue – and the role of this body.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Security Council resolution 2334 calls Israel to cease all settlement activities

Samantha Power (top centre), United States Permanent Representative to the UN, signals her country’s abstention in the vote.
The Security Council,
Reaffirming its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), and 1850 (2008),
Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,
Reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice,
Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions,
Expressing grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines,
Recalling the obligation under the Quartet Roadmap, endorsed by its resolution 1515 (2003), for a freeze by Israel of all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and the dismantlement of all settlement outposts erected since March 2001,
Recalling also the obligation under the Quartet roadmap for the Palestinian Authority Security Forces to maintain effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantling terrorist capabilities, including the confiscation of illegal weapons,
Condemning all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement and destruction,
Reiterating its vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders,
Stressing that the status quo is not sustainable and that significant steps, consistent with the transition contemplated by prior agreements, are urgently needed in order to (i) stabilize the situation and to reverse negative trends on the ground, which are steadily eroding the two-State solution and entrenching a one-State reality, and (ii) to create the conditions for successful final status negotiations and for advancing the two-State solution through those negotiations and on the ground,

  1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;
  2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;
  3. Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;
  4. Stresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-State solution;
  5. Calls upon all States, bearing in mind paragraph 1 of this resolution, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967;
  6. Calls for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction, calls for accountability in this regard, and calls for compliance with obligations under international law for the strengthening of ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including through existing security coordination, and to clearly condemn all acts of terrorism;
  7. Calls upon both parties to act on the basis of international law, including international humanitarian law, and their previous agreements and obligations, to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, with the aim, inter alia, of de-escalating the situation on the ground, rebuilding trust and confidence, demonstrating through policies and actions a genuine commitment to the two-State solution, and creating the conditions necessary for promoting peace;
  8. Calls upon all parties to continue, in the interest of the promotion of peace and security, to exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final status issues in the Middle East peace process and within the time frame specified by the Quartet in its statement of 21 September 2010;
  9. Urges in this regard the intensification and acceleration of international and regional diplomatic efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967; and underscores in this regard the importance of the ongoing efforts to advance the Arab Peace Initiative, the initiative of France for the convening of an international peace conference, the recent efforts of the Quartet, as well as the efforts of Egypt and the Russian Federation;
  10. Confirms its determination to support the parties throughout the negotiations and in the implementation of an agreement;
  11. Reaffirms its determination to examine practical ways and means to secure the full implementation of its relevant resolutions;
  12. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of the provisions of the present resolution;
  13. Decides to remain seized of the matter.
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Monday, December 19, 2016

Liechtenstein GA draft on accountability in Syria: International investigation

Christian Wenaweser, Ambassador of Liechtenstein,
addresses the General Assembly

International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of those Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011

The General Assembly PP1 Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, PP2 Reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic,
PP3 Recalling the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Human Rights Council, in particular Human Rights Council resolution S-17/1 that established the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic,
PP4 Welcoming the ongoing work carried out by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic and recalling its reports1 and the recommendations contained therein,
PP5 Expressing its appreciation for the work carried out by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism and recalling its reports2 and the conclusions contained therein,
PP6 Recognizing the work of Syrian and international civil society actors in documenting violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights law in the Syrian Arab Republic during the conflict,
PP7 Noting with concern the impunity for serious violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights law committed during the conflict, in the Syrian Arab Republic which has provided a fertile ground for further violations and abuses,
PP8 Recalling the statements made by the Secretary-General, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the special procedures of the Human Rights Council that crimes against humanity and war crimes are likely to have been committed in the Syrian Arab Republic,
PP9 Noting the repeated encouragement by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the Security Council to refer the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic to the International Criminal Court,
1. Emphasizes the need to ensure accountability for crimes involving violations of international law, in particular of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, some of which may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity, committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011, through appropriate, fair and independent investigations and prosecutions at the domestic or international level, and stresses the need to pursue practical steps towards this goal to ensure justice for all victims and contribute to the prevention of future violations;
2. Stresses the need for any political process aimed at resolving the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic to ensure credible and comprehensive accountability for the most serious crimes committed in the country to bring about reconciliation and sustainable peace;
3. Welcomes the efforts by States to investigate and prosecute crimes within their jurisdiction committed in the Syrian Arab Republic, in accordance with their national legislation and international law, and encourages other States to consider doing the same and to share relevant information to this end with other States;
4. Decides to establish an “International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of those Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011” under the auspices of the United Nations to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of such crimes and prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings in accordance with international standards, in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over these crimes;
5. Requests the Secretary-General, in this regard, within 20 working days of the adoption of this resolution, to develop Terms of Reference of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism with the support of OHCHR, and requests further that the Secretary-General undertakes without delay the steps, measures and arrangements necessary for the speedy establishment and full functioning of the Impartial and Independent Mechanism, initially funded by voluntary contributions, in coordination with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic and building on existing capacities, including recruiting or allocating impartial and experienced staff with relevant skills and expertise in accordance with the Terms of Reference;
6. Calls upon all States, all parties to the conflict as well as civil society to cooperate fully with the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to effectively fulfill its mandate, and in particular to provide it with any information and documentation they may possess pertaining to the above-mentioned crimes as well as any other forms of assistance;
7. Requests the United Nations system as a whole to fully cooperate with the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism and to promptly respond to any request, including access to all information and documentation, and decides that the Mechanism closely cooperate with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic in all aspects of its work;
8. Requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the present resolution within 45 days of its adoption and decides to revisit the question of funding of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism as soon as possible.
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Sunday, December 18, 2016

French draft on Aleppo: Voting Monday

France: draft resolution

The Security Council,
Recalling all its relevant resolutions, especially 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2258 (2015) and 2286 (2016);
Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic;
Alarmed by the continued deterioration of the devastating humanitarian situation in Aleppo and by the fact that urgent humanitarian evacuations and assistance are now needed by a large number of Aleppo inhabitants;
Recalling the need for all parties to respect the relevant provisions of international humanitarian law and the United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian emergency assistance;
1. Takes note of the efforts to carry out evacuations of civilians and fighters from the districts of the city of Aleppo affected by the conflict;
2. Stresses that these evacuations must be conducted in accordance with international humanitarian law and principles and emphasizes that the evacuations of civilians must be voluntary and to final destinations of their choice, and protection must be provided to all civilians who choose or who have been forced to be evacuated and those who opt to remain in their homes;
3. Requests the United Nations and other relevant institutions to carry out adequate, neutral monitoring and direct observation and to report, as appropriate, on evacuations from eastern districts of Aleppo and other districts of the city, to ensure further deployment of staff for these purposes as needed and demands all parties to provide these monitors with safe, immediate and unimpeded access;
4. Stresses the importance to ensure the voluntary, safe and dignified passage of all civilians from eastern districts of Aleppo or other areas, under the monitoring of and coordination by the United Nations and other relevant institutions, to a destination of their choice; stresses that in such circumstances, priority should be given to the most seriously wounded people and the most vulnerable and calls on all the parties to cooperate with the United Nations in this regard;
5. Demands that all parties allow complete, immediate, unconditional, safe and unhindered access for the United Nations and its implementing partners, in order to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches people through the most direct route in order to meet basic needs, including the provision of medical care, consistent with the provisions of its resolution 2258 (2015) for the whole of Syria and respect and protect all civilians across Aleppo and throughout Syria; stresses that all parties must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and, in particular, to respect and protect civilians and civilian objects;
6 Calls on all parties to respect and protect all medical and humanitarian personnel, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities throughout the country, consistent with its resolution 2286 (2016);
7. Requests the Secretary General to take urgent steps to make arrangements, including security arrangements, to allow the observation by the United Nations and other relevant institutions of the well-being of civilians, as well as the full respect of international humanitarian law, inside eastern districts of the city of Aleppo; notify the Security Council about these arrangements and to carry out the above mentioned activity immediately thereupon,
8. Further requests the Secretary General to report to the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution, including by the parties on the ground, within 5 days of adoption of this resolution;

 9. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.
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