U.N. council room has last meeting before renovation

Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:59pm EDT
 
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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council chamber -- one of the world's most familiar rooms since it was built nearly six decades ago -- hosted its last meeting on Wednesday before a two-year renovation project.

The chamber is being closed as part of a $1.9 billion plan to refurbish the entire United Nations complex in Manhattan. For the time being, the 15-nation council will meet in a conference room in the basement, U.N. officials said.

With its horseshoe-shaped table and chairs upholstered in the U.N. color of light blue, the chamber has featured in countless photographs and television news clips.

Completed in 1952, it was a gift of the Norwegian government and was designed by Norwegian architect Arnstein Arneberg.

Wednesday's last meeting in the chamber was devoted to a briefing of the council by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on a trip he paid to the Middle East last weekend.

The council is scheduled to reoccupy the refurbished chamber in early 2012, said Werner Schmidt, a spokesman for the renovation project.

(Reporting by Patrick Worsnip, Editing by Sandra Maler)

 
<p>Security Council members gather inside chambers during a high-level meeting on peace and security in Africa at the United Nations headquarters in New York April 16, 2008. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>