Posted by: APO | 16 April 2008

Africa / SECURITY COUNCIL HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA

WORK IN PROGRESS: SECURITY COUNCIL HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA

NOTE:  FOLLOWING ARE SUMMARIES OF STATEMENTS IN TODAY’S MEETING OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL ON PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA.  A COMPLETE SUMMARY WILL BE AVAILABLE AFTER THE CONCLUSION OF THE MEETING AS PRESS RELEASE SC/9301.

 

Background

 

The Security Council met today to debate peace and security in Africa.

 

It had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1625 (2005) on conflict prevention, particularly in Africa (document S/2008/18), which calls for measures to boost the United Nations capacity in preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peacebuilding.

 

According to the report, the Organization has become more attentive to the early warning signs of rising tensions and more effective at transmitting that information to the Security Council.  The Council has been acting to help Member States in crisis, to assist neighbouring States with border disputes and to address transnational factors, such as cross-border refugee movements and the illicit arms trade.

 

However, citing a “noticeable gap” between rhetoric surrounding prevention and the use of effective measures towards that end, the Secretary-General states that “the overriding challenge for the international community remains the development of more effective strategies for preventing conflict”.

 

The Secretary-General notes that the cost of armed conflict on the continent is equal to or greater than the amount of money it receives in international aid.  “Had that money not been lost as a result of armed conflict, it could have been used to address Africa’s growing development and humanitarian needs,” he points out.

 

To further enhance the Organization’s work in conflict prevention, he has unveiled plans to strengthen the capacity of the Secretariat, especially the Department of Political Affairs, he states.  He also proposes to strengthen the Organization’s regional field presence in support of prevention, particularly in Africa.  He notes that the United Nations is already bolstering its partnerships with Member States and regional organizations to develop their conflict prevention capacities, as evidenced by the world body’s close cooperation with the African Union on several prevention, peacekeeping and peacemaking initiatives.

 

Noting the underrepresentation of women at the formal stages of conflict prevention, the Secretary-General stresses the need for the United Nations to make an increased effort to support and encourage their full participation in this area.

 

To prevent crises from escalating into armed conflict, he calls on the Security Council to enhance its prevention capacity and to dispatch timely missions to the field to assess situations on the ground.  He also urges the Council to increase the use of its “Arria formula” meetings, whereby non-governmental actors can address the 15-member body outside official sessions, and to work to ensure the “creative and constructive” use of sanctions as a tool for preventing conflicts.

 

He also calls on the Council to develop a stronger and more structured relationship with the African Union, particularly in the areas of information sharing and sustained support for the Union’s capacity and resource base.  He calls on the whole United Nations system to deepen and intensify its engagement with representatives of civil society for purposes of conflict prevention.  He adds that it is only through political settlements that conflicts can be resolved.  “If we do not deal with the root causes of conflict — and offer sustainable solutions –- we will be left with humanitarian emergencies and peacekeeping operations without end,” he says.

 

The Council also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations, in particular the African Union, in the maintenance of international peace and security (document S/2008/186), containing proposals for further cooperation with regional organizations on Chapter VIII arrangements provided for in the United Nations Charter.

 

Chapter VIII of the Charter states that nothing in the Charter prevents the existence of regional arrangements in the maintenance of international peace and security, as long as such arrangements are consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations and the Security Council authorizes enforcement actions and is kept fully informed.  Any endeavour to enhance the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations under Chapter VIII will need to be based on a clearer definition of the basis and processes of such cooperation, according to the report.

 

The report describes the multifaceted nature and the many levels through which the Organization cooperates with regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security and identifies challenges and opportunities of such partnerships.  There is recognition of the need for greater involvement by regional organizations with the United Nations in conflict prevention, management and resolution in all regions.

 

The report says that the African Union perceives its actions as a contribution to the international community and, therefore, needs the support of external actors.  Beyond the immediate funding for a regional mission start-up, procedures would need to be in place for sustainable, flexible and predictable funding for long-term planning and deployment of a peacekeeping operation.  The Secretary-General proposes to set up within the next three months an African Union-United Nations Panel consisting of distinguished persons to consider in depth the modalities of how to support -– including therefore financing — peacekeeping operations undertaken by regional organizations, in particular as related to start-up funding, equipment and logistics.

 

As for conflict prevention and mediation, the Secretary-General recommends the establishment, in consultation with and with the full consent of concerned Member States, of regional offices to work closely with regional organizations.  He further recommends conducting joint reviews by the United Nations and regional organizations of the state of peace and security and of mediation endeavours.  The Secretary-General recommends that for peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction, the Organization should establish a standing collaborative working group to see how United Nations peacebuilding processes and the Peacebuilding Commission could be linked with the work of regional organizations.

 

The report also contains proposals and recommendations on the nature and structure of partnership; on coordination and consultation mechanisms; on improving the delivery of capacity-building for peacekeeping and peace support operations with regional organizations; on disarmament and non-proliferation; on human rights; and on humanitarian action.

 

Statements

 

Council President THABO MBEKI, President of South Africa, speaking in his national capacity, said he had convened the Security Council debate once more to discuss the matter of strengthening the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security.  The focus was on the African Union, given that most of the United Nations peacekeeping operations were in Africa.  The debate was also an opportunity for African countries to share their experiences with regard to United Nations peacekeeping operations.  The high-level attendance confirmed the shared view of the timeliness of the engagement.  He hoped that, at the end of the debate, it would be possible to adopt concrete measures to strengthen the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations, particularly the African Union.

 

He said that the African Union had shown a commitment to resolving African conflicts.  The operationalism of the African Union Peace and Security Council and the continental early warning systems, post-conflict reconstruction and development, the Panel of the Wise and the African standby force were clear indications of the commitment and the basic architecture for addressing peace and security issues on the continent.  However, the availability of the necessary and predictable resources remained the most important constraint that limited Africa’s capacity to give effect to those commitments and help resolve its own conflicts.

 

The issue of funding of regional peacekeeping operations was central to defining and streamlining the relationship between the United Nations and the African Union, he said.  He, therefore, welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish an African Union-United Nations panel of distinguished persons to consider in-depth the modalities on how to finance and, in other ways, support peacekeeping operations undertaken by regional organizations.  After all, when the African Union addressed peace and security matters, it did so on behalf of the wider international community.  Today’s debate, therefore, should give a clear indication as to the kind of mechanisms and processes that should be put in place to achieve that objective.

 

He said that similar attention should be paid to establishing an effective partnership between the United Nations, especially with the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council.  A comprehensive review should be undertaken of the experience of both the United Nations and the host countries on United Nations peacekeeping missions.  That was necessary if the effectiveness of the missions was to be improved.  The surge in peacekeeping operations over the years and the increasing role of regional organizations in both conflict resolution and managing post-conflict situations had necessitated such a dialogue. 

 

Africa’s challenges were multidimensional and could not be addressed in isolation, he said, adding that matters of conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping were inextricably linked to the achievement of sustainable social and economic development.  From the last decade to date, there had been discernable progress on peace, security, democracy and development in Africa.  To consolidate those achievements, it was critical to make an additional effort, effectively and urgently, to address the conflict or post-conflict situations on the shared agenda of the United Nations and the African Union.  Peacemaking efforts on the African continent had shown that conflict resolution required an approach that placed the views and efforts of the affected country and its people at the centre of the search for peace, thus obliging the international community to intervene as a partner in support of the national effort.

 

B. LYNN PASCOE, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, introducing the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1625 (2005) on conflict prevention, particularly in Africa (S/2008/18), said it reviewed recent efforts to develop more multifaceted approaches to dealing with conflicts, particularly in Africa, as well as emphasized the need for a broad strategy that helped to build national and regional capacities for preventive action.  Although conflict prevention was not always highly visible, it remained the most cost-effective and efficient way to promote international peace and security.  In order to enhance the United Nations capacity for early warning, conflict prevention and mediation in Africa and elsewhere, the Secretary-General proposed strengthening the Department of Political Affairs.  Successfully preventing conflict in the field would require more resources that could only be provided by Member States. 

 

The Secretary-General’s report made several suggestions on how the Council could implement resolution 1625 (2005) and, therefore, improve and sustain the United Nations ability to avert negative developments and prevent crisis from escalating into armed conflict, he said.  The Council was called upon, for example, to dispatch missions to the field on a timely basis to assess situations on the ground and to increase its use of the Arria formula or similar arrangements for broad informal discussions.  It was urged to use reports of groups of experts to carry out lessons-learned exercises to motivate parties to resolve conflicts, as well as called upon to develop a stronger and more structured relationship with the African Union Peace and Security Council.

 

The report called for continued efforts to combat cross-border and transnational threats to stability, including efforts to control the arms trade, he continued.  It urged continued efforts against gender-based violence and called for full cooperation in developing the capacity of African regional organizations to deploy both civilian and military assets quickly when needed, including for developing an African standby force.

 

He said the Secretary-General had instructed the United Nations to strengthen current levels of collaboration to maintain efforts to deploy expertise on prevention and to ensure that it continued to work closely with and support the African Union peace and security architecture, including the Panel of the Wise.  That would help build the African Union’s long-term capacity and, thus, support the Ten-Year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union.

 

He then introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations, in particular the African Union, in the maintenance of international peace and security (S/2008/186), which described the many facets of the United Nations cooperation with regional organizations in peace and security under Chapter VIII.  It identified the challenges facing those partnerships, particularly in Africa, and focused on the opportunities that could be seized to ensure more functional and effective cooperation and coordination.  That would be based on a clear division of labour that recognized the comparative advantage that each organization may have in dealing with a particular conflict. 

 

The Secretary-General proposed better support arrangements for further cooperation with regional organizations, he said.  Also in that report, the Secretary-General recommended specific action in conflict prevention, mediation, disarmament, non-proliferation, peacebuilding, human rights and humanitarian action.  He suggested setting up an African Union-United Nations panel of distinguished persons, within the next three months, to make concrete recommendations on how to help finance peacekeeping operations by regional organizations.  

 

He expressed hope that the open debate would help forge a consensus on those vital questions, while reaffirming the centrality of early warning, conflict prevention and mediation among the main responsibilities of Member States and the Council.

 

JAKAYA KIKWETE, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Chair of the African Union, said that the African Union had developed comprehensive action-oriented peace architecture for addressing, preventing and mediating conflict in the continent, as well as for rebuilding, fighting terrorism, responding to emergencies and the proliferation of nuclear and conventional weapons, particularly illicit small arms.  In the African Union, partnership with the United Nations had been underlined as essential for the effective implementation of the Union’s peace and security agenda.  For that reason, the Union considered today’s meeting as critical for strengthening that partnership. 

 

He said that the ultimate responsibility for maintaining international peace and security rested with the Security Council, but regional organizations and peace initiatives served as important building blocks for global collective security.  Today’s meeting was a welcome endeavour in the joint quest to strengthen that partnership, especially between the African Union and the United Nations.  Joint experience in conflict situations had demonstrated an ability to achieve notable success, but challenges remained.  The meeting, therefore, was the perfect setting in which to identify the challenges and agree on a way forward for overcoming them.

 

Africa had come of age, he said, adding that it was aware of its responsibilities and the need to take action to respond to conflicts in the continent and on the planet.  African nations had become increasingly proactive, and the African Union and regional communities needed partnership with the United Nations for many reasons.  Among them, the capacities of those regional organizations needed to be built, in order for them to prevent and manage conflicts and build institutional capacities, among other things.  Africa’s 10-year plan was an appropriate mechanism, but the continent’s demand for resources was enormous and, in that regard, he appealed to the international community to do more.  He also questioned the speed with which action was taken when threats to peace arose, particularly in Africa.  The United Nations was not as fast as desirable.

 

He said that two other things required attention at today’s meeting.  One concerned the danger of conflict arising between the African Union and the United Nations, especially if the latter were to take a different position.  That matter should be given serious thought, towards avoiding it altogether.  He also appealed to the United Nations to establish mechanisms to build the African Union’s capacities to resolve conflicts as expeditiously as possible.  That matter related to the United Nations current funding regulations, which did not allow funding for peace operations led by other groups, even when authorized by the Security Council. 

 

In that connection, he welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish, within three months, a panel to examine ways to support regional organizations in terms of financing such operations.  After all, the goal was the same -– the maintenance of international peace.  The peace missions in Darfur and Somalia were still seriously constrained, owing to a lack of resources, logistical support and equipment.  He recalled the 2006 declaration on Enhancing African Union-United Nations Cooperation, agreed by the two organizations.

 

BAN KI-MOON, United Nations Secretary-General, said that, in the 15 months he had served as Secretary-General, he had devoted more time to African issues than to those on any other continent, from peace and security to the Millennium Development Goals.  He had visited 11 African countries and would leave on Friday to visit four more.  Preventing and resolving conflict peacefully must remain high on the shared agenda of the African Union and the United Nations.  He welcomed the announcement by Kenya’s new Government.  Now that the immediate power-sharing issues had been addressed, he urged all sides to stay committed to resolving the longer-term causes of the recent unrest. 

 

He expressed his deep concern at the uncertainty created by the prolonged non-release of the election results in Zimbabwe.  Absent a transparent solution to that impasse, the situation could deteriorate further, with serious implications for Zimbabwe’s people.  The Zimbabwean authorities and the countries in the region had insisted that those matters were for the region to resolve, but the international community continued to watch and wait for decisive action.  The credibility of the democratic process in Africa could be at stake.  If there was a second round of elections, they must be conducted in a fair, transparent manner, with international observers.  He urged the leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to continue their efforts.  The United Nations stood ready to assist, in that regard.  Meanwhile, it was necessary to step up the work for desperately needed progress in bringing peace and stability to Darfur and Somalia.  The partnership between the African Union and the United Nations would remain crucial to that effort.

 

As his two reports introduced by Mr. Pascoe showed, the relationship between the United Nations and the African Union was strong and broad, the Secretary-General said.  The declaration on Enhancing United Nations-African Union Cooperation, signed in 2006 between Chairperson Konare and Kofi Annan, provided a vehicle for the United Nations to help build the African Union’s capacity.  Significant progress had already been made in giving life to the vision behind the declaration.  As provided for in the Ten-Year Capacity-Building Programme, the United Nations had taken concrete steps to help develop the African Union peace and security architecture.  That work covered a broad range of activities, from good offices and mediation on border issues, to early warning, conflict prevention and building operational capacity. 

 

The United Nations had set up a dedicated team to help operationalize the concept of an African standby force, which would build on the valiant and pioneering efforts of the African Union’s missions in Burundi, Somalia and Sudan, he continued.  Today, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations team developed training, operational capacity and technical advice, in collaboration with the African Union Commission, subregional organizations and donors.  The United Nations and the African Union were far better equipped for the critical task of mediation, thanks to the creation of the Secretariat of the African Union Panel of the Wise, and the launch of the United Nations Mediation Standby Team of experts.  The cooperation exhibited during the crisis in Kenya was an example of how more could be achieved by working together.

 

He said he was heartened by the deepening cooperation between the Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.  He warmly welcomed tomorrow’s joint meeting of the two Councils –- the second of its kind, and the first to be held at United Nations Headquarters.  “As we consolidate the partnership between our two institutions, I will spare no efforts in making it complementary, effective and inclusive,” he said.  “I am resolved to enhance cooperation with all regional organizations, so as to create, in the future, effective mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution, as well as a predictable, interlinked and reliable system for global peacekeeping under the Charter,” he said.

 

GORDON BROWN, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said that today’s discussion was an opportunity to forge a new consensus for resolving conflict and rebuilding afterwards.  The African Union’s work had laid the foundation for a political solution in Kenya in recent weeks and created the conditions for recovery in Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and elsewhere in the continent.  But the Union needed more support, and that must be part of a wider endeavour.  There was still a “gaping hole” in the ability to address illegitimate threats and the use of force against innocent people.  Darfur showed that urgent needs remained unmet.  Today, there were 28,000 African peacekeepers, and those required more systematic support; in addition to training exercises, there must also be more predictable and sustainable funding. 

 

He welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal for a senior panel, which should examine the creation of a trust fund with United Nations oversight, adding that fragile and conflict States needed not only humanitarian aid and peacekeeping support, but also reconstruction assistance.  The international order should respond in a way that combined humanitarian aid and peacekeeping with reconstruction and development.  Starting next month, when the Security Council resolutions authorized peacekeeping missions, they should include a plan for reconstruction assistance, drawing from a United Nations fund to provide immediate support, to which his country would contribute.  The United Kingdom would also have civilian experts ready on standby to deploy quickly to post-conflict areas, and it would make available a 1,000-strong British standby force, including police, judges and trainers, among others. 

 

Turning to the situation in Zimbabwe, he said its people had signalled a strong commitment to democracy three weeks ago.  No one who had seen the results from the polling stations had thought that Mr. Mugabe had won the election; it had been stolen and was not an election at all.  The credibility of the democratic process depended on there being a legitimate Government.  He was and would be vigilant in his stand for democratic rights, and he stood solidly behind democracy and human rights for Zimbabwe and his support for the people’s better future.

 

ROMANO PRODI, Prime Minister of Italy, began by noting positive examples of cooperation between international and regional organizations, including:  between the United Nations, the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in stabilizing the Balkans; the joint United Nations and European Union initiative in Lebanon; and partnerships between the United Nations and the European Union in Darfur.

 

In terms of the African Union, he said the world should continue down the path of creating permanent structures that would enable it to manage political, military and civil crises.  He acknowledged that resources were a problem, similar to the situation faced by the European Union in setting up a mobilization and rapid reaction system for crisis situations.  But, some progress had been made in that area, which deserved to be studied carefully by Africa.  Also, he expressed encouragement that Africa was not just seeking assistance, but was playing a front-line role in efforts to bring peace to the continent. 

 

He noted that African subregional organizations, together with the African Union, had helped to identify a political solution in Kenya and were working to find a solution to “the profound crisis in Zimbabwe”.  In building a more solid African institutional framework, the structures for coordinating the regional organizations must also be strengthened.  Last December, the European Union and the African Union launched a joint strategy in Lisbon, which must be made operational and concrete.

 

Aligning himself with the statement to be made by Slovenia, he also highlighted efforts in which Italy had engaged:  the African Peace Facility, in agreement with President Alpha Ouman Konare of the African Union Commission, which is today being used to train Somali security forces and rebuild public administration; and the provision of vocational training through United Nations centres in Turin and Brindisi.  Italy also endorsed a number of the Secretary-General’s proposals on strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, including in the area of financing.

 

LAURENT GBAGBO, President of C ôte D’Ivoire, said Côte d’Ivoire had set its general elections for 2008.  On 14 April, the electoral calendar was adopted by the Council of Ministers, who had set the presidential elections for 30 November.  Everyone should support and assist Côte d’Ivoire morally.  The crisis was over in Côte D’Ivoire.  He thanked the United Nations and the African Union for its collaborative efforts.  Turning to Africa’s region, he said Chapter VIII of the Charter allowed for the United Nations and regional organizations to serve as mediators.  Many African conflicts were taking place inside States and sought to undermine and destroy those States.  That was the case in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Somalia and Sierra Leone.  Darfur was somewhat of a special case, because it involved an internal Sudanese conflict and a border conflict between Chad and Cameroon.  It was perhaps the only State where two States were face to face in a conflict.

 

The United Nations must support Côte D’Ivoire and other African countries, he said.  A Special Representative of the Secretary-General was assigned to the case of Côte D’Ivoire, but there was a need to focus on decentralizing institutions.  It was not just a question of means; it was a question of responsibility.  The African Union, SADC and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) must be given structural responsibility to resolve today’s conflicts.  The reform of the United Nations was not just about who was on the Security Council; it was also who did what in the world.  With every passing month and year, new countries were born.  It was essential to make sure that regional organizations played a bigger role, supported by the United Nations.  In the case of Côte D’Ivoire, whenever it made significant progress it was Africans that were on the front line. 

 

WANG YI, Vice Foreign Minister of China, said the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security fell to the Security Council, while Chapter VIII of the Charter encouraged the peaceful settlement of disputes through regional arrangements.  Indeed, strengthening United Nations cooperation with regional organizations would promote multilateralism and help boost international security at the same time.

 

He went on to note that 60 per cent of the items discussed by the Council concerned Africa and two thirds of United Nations peacekeeping operations were conducted in Africa.  Without stability and development on that continent, global peace and prosperity was “out of the question”.  But, ending disturbances and poverty in Africa in the twenty-first century required common efforts on the part of the international community and Africa, and a closer partnership between the United Nations and the African Union.

 

He said China supported the forging of a stable partnership between the United Nations and the African Union.  Where the Security Council could not shirk its responsibility in the maintenance of peace and security in Africa, the African Union had a deep grasp of African issues.  Therefore, the two sides should form a synergy based on each other’s strengths, founded on equality, mutual respect, complementarity and mutual benefit.  That partnership should also be based on a predictable, sustainable and flexible framework.  Meanwhile, the Security Council should give priority to supporting the African Union’s key role in resolving regional conflicts, and give full consideration to the views of the African Union.

 

He voiced hope that the African Union-United Nations hybrid operation in Darfur would complete its deployment at an early date and begin its operation.  He also expressed support for the United Nations in taking over the African Union’s peacekeeping operation in Somalia, as well as for the Peacebuilding Commission, Secretariat and other United Nations organs in building and strengthening coordination and consultation mechanisms at various levels with the African Union.  The declaration on Enhancing United Nations-African Union Cooperation:  Framework for the Ten-Year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union should be fully implemented, and the United Nations should play a key role in pooling other forms of international assistance.

 

For its part, he said China had been providing, and would continue to provide, assistance to the African Union and African countries according to its ability, and would continue to support the strengthening of the African Union.

 

N. HASSAN WIRAJUDA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, reiterating his country’s long-standing commitment to Africa, said it had had no hesitation in promoting African independence in 1955.  Since then, it had contributed actively to United Nations peacekeeping operations on the continent, in the Congo, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Somalia and the Sudan.  Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security, as well as conflict prevention, were both long-standing and recognized in the Charter.  That subject was rightly gaining momentum and relevant.  The increasingly complex and interconnected work, marked by a proliferation of actors and variables, required a look at issues in an ever more holistic and integrated manner.  States no longer had the luxury of remaining insulated or indifferent, as the destinies of all were intertwined and conflicts in one region would sooner or later affect others.

 

He said he was convinced of the transformational potential of regional cooperation –- in preventing and settling conflict and in bringing in its place regional peace and stability.  Such conditions were prerequisites for economic development.  His region’s experience attested to that fact.  By ensuring peace and security in South-East Asia for more than four decades, the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) had contributed immensely to shouldering that burden, which would otherwise have fallen to the United Nations.  Indonesia was also a strong advocate of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, as that cooperation was invaluable in strengthening and empowering regional organizations.  But, there was no need to reinvent the wheel; synergy and partnership should be promoted.

 

Most recently, the United Nations and the African Union, as well as subregional organizations in Africa, had shown that cooperation could deliver tangible results, but challenges certainly remained.  More support was needed to enable the African Union to respond and deal more effectively with conflicts on the continent.  The two partners must, therefore, enhance their capacity for confidence-building, preventive diplomacy and peacemaking, and to realize their full potential.  He commended the African Union for taking the lead in Somalia and for contributing to peace efforts in Darfur. 

 

Regarding the current “hub-and-spokes” relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations, he said he favoured its expansion into one of “hub and a network of spokes”.  That was a network of regional organizations working together to maintain peace and security, connected to each other, with the United Nations at the centre.  As conflict prevention was multidimensional in nature, he recognized the important role played by the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Human Rights Council in supporting the Security Council’s promotion of preventive measures.  Turning to his own region and ASEAN, he noted that, since the Council’s thematic debate on this topic last November, the 10 ASEAN members had moved forward by signing the ASEAN Charter.

 

JOSEPH KABILA, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said his country was in a period in which it was building peace and focusing on renewal.  He said that his presence at today’s meeting was a testament to how the Democratic Republic of the Congo valued international peace and security and its recognition of the United Nations valuable support to help his country try to end recurring conflicts that jeopardized stability.  He expressed hope that the solutions arrived at today would make a substantial contribution in achieving more sound and efficient cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, particularly the African Union.  Despite some imperfections, it would be possible to contain the damage done by human folly and together the international community could achieve better results for a safer, more humane world.  The Council should support regional endeavours in peacekeeping and security.  It should be part of a global effort, he said, stressing that peace must be built, managed and maintained.

 

The international community must learn from the experiences of societies that had ended armed conflict and had, over the years, reaped the rewards of that, he said.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo had for several years experienced war, misery and grief.  Fortunately, that chapter was now closed.  While peacebuilding and reconstruction were by no means completed, the progress made had been the result of national will, a referendum and constitutional reforms.  The country’s institutions must be strengthened and the process of reintegration must be harmonized.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s judicial system must become operational and social peace and security for all must be achieved.  It was also necessary to create within the Great Lakes region a political environment conducive to achieving a peaceful coexistence within countries.  It was important to consider progress made and to the continuation of conflicts in the world, he said, noting the particularly serious and complicated situations in Africa that had given rise to difficulties in terms of peace and security.

 

Further, he noted the importance of addressing the situation of internally displaced persons, the spread of infectious diseases, the arms trade and environmental destruction.  Fortunately, those issues were at the heart of the United Nations consensus and deserved the joint support of the African Union and the United Nations.  International cooperation was needed to end the illegal exploitation of Africa’s natural resources.  He supported implementation of the agreement calling for a joint annual meeting between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council.  The Secretary-General should appeal to the relevant agencies to step up their cooperation with the African Union.  The United Nations, which was primarily responsible for maintaining peace and security, should increase assistance to the African Union, with view to building institutional and operational capacity of the African Union Peace and Security Council, particularly in terms of early warning systems, through the regular exchange of information, the training of military and civilian personnel and joint operations of some missions.

 

DJIBRILL YIPENE BASSOLE, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Burkina Faso, said that West Africa had been the theatre of a series of conflicts.  As a subregional organization, ECOWAS had emboldened itself with conflict prevention and settlement mechanisms.  Also notable was the African Union Peace and Security Council and Panel of the Wise dedicated to helping to settle conflicts in the region.  He had always thought that the responsibility for crisis resolution was “our own”, in the framework of the Charter’s Chapter VIII.  Thanks to African-owned action, the conflict situation in the continent was encouraging, but there were still areas of concern, including in Niger, which was plagued by the trafficking of drugs and weapons.  He was also following the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, as the current ECOWAS President and facilitator of the inter-Ivorian dialogue.

 

He noted that Burkina Faso’s President, together with other leaders, had achieved the Ouagadougou accord and supplementary agreements, which had been successfully implemented owing to cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and ECOWAS.  Implementation benefited from both regional facilitation and international assistance.  It was recognized that the Ouagadougou agreement had paved the way out of the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, but, beyond that, it was the adherence of the main actors in the process that had driven it.  The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Côte d’Ivoire had said that the peace process involved national ownership, subregional leadership and international assistance.  He hoped that such processes also benefited from predictable, available and sufficient resources, since mediation efforts were often conducted in difficult contexts.

 

Those were some of the lessons that could be drawn from the peace process in Côte d’Ivoire –- a process that he hoped would be concluded with the first round of presidential elections on 30 November, he said.  He hoped that country would also benefit, as soon as possible, from the support of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, in order that its stability and economic progress were ensured.  He added that the eruption of occasional riots could destabilize a number of African countries, with their effects more harshly felt in pockets of poverty.  He, therefore, sought a strengthening of relations between the African Union and United Nations in areas of peace and security, with a focus on socio-economic factors, such as price hikes, which could provoke new crises in some States.

 

PHAM BINH MINH, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, said that, despite the fact that the Security Council had yet to find a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, action in countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were testimony to what the Council could do for Africa.  Recent experiences in Asia, Africa and Latin America underscored the growing importance of regional organizations as partners of the United Nations in the prevention, management and settlement of conflicts, as well as in peacebuilding and stabilization processes.  Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations should be based on their complementary capacities and comparative advantages.

 

He said regional organizations were well positioned to understand the root causes of armed conflicts and had unique advantages in early detection of threats and in finding peaceful solutions to the problems.  Better coordination and a more effective partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations would strengthen the capacity of the Council to fulfil its task of maintaining international peace and security.  At the same time, the United Nations should pay greater attention to the issue of providing political, physical and financial assistance to peacekeeping efforts of regional organizations that lacked resources.  As Africa was the continent where most conflicts were taking place, the African Union should enjoy greater cooperation from the United Nations in terms of financial and logistical assistance for its peacekeeping forces.  The difficulties facing the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) were a clear illustration of that necessity.

 

ASEAN had become an important mechanism for strengthening peace, friendship and cooperation in his region and attached great importance to fostering relations with other regional organizations in promoting multilateral endeavours for peace, stability and development, he said.  The United Nations and ASEAN had a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation that allowed ASEAN to make a greater contribution to the work of the United Nations, and to promoting peace, stability and development in the world.

 

ABDULLAH YUSUF AHMED, President of Somalia, thanked the Security Council for its laudable role at each juncture of Somalia’s civil strife and State failure.  The Council had the resolve and political will to invoke the morally compelling doctrine of humanitarian intervention, thereby successfully reversing a disastrous famine that could have potentially wiped out millions of Somalis.  Somalia once again needed the Council’s intervention.  The Council should urgently send an international force to assist the Transitional Federal Government to implement its peace and stabilization plan.  The Somali conflict, which was once among clans, was today about extreme ideology and predatory economic and commercial interests.  It was between those who wanted to live in peace and harmony under democratic governance and those who espoused violence and wanted to keep Somalia stuck in lawlessness and anarchy.  The solution was to re-establish the collapsed Somali State, advance the reconciliation process and stabilize and provide security.

 

The National Reconciliation Congress (NRC) was the largest in history, he said.  It was held in Mogadishu.  It was attended by almost 3,000 delegates and attracted many more peace-loving Somalis into the city.  It produced corrective resolutions in Government affairs and a road map to a fair and free election that would lead Somalia to a democratic transition in 2009.  The Transitional Federal Government had also repeatedly shown its willingness to talk to those who opposed the Government.  He said he was for peace and reconciliation in Somalia and he wanted to witness the renaissance of Somalia as a progressive democratic State that was at peace with itself, with its neighbours and with the rest of the world.  He was willing to do whatever necessary to promote peace and stability.

 

The lack of security in Somalia was compounded by the continuation of the United Nations arms embargo, he said.  The Council must help the Transitional Federal Government to stabilize Somalia by reviewing the merits of the arms embargo and promptly lifting it; authorizing deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force with the mandate of helping Somalia achieve fuller reconciliation, stabilization, disarmament and durable peace; and helping Somalia form Government security organs, such as police, military and other intelligence bodies.  The prevalence of pirates on Somalia’s long shores was hampering international trade and international marine safety and navigation.  Since Somalia could not currently guard its vast coast, he called on the international community to take action and combat piracy, until Somalia could take over security.

 

RAMA YADE, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights of France, said:  “the future of Africa is also our future.  Its successes or failure today will be ours tomorrow”.  By working together, it would be possible to meet the challenges of development, peace and security.  Africa must find its rightful place in globalization, and global affairs could not be addressed without Africa.  There would be no successful globalization without a strong Africa.  The efforts and successes, however, must be supported by the international community, and France believed in the strengthened partnership between the United Nations and the African Union.  Indeed, Africa was on the move and part of global momentum.  It was opening itself to “the winds of modernity and democracy”, and organizing itself.  Its institutions and role continued to develop, parallel to the subregional organizations that wished to take the continent’s future in hand.  The African Union had already assumed a substantial role in international responses to crises.

 

She said that Africa, however, was also a continent still confronted with considerable challenges, beginning with poverty, health, climate change and access to natural resources, particularly water.  Africa was striving to meet those challenges, and France was determined to help it through with concrete actions.  With respect to food security — a condition for peace, stability and development — the international community must mobilize immediately to find solutions with the World Food Programme.  Peace and development were not built with empty stomachs.  France and the European Union were preparing proposals to address the situation and the United Nations must act to meet that new global challenge.  The United Nations, like the African Union, owed it to itself to help the African countries meet those challenges.

 

France had in mind four objectives, she said.  First among them was preventive action because, failing that, more open crises would need to be addressed.  France supported the Secretary-General’s efforts to strengthen United Nations action with respect to preventive diplomacy.  The early warning system established by the African Union was an important development, in that regard.  For its part, the United Nations continued to improve its conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding capacities through reform of the Secretariat and the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission.  The relations developing between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council were a good illustration of the cooperation between the two organizations.

 

The second objective concerned response to crisis, and to meet those challenges the Charter had conferred on the Council the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, she said.  It had also provided a role for regional organizations, in that respect.  Darfur was an example of the two acting in an original way, deploying a hybrid operation.  It was not always an easy situation to handle.  The deployment of UNAMID was presently blocked.  It was imperative that the operation be able to discharge its mandate to help the people of Darfur and the humanitarian operations that came to their aid.  Peace and national reconciliation processes must also be supported until free elections were held, which were transparent and open to all.

 

She said that the third objective was to assist democratic change and further respect for human rights.  Additionally, peace must be built in countries that had successfully completed a transition process.  She was thinking of efforts in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, the Central African Republic and the Great Lakes region -– Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo — with Governments democratically elected after a transition process.  She added that there would be no strong Europe without a strong Africa, and the European Union was deeply committed to strengthening African peacekeeping capacities, supporting African Union operations and also the conduct of United Nations-mandated operations in Africa.  France, during its upcoming presidency of the European Union, would emphasize cooperation actions in support of the African peace and security architecture, and support for the processes of stabilization and reconciliation.

 

PIERRE CHEVALIER, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium, said resolving African conflicts could only be achieved through genuine cooperation.  He said he was pleased with the progress in the last few years among the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union in their trilateral relationship in managing conflicts.  Cooperation arrangements should be based on correct mutual understanding of what that cooperation could yield and what could be legitimately expected. 

 

If a regional cooperation arrangement decided to authorize peacekeeping under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, then the Security Council was validating it, he continued.  But, that could not mean that the regional organization was a substitute for the United Nations or that the United Nations was responsible for logistical and financial support.  With a joint operation, the United Nations was responsible for conduct.  To avoid misunderstanding, appropriate consultations among all organizations were vital, particularly as they concerned decision-making.  That would enable the international organizations to determine the type of cooperation that was appropriate.

 

The sharing of common experiences and lessons learned would help improve cooperation between international organizations, he said.  The United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur was a unique experience and an experiment.  But, it involved very high stakes for the local population, which had suffered greatly.  Deployment of the mission had been much too slow.  A strong shared political vision between the African Union and the United Nations was critical.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi had benefited from useful cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.  Yet, despite tremendous progress, peace remained fragile and citizens still faced daily violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Belgium would remain strongly committed to resolving conflicts in the Great Lakes region.  Belgium’s Ministers for Foreign Affairs, for Cooperation and Development and for Defence would visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi next week.  He also expressed his particular concern over the increased tensions in Zimbabwe and called for steps to prevent the deterioration of that situation.  A unanimous and very clear signal was necessary in that regard.

 

MELES ZENAWI, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, said that African issues constituted a very significant part of the Security Council’s deliberations.  Africa had also been exerting efforts to prevent and manage conflicts on the continent, including through the establishment of a comprehensive peace and security architecture within the African Union.  It brought several strengths to the table in resolving African conflicts.  At the same time, he was confident that everyone would agree that there was a lot of room for fruitful collaboration between the United Nations and African Union, with the Security Council’s primacy in terms of its responsibility for international peace and security.

 

He said he welcomed the Secretary-General’s report on the matter, particularly his proposal to establish a panel to ensure predictable, sustainable and flexible funding for African Union peace operations.  He urged the Council to speedily consider the recommendations of such a panel, as such a funding arrangement could be crucial in saving many African lives.  Indeed, the panel’s process was bound to take some time, so he urged the Council in the meantime to support the African Union in its peace operations in the continent, particularly in Somalia.  The African Union was unable to deploy the full contingent of peacekeepers in Somalia because of a lack of funding, but with the Council’s support, Africa would be better able to support the people and Government of Somalia in achieving peace.

 

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said today’s high-level meeting showed the commitment of the international community in addressing and resolving African conflicts.  The development of cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union had helped to do that.  Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter provided the legal basis for Security Council-supported and sanctioned peacekeeping operations.  African Union-European Union cooperation was proving effective.  Regional organizations in Africa were showing more and more willingness to resolve African problems.  Anti-crisis potential must be developed to fully include crisis prevention, crisis settlement and post-conflict reconstruction, so that the post-conflict process could advance fully.  The African Union’s peacekeeping must be strengthened by the Council, but not with direct financing from the United Nations budget.  Regional organizations and their members were mainly responsible for effective implementation.

 

Interaction between the United Nations and the African Union had already been a substantially positive experience, such as in Darfur, he said, where the African Union was making progress in advancing the political process.  It was also making progress in Chad and Darfur thanks to support from the European Union.  It was important to ensure that those innovative models of cooperation proved to be effective.  Constructive dialogue between the African Union and the United Nations was becoming a regular occurrence.  He expressed hope that tomorrow’s joint meeting would move that interaction forward.  The Russian Federation was doing its part in peacekeeping in Africa.  Specialized Russian Federation institutions were training African peacekeepers.  The Russian Federation also planned to expand its participation in peacekeeping in Africa and elsewhere.  He supported South Africa’s draft resolution aimed at strengthening interaction with regional organizations, particularly the African Union.

 

GIADALLA A. ETTALHI ( Libya) recalled that a number of forums and debates had taken place in the past on the role of regional and subregional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security.  The continuation of such discussions suggested that the participation of those organizations needed to be more effective, and that they be based on “the search for the achievement of concrete results”.  Indeed, from what was seen through Libya’s own efforts in the realm of prevention and settlement of African conflicts, coupled with its time as an African member of the Council, it had become apparent that a better planned international approach to the prevention of conflict was needed.  Long-term planning needed to take precedence over temporary efforts at putting out fires.  Yet, the Secretariat seemed to have little power, and the envisaged “far-reaching efforts” to prevent conflicts had yet to materialize, bringing with it costly humanitarian problems.

 

He said the causes of conflict were political, social and developmental and the solutions to those problems were themselves necessarily complex, whether at the internal, regional and international levels.  However, even with growing appreciation for the role of the African Union, especially after the establishment of its Peace and Security Council, he reminded the Council that Africa did not seek a narrow continental interest.  Rather, its security efforts were a reaction to joint global challenges.  As such, it would become impossible to separate the mandate of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council from that of the United Nations Security Council.

 

He noted that a bridge had been built between the Security Council and the Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa in 2007, resulting in the sharing of work experience and information on current conflicts, and the seeking of a means to prevent those conflicts.  The present meeting was an opportunity to begin working on the formalization of a regional-global partnership, in which all United Nations bodies should be encouraged to participate.  Also, this partnership should have the effect of moving away from the premise that the United Nations would not finance activities it did not control.

 

MOMPATI S. MERAFHE, Vice President of Botswana, said he believed strongly that the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security lay in the United Nations, and the Security Council, in particular.  He stressed that it was important for all countries to assume collective ownership of challenges to peace and security, and added that whenever the African Union deployed a peacekeeping mission it was being done on behalf of the international community as a whole.

 

He said that the United Nations seemed to recognize the advantages offered by regional organizations in providing timely response to outbreaks of war within their region.  However, practical measures were needed to strengthen its relationship with those organizations, and a clearly defined partnership was needed to achieve faster results and an efficient use of resources.

 

He said the Peace and Security Council of the African Union was a dependable mechanism for preventing, managing and resolving conflicts, and that the international community should support it and put it to good use.  However, lack of resources severely hampered Africa’s ability to successfully execute and sustain peacekeeping operations.  He urged the Council to adopt a resolution to put concrete measures in motion that could translate “our hope for providing the necessary support to the African Union peacekeeping missions” into reality.  It was the business of Member States to put the business of making war “out of business”, and, for that, they must invest more resources to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations and the African Union to make peace.

 

NEVEN JURICA ( Croatia) said that the Security Council’s global task would be more effectively implemented with active engagement at the regional, subregional and national levels.  Optimally, those three levels of responsibility, owing to their intertwining nature, should act in harmony to achieve peace and security, respecting the principles of division of labour and effectiveness.  In that respect, regional organizations should assume their share of the responsibility, as appropriate, in the global-regional partnership mechanism.  A regional organization’s unique knowledge and local expertise often placed it in a better position to assess regional and local situations.  The question remained how to make best use of that assessment.  The Council should evaluate regional initiatives on their own merits and contributions. 

 

He said that capacity-building was a way of enhancing regional organizations’ effectiveness and efficiency in conflict prevention, management and resolution.  He attached particular importance to security sector reform, taking into consideration the expertise of the Secretary-General’s representatives in the field.  In that respect, he acknowledged some encouraging developments in West and Central Africa.  Conflict prevention could and should be strengthened, and should be given more prominence.  Experience taught that any crisis could be better handled in its early stages and, therefore, an approach that encompassed a better early warning system was of the utmost importance.  He was very concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe, as every nation had the right to enjoy the benefits of democracy.  At the same time, Kenya was a good example of timely intervention by a regional mediation mission.

 

There was no one-size-fits-all approach, he said.  Any attempt to build upon such an approach led to failure.  The Sudan was an example where the Council was working together with the African Union to create a special relationship, and consideration should be given to using a similar model in other conflict areas.  In response to a growing need to develop a comprehensive approach in the post-conflict period -– encompassing political, military, humanitarian and developmental components -– he recognized the valuable goals and role of the Peacebuilding Commission.  That body had been successful in its tailored approach, and within its framework there was an excellent opportunity for meaningful cooperation with regional and subregional organizations.  To the talk about the culture of impunity taking root in some conflict-ridden areas of Africa, he reiterated that there was no lasting peace without justice and development.  Justice was vital to any reconciliation process and the building of a healthy society.

 

ZALMAY KHALILZAD (United States) said his country supported democratic transitions in many African countries –- working in particular in post-conflict situations to strengthen democratic institutions and across Africa assisting civil society organizations in combating gender-based violence, trafficking in persons, and other human rights violations.  Despite substantial improvements, enormous challenges in Africa still remained.  As everyone knew, United Nations peacekeeping was overstretched; the supply of well-equipped peacekeepers did not meet demand.  Ways must be found to use existing resources effectively and efficiently and build capacity, particularly regional capacity, to do more.  That would take time, so both short-term and longer-term solutions must be considered.

 

Offering five points, he said the Security Council should reassess how it planned for and sustained peacekeeping operations.  Those must be goal oriented, with clearly-defined missions, timelines and budgets.  Peacekeeping operations should be a means to an end, rather than a substitute for resolving conflicts or an excuse for delay.  While he understood the risks of early departure, the Council should look to terminate non-viable peacekeeping operations.  Wherever possible, the goal was to encourage self-reliance and free up forces and funds for where they were needed most -– like in Darfur, where the United Nations was collaborating with the African Union in a “historic cooperative effort” to address a dire regional crisis. 

 

Although it was much too early to judge the success of that cooperation, the early results suggested that UNAMID would not become a model to be followed in other places of shared United Nations-African Union concern, he said.  The United States continued to call for UNAMID’s immediate and full deployment, both to improve the situation on the ground and to demonstrate that the two organizations could form formidable partnerships.  The Government of the Sudan must lift all restrictions and delays to allow deployment of UNAMID troops and equipment.

 

Second, he said, the African Union must enhance its capacity to plan and execute viable peacekeeping operations, and “we should help”.  The United States was prepared to work with the African Union and other regional organizations to enhance their capacity, and it called on other countries to also step up their bilateral support.  The United Nations should prioritize its efforts to help the Union deal with its deficits in financial management and administrative capacities.  Improvements in that area would undoubtedly help donor countries feel more comfortable in giving resources to African Union missions, such as in Somalia.  Over the past two years, his country had provided more than $57 million to support AMISOM, and it continued to seek additional resources to support that critical effort.  He called on all African Union member States to send forces for that important mission and on the international community to donate generously.

 

He said that, third, the African Union member countries must increase their national peacekeeping capacity.  He detailed the United States commitment to the training of African peacekeepers.  His fourth point concerned funding for African Union peacekeeping capacities.  The United States was well aware of the shortfalls, especially in African Union peacekeeping missions, which was why it had given so much to AMISOM and the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS).  It also welcomed the exploration of realistic ways to address the financing challenges faced by regional peacekeeping missions, and it supported the panel’s establishment to seek viable alternatives, and cost-effective means of financial support, such as the creation of a trust fund or enhanced donor coordination.

 

Finally, fifth, closer United Nations-African Union cooperation, he said.  He appreciated the Secretary-General’s recommendation of enhancing the African Union’s early warning system.  Such a system would have been particularly useful in Zimbabwe.  His Government remained extremely concerned about the situation there.  The time had come for the United Nations to support the efforts of SADC through a joint mission with the African Union.  In that regard, he welcomed and supported the Secretary-General’s call for international observers.

 

MUSTAFA OSMAN ISMAIL, Special Envoy of and Advisor to the President of Sudan, said an urgent internal matter had prevented the Sudan’s President from participating in today’s meeting.  He thanked the United Nations and the positive initiative by South Africa to hold the summit.  South Africa was very qualified to put this together.  It had its own experience with overcoming apartheid.  The creation of the African Union, the African Economic and Social Council, the African Union Peace and Security Council and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) was a testament to Africa’s determination to better respond to Africa’s crises. 

 

The Sudan was determined to cooperate with the United Nations, he continued.  The provision of consistent, sustainable financing for peace and security issues was a challenge today.  He thanked the Secretary-General for his proposal to set up a joint group of the African Union and the United Nations to assess the resources needed to support peacekeeping operations undertaken by the African Union, including financial and logistical support, as well as materials on the ground.  It should also look at the possibility of setting up a specific fund for that purpose.

 

He also stressed the need to give priority to the peaceful settlement of disputes and for political settlements, in particular.  It was also essential to support regional capabilities towards peacemaking.  Effective cooperation with regional organizations, the African Union in particular, required reordering.  He stressed the importance of promoting and strengthening preventive diplomacy and the prevention of conflicts in a way that included their political, human and social aspects through a multi-stakeholder process.  However, the Council’s steps to prevent conflict were much less than its steps to send peacekeeping missions.  He stressed the importance of early warning systems.  Understanding the root causes of conflict in Africa was a key to their settlement.  Further, it was necessary to address the issue of natural disasters, desertification and drought, among other phenomena, that had stretched development efforts, therefore making internal crises explode. 

 

He said he looked forward to concrete and practical steps by the United Nations to benefit Africa.  Political settlements were necessary to begin settling Africa’s problems in an African context.  The African Union Mission in the Sudan was the ultimate example of a regional organization’s ability to have a positive impact, because the African component fully understood the values and culture of local communities.  The Sudan was very keen on supporting the African Mission, as reflected in the Abuja agreement.  The ball remained in the court of the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council to undertake efforts to convince rebels to heed reason and not the sound of guns.  He called for pressuring rebel groups living in other countries’ territories and for ending amnesty to organizations that smuggled children out of the country.  The United Nations should not fund unless it in fact controlled, he said, stressing the need to avoid double standards.  The Sudan had lived up to its commitments.  Others must do the same.

 

JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica) said that the world was better suited today to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts than even decades ago.  Unfortunately, it was also much more vulnerable to conflict, both natural and manmade, than even just a few years ago.  There was no doubt that phenomena such as climate change, food crises, water scarcity and the large migrations that would result presented a sombre view.  The lack of legitimate Government stirred resentment and conflicts over natural resources, bred terrorism and would fuel new conflicts in the future.  In the developing world, the poverty that affected one third of humanity provided fertile ground for conflict.  Today, the international community should be better prepared than ever to cope.  It had continued to evolve new instruments to deal with conflicts.  The responsibility to protect was a recent development, which had turned the absolute right of sovereignty into a much more complex scenario, namely an obligation of States to protect their citizens, and the subsequent obligations of the international community to act when States failed to do so.

 

He said that, if the root causes of conflict were not dealt with, humanitarian emergencies and peacekeeping operations would persist endlessly.  There was perhaps no better moment than now to come up with sustainable solutions.  There were also no sustainable solutions to conflicts without the sustainability of Governments and institutions.  For example, in places where populations did not recognize their Governments as legitimate, and where there was no sustainable justice, there could be no sustainable peace.  Any attempt to cover up a people’s will was not a sustainable basis on which to build sustainable peace, and in that connection, he was concerned about Zimbabwe. 

 

He underlined the need to prevent conflict by implementing a system of justice that assured societies, but also punished the perpetrators of crimes against humanity.  He hailed the International Criminal Court and celebrated the trust that many African States placed in it.  He called for respect of its authority, particularly for the arrest warrants it had issued in the Sudan.  In Somalia, it was fundamental to define responsibilities more clearly, including those entrusted to the African Union, and there should be stronger communication between the Security Council and the African Union’s Peace and Security Council.  Many lessons would be learned from UNAMID.  He reiterated his country’s commitment to strengthening the regional organizations’ mechanisms for conflict prevention, as that would have positive effects for Africa and the rest of the world.

 

RICARDO ALBERTO ARIAS ( Panama) said today’s meeting was a good opportunity to recognize regional organizations’ contribution to preventing conflict and trying to find solutions.  The continued cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations was a positive step.  Despite those successes, he expressed his concern over the difficulties in setting up UNAMID and the inability of the international community to provide the necessary resources for it.  Also, Somali officials had submitted a detailed report on the need for forces on the ground in their country, but the Security Council had not done so, thus far.  He also expressed concern over the piracy occurring off the coast of Somalia and its impact on maritime trade.  He supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to step up coordination between the African Union and the United Nations on establishing early warning systems.  It was also necessary to extend cooperation to other matters of strategic importance, such as the work of peacekeeping operations to act as a deterrent to belligerent groups.

 

It was difficult to talk about conflict prevention in Africa without referring to the political crisis in Zimbabwe, he said.  He lauded the efforts of SADC and others to resolve the crisis, but noted that the actions of the current Zimbabwe Government were alarmingly similar to those of autocratic regimes when they refused to accept the outcome of elections and yield power.  Cooperation between the United Nations and subregional organizations should seek to protect civilian populations, particularly vulnerable groups such as women and children.  He commended the work between the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and subregional groups to protect civilians and said all efforts should be driven by the principle of protecting human rights.  The Organization of American States and the United Nations had cooperated to help prevent and resolve conflicts in Latin America and the Caribbean, he said, pointing to current efforts in that regard in Haiti.  Only through dialogue, understanding and consultation could the foundations be laid for building new proposals to overcome major imbalances and problems in regions.  He called for enhancing interaction with regional organizations.

 

ALPHA OUMAR KONARE, Chairperson, Commission of the African Union, said that the problem of financing was not new, and he appreciated the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish a panel to move from words to practice.  Financing was not about extending Africa a hand; Africa knew it was responsible for its efforts, and it had not come with its hands outstretched, but rather to mobilize themselves.  It was important to acknowledge Africa’s contribution to peace throughout the world and to have confidence in Africa’s men and women.  There had been results in Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and elsewhere.  Resources needed to be mobilized rapidly, in order for Africa to put out the fires in Somalia and Darfur.  Of course, there were political problems, and efforts were being sought from all parties but, in Somalia and Darfur, significant means had been lagging.  If those means had arrived in time, more would have been achieved in the political realm. 

 

He stressed the importance of building African capacities, because the responsibility for peace was, first and foremost, Africa’s.  Building African capacity was synonymous with strengthening the new continental peace and security architecture, laying the foundation of an early warning system, enabling the quick intervention of the standby forces, and refusing no-rights zones in Africa.  It was “not normal” that the Somali coast, despite the presence of significant military bases, was still under the control of pirates, and hopefully the appeal of the Somali President would be heard.  The Secretary-General’s recommendation to establish a panel should be embraced.  The deliberations of the Peacebuilding Commission should be accelerated.  In that connection, it was important to ensure that there were not “a million conditionalities” associated with assistance granted to Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Important sums of money were needed; not a blank check, but if thousands of conditionalities were attached to programmes, countries with fragile democratic processes could wither.

 

Touching on other points, he said that public opinion needed to be informed about agreed actions.  He also stressed the importance of making full use of Chapter VIII.  The entire philosophy and culture of the United Nations should be reviewed, especially in light of the changed nature of conflicts.  Beyond intergovernmental cooperation, there were countries that wished to proceed towards shared, co-managed sovereignty, which only underscored the importance of integrating regional organizations into the United Nations architecture.  At the same time, it was vital to define the roles, build bridges and ensure coherence within the United Nations system.  Finally, the United Nations must act on the current food crisis.  The African Union had launched an appeal to African regional organizations for swift summit meetings, because the food crisis was not cyclical, but structural.  If Africa did not have a good season, “biggest of catastrophes” could emerge.  Then, there would be no “MDGs”, he warned.

 

AHMED OUYAHIA, Former Prime Minister and Personal Representative of the President of Algeria, said it was urgent to improve the capacities and strengthen the action of regional organizations, particularly in Africa.  Seeking and maintaining security in Africa was a major challenge.  He lauded the decrease in recent years of the number of conflicts in Africa and the progress made in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Burundi and in other countries.  That success should grow, thanks to collective commitments to peace.  The Secretary-General had stressed the importance of strengthening links between the African Union and the United Nations.  He lauded efforts in that regard and noted the transfer of authority at the end of 2007 of the African Mission in Sudan to the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur.  That was a major development, based on a dynamic balance.  The United Nations had supported African countries such as Burundi, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau and two of them benefited from the Peacebuilding Fund.  The African situation was characterized by the emergence from crisis.  That was the case of Western Sahara and Somalia.   However, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia had not been able to provide the necessary conditions for resolving security issues.

 

The creation of an African Union Peace and Security Council, the proposed Panel of the Wise and other regional cooperation arrangements reflected Africa’s determination to take responsibility for itself and to implement the value of reconciliation.  He expressed hope that today’s debate would, based on the principles of the United Nations Charter, give rise to new ways of doing things.  It would be very useful to adopt a more ambitious interpretation of Chapter VIII of the Charter, which could take into account local realities and favour a positive response.  He stressed the importance of exploiting the potential of the synergy between the Council and subregional organizations, which could enable the efforts necessary to achieve peace.  A peacekeeping operation, once approved by the Council, should be treated in the same way as operations led by the United Nations, particularly in terms of funding.  Funding must be institutionalized, to move beyond the ad hoc approach.  Funding mechanisms that were coordinated must be considered.  Efforts by the African Union to create African-led missions, assisted by the Security Council and funded by Member States within the context of Chapter VIII, should be agreed to as soon as possible.  That would make it possible to overcome funding problems.  He also supported the proposal of the United Republic of Tanzania, on behalf of the African Union.

 

LAURE OLGA GONDJOUT, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, Francophonie and Regional Integration of Gabon, speaking on behalf of the President of Gabon, said that, while there was reason to be pleased with recent developments, particularly in Africa, a great deal remained to be done to give that cooperation more “solid content”.  Africa had shown the will and capability to mobilize for the settlement of crises and conflicts that threatened collective security, such as in Burundi, Darfur and Somalia.  In central Africa, Gabon’s President, together with his partners in the subregion, was searching for solutions and had had consultative and inclusive dialogue to stabilize the situation, both politically and economically.  He had also been active in the deployment of the multinational force in Central Africa and Chad, where Gabon was working towards inclusive dialogue with the various stakeholders.  In addition, a border surveillance force was being developed between Chad and the Sudan.

 

Sadly, however, all those initiatives faced insufficient resources, particularly for financing to enhance human and institutional capacity-building for peacebuilding.  Soon, however, the Secretary-General would establish a panel to explore ways to secure stable funds for peace operations with regional organizations.  Capacity-building for preventive diplomacy was another area of concern.  That had been addressed in resolution 1625 (2005) and, in that context, joint mediation and good offices missions could help mitigate festering crises and conflicts.  Gabon launched a strong appeal to the international community for assistance to developing countries facing increases in food prices, the consequences of which could lead to lasting crises.  She hoped the resolution resulting from today’s debate would strengthen the framework of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.

 

ZAINAB HAWA BANGURA, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone, said Sierra Leone was testimony to the importance of a regional approach to conflict resolution and prevention.  The contribution made by ECOWAS to the Government’s efforts at national reconstruction — as recognized by the Council itself in resolution 1181 (1998) — demonstrated the importance of such partnerships.  As a consequence, there had been commendable progress in addressing cross-border issues, such as the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons; transnational organized crime and terrorism; protection of civilians in armed conflicts; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes; the prevention of illegal exploitation of precious minerals and other natural resources; reform of the security sector; and the strengthening of the rule of law within the subregion.

 

She said it was urgent that national, regional and international efforts be harmonized to help develop Africa’s own capacities to address the root causes of conflict and to resolve them.  Already, efforts by the African Union and subregional organizations such as ECOWAS in places like Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire and Darfur, demonstrated Africa’s willingness to take responsibility for security and stability on the continent.  There was a particular need to support countries emerging from conflict, which were often fragile and reeled under the weight of poverty.  She voiced trust that the call for a close collaboration between the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission and the African Union Multidimensional Standing Committee could be strengthened through regular consultation.

She noted that, if Member States were to invest heavily in preventive diplomacy, the resources spent on intervention and peacekeeping operations could be reduced significantly.  To help accomplish that goal, the United Nations should collaborate with the African Union, among others, to strengthen the continental early warning system; its response capacity through the African Standby Force; and its enhanced mediation capacity, including through the Panel of the Wise.

 

She outlined ways in which the international community could provide support, including by helping to replenish the African Union Peace Fund and to ensure predictable financing of African Union peacekeeping troops.  It could also assist African Union members that had signed the United Nations Standby Agreement Systems Memorandum of Understanding to garner the required equipment and logistical capabilities to speed or step up troop deployment.  Meanwhile, proposals from the Group of Eight to provide support for African peacekeeping were to be welcomed, while Member States affected by conflict had an obligation to provide the environment required for partnerships to pursue peace and security in Africa.  Strengthening cooperation with NEPAD to ensure food security was also called for.

 

MAJOZI SITHOLE, Minister of Finance of Swaziland, welcomed the Secretary-General’s report on the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations, in particular the African Union, in the maintenance of international peace and security.  The experience in the last few years showed that regional organizations played a big role, in that regard.  While it was the primary responsibility of the Security Council to maintain international peace and security, the Council could not carry out that mandate in isolation.  Better cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations was necessary.   Close cooperation between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council could significantly help resolve conflicts in Africa.  The problems were daunting.  In many cases, the African Union had to deploy its own missions, because the United Nations was not able to deploy peacekeeping missions.  The frustration of the African Union was due to the lack of resources to operationalize its initiatives.  A mechanism was needed to provide funding for long-term planning of peacekeeping missions.

 

He supported the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish a high-level panel to analyse the situation and come up with appropriate modalities.  That would not just be an academic exercise only.  He welcomed the progress in operationalizing the peace architecture of the African Union.  The importance of strengthening relations between the United Nations and the African Union could not be overemphasized.  He also stressed the importance of keeping an eye on food price increases, as they had the potential to cause upheavals in Africa.

 

DIEUDONNE KOMBO-YAYA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Central African Republic, said that the African security architecture had been the outcome of the commitment of Heads of State and Government to ensure peace and security in the continent.  The relevant provisions of the United Nations Charter and the founding act of the African Union were clear, and he welcomed the active cooperation between the two organizations in the peacekeeping sphere, of which there were many examples.  He emphasized the need to strengthen the capacity-building of subregional organizations with conflict settlement mechanisms, as those worked at the grass-roots level and had a central role to play.  He welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to set up the panel to search for ways to support peace operations conducted by subregional organizations.  He also congratulated the Secretary-General for setting up a regional office in the Great Lakes region.

 

Noting that his country was emerging from two decades of conflict, he said that any efforts aimed at consolidating peace should take account of the extreme poverty, hunger and precarious health situation, all of which were fertile soil for instability.  The draft resolution before the Security Council today opened up new possibilities for the continent.

 

OJO MADUEKWE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, said the functional relationship being sought between the United Nations and the African Union were rooted in Chapter VIII of the Charter and the Constitutive Act of the African Union.  Both documents paid heed to the distinctive qualities of each organization.  Regional organizations such as the African Union, for instance, had insider knowledge regarding local conditions and were uniquely placed to tackle threats to regional peace and security.  Nigeria recognized the complementarities between different regional organizations, viewing them as critical to global efforts to preserve peace and security in Africa — a place often described as the breeding ground of conflict.

 

He said Nigeria’s experience in the deployment of the ECOWAS ceasefire monitoring group in West Africa had brought to the fore some legal issues.  At what point was prior authorization of the United Nations Security Council or the African Union Peace and Security Council required?  Given the urgency of such interventions, should endorsement by the Security Council post facto be sufficient?  There was a need to strike a balance on such legal issues in a manner that upheld both the provisions of the United Nations Charter and the Constitutive Act of the African Union.

 

Turning to specific examples of cooperation between the United Nations and Africa, he said the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on the Sudan had resulted in closer collaboration between the Secretariats of the two institutions.  However, that partnership needed broadening and strengthening.  As for UNAMID, there was a need to develop a robust structure; Nigeria called for support for the African Union Peace and Security Council, continental early-warning system, Panel of the Wise, the African Standby Force and the Special Fund.  A robust Special Fund would enable Africa to overcome the problem of sustaining peacekeeping operations.  Among other things, he said an enhanced United Nations-African Union relationship should lead to an early conception and deployment of a hybrid force in Somalia.  He also called for the implementation of the framework for the 10-year capacity-building programme for the African Union, and the use of the African Union draft framework for post-conflict reconstruction and development to complement the activities of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission.

 

RONNIE SHIKAPWASHA, Minister of Home Affairs and Special Envoy of Zambia, noted the international community’s confidence in Africa’s leadership in conflict resolution, particularly in the continent.  South Africa, in many ways, had enhanced Africa’s initiative in mitigating long-standing conflicts, and the convening of today’s meeting was relevant to finding solutions to the still-raging conflicts.  The world was seeking Africa’s greater responsibility — even in light of the Security Council’s central role in the maintenance of peace and security — because the evolution and management of conflicts had created new responsibilities for Africa and the African Union.  In turn, Africa’s willingness to find solutions had increased; however, the continent continued to suffer from funding gaps.

He highlighted the need, therefore, to develop a mechanism with the United Nations system for predictable and sustainable resources to fund peacekeeping operations, especially to finance equipment and logistics.  Zambia supported amendment of the United Nations rules concerning peacekeeping budgets to finance peacekeeping operations authorized by the Security Council.  Zambia recommended that such operations be funded through United Nations assessed contributions.  An in-depth analysis of current financial outlays to peacekeeping missions should also be made.  While financial resources were paramount, Zambia also supported cooperation mechanisms, coherent strategies and policies to protect civilians in armed conflict, and early-warning systems.

 

CHEIKH TIDIANE GADIO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Senegal, said cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union was important to solving Africa’s problems.  Chapter VIII of the Charter set out clearly the modalities needed.  Africa contributed almost 35 of the contingents and hosted almost half of the peacekeeping operations.  He pointed to the possibility of funding operations by contributions from Member States.  That showed the determination of African leaders to take responsibility for conflicts once they broke out and when it was not possible for the United Nations to do so quickly.  Africa did not always have the necessary financing to face up to that burden.  The example of Darfur also raised the question of how to find a balance in order to take action to stop the atrocities.  The principle of African solutions to African problems was important, but that should not add a new burden to the African people’s suffering.

 

The delicate issue of funding was raised during operations in Burundi, Somalia and Darfur and should be raised in-depth so that solutions could be found, he said.  The same concerns existed with implementing the Dakar accord between Chad and the Sudan and in monitoring their joint border.  Senegal strongly supported the proposal in paragraph 76 of the Secretary-General’s 24 March report on United Nations relations with other regional organizations, particularly the African Union.  He stressed the importance of reinforcing capacity in Africa and of training and managing operations for civilians and the police.  The African Union should have the means to be better aware of conflicts and make better use of preventive diplomacy and strategies to address conflicts.  Concerning the situations in Zimbabwe and Kenya, Africans had once again answered with a deafening silence.  Conflicts that were still dormant could not be settled except through good offices.

 

ROSEMARY MUSEMINALI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Rwanda, stressed the need to direct efforts to address the effectiveness and efficiency in both the United Nations and the African Union in conflict areas.  The African Union member countries had shouldered their responsibility, showing goodwill and a readiness to actively engage in peacebuilding, mainly in Africa, but also in other parts of the world.  The Security Council should be realistic, as well as both timely and predictable in the provision of adequate resources to accomplish its mandated missions.  Timeliness in the African response had been hampered by insufficient resources, as member countries of the African Union were incapable of raising sizeable funds for peacekeeping.  The United Nations, therefore, should agree to effectively maintain its central role of sustaining those peacekeeping forces in the conflict areas, by equipping them well and making available the necessary logistics for their effective performance.

 

She said that today’s meeting was an opportunity to forge a greater mutual partnership by putting in place a joint team to work on practical issues that had hampered past effectiveness.  She was grateful for the draft resolution on the table.  The greater participation of regional organizations in conflict resolution should be increasingly tapped, given that those groups had closer proximity to conflict areas and a deeper appreciation for the political and cultural issues.  She proposed several measures, among them that the African Union peace and security measures taken to resolve conflict should be considered pivotal and receive the Security Council’s support.  In addition, the United Nations should work on more predictable funding, and consider doing so through Member States’ assessed contributions.  Whenever regional organizations undertook peace and security roles, the United Nations should work out ways to immediately prepare light and heavy support packages to ease the transition from regional organization operations to United Nations-led missions to avoid costly delays, such as the ones that had plagued Somalia and Darfur.  The AMIS force, for example, would have been able to achieve so much more, with greater support.

 

Rwanda was committed to a working partnership with the United Nations to spread peace and security because it had tasted peace and security and knew what it meant for a country and a region to lack both.  It welcomed the recent adoption of resolution 1804 (2008), which aimed to address threats, not only to Rwanda, but to the entire Great Lakes region.  The painful experience in her country had taught that peace came at a huge price, and there could be no peace without reconciliation and the recognition of the rights and interests of all people.


 


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