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Security Council mourns China earthquake victims

2008/05/20

Security Council stood and observed a minute of silence,
mourning the victims of Wenchuan earthquake

New York, 20 May 2008

On Tuesday, 20 May 2008, the President of the Security Council, DAVID MILIBAND, Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, presided over a high-level debate of the Security Council. At the outset of the meeting, all present in the Security Council chamber stood and observed a minute of silence, mourning the victims of the devastating Wenchuan earthquake that struck China's southwestern Sichuan Province on May 12.


Security Council observing a minute of silence in honor of disater victims
(Photo coutesy of Mr. HOU Jun, Xinhua News Agency)

On Tuesday morning, the UN Security Council held an open debate on "Post-Conflict Peacebuilding". Apart from British Foreign Secretary Mr. David Miliband, the high-level participants in the 5895th meeting of the Security Council included GORDAN JANDORKOVIĆ, Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Croatia, MOSIUOA LEKOTA, Minister of Defence of South Africa, OLIVIER CHASTEL, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, IMRON COTAN, Secretary-General of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, and RAMA YADE, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights of France.

At the outset of the meeting, Mr. Miliband, on behalf of the whole Security Council, extended "heartfelt sympathy to the Government and people of China in connection with the earthquake which occured in Sichuan, resulting in immense devastation and heavy loss of life". He requested the representative of China to convey to the Chinese Government and the families of the victims "sincere condolences for the tragedy they have suffered".

In a similar vain, Mr. Miliband, on behalf the Security Council, extended sympathy to Myanmar and its people "following the devastation caused by cyclone Nargis.


(Photo courtesy: Hou Jun, Xinhua News Agency)

He then said, "May I therefore invite all present in this chamber to stand and observe a minute of silence in tribute to the memory of the victims of those disasters?"

After the silent mourning, all the speakers in today's Security Council meeting, in their subsequent and respective statements, extended sympathy and condolences to China over the earthquake.


(Photo courtesy: Hou Jun, Xinhua News Agency)

Ambassador Wang Guangya, Permanent Representative of China to the UN, thanked Mr. David Miliband for extending sympathy and condolences to the Chinese Government and people on behalf of the Security Council, and for mourning Wenchuan earthquake victims. He said he would soon report to the Chinese Government and convey the Council's sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims. Ambassador Wang said he is confident that "With the concerted efforts of the Chinese Government and people, and the strong support of the Security Council members and other countries, as well as that of international organizations, China will prevail in its earthquake relief efforts."

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