The situation in Africa Progress report on the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (S/1999/1008)
|President:||Mr. van Walsum
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Shen Guofang
|Mr. Teixeira da Silva
|Mr. Mohammad Kamal
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, His Excellency Mr. Domingo L. Siazon, Jr. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
First of all, allow me to commend you, Sir, and your country in particular for your commitment to peace and sustainable development in Africa.
I appreciate the candidness with which the Secretary-General has reported on Africa. His reports have held nothing back. His are reports that call on all of us to give our all in turn.
The Philippines shares with Africa similar colonial pasts, the diversities of our people, the mistakes of our leaders and the manipulations of world Powers. I do not seek to oversimplify the problems of Africa by creating analogies. Rather, I would like to emphasize the commitment of my country, though distant and facing its own challenges, to joining all others in working towards a durable peace and for sustainable development in Africa.
The Philippines commends the decision by the Foreign Ministers of the members of the Security Council on 25 September 1997 to consider the need for a concerted international effort in promoting peace and security in Africa. We are also pleased to note that the Security Council has pursued appropriate action with respect to the recommendations of the Secretary-General in document A/52/871 on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa.
Efforts aimed at preventing armed conflicts must continue to be directed towards those parts of Africa where the potential for conflict remains high. At the same time, the international community must accord the fullest support to Security Council resolutions 1196 (1998) and 1197 (1998) aimed at strengthening both the effectiveness of arms embargoes on conflict areas and the peacekeeping capacity of the African countries themselves. These are steps in the right direction. These initiatives have had some success, but more must be done.
We must be prepared to establish legal regimes that will penalize — through sanctions, for example — those who continue to transfer arms into conflict areas in Africa in excess of the legitimate defence needs of African countries. We have to put all our creative energies to work to stop the flow of small arms. Often, the illicit small arms trade and its flow of finances and profits are facilitated by bribery and corruption. We must be ready to resort to every means, to take every measure to stop the flow of small arms and the profane profits from its trade. Initiatives similar to that taken by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to reduce the scope for corruption in aid-funded procurement should be seriously considered and applied to the illicit trade in small arms.
I believe that the Security Council itself should consider these measures. The international conference on small arms and lights weapons scheduled for 2001 must also consider these approaches as possible measures to prevent the proliferation of small arms.
Stopping the proliferation of arms will have the greatest chance of success if accompanied by confidence-building initiatives. The United Nations should pursue a strategy that brings into focus all interrelated elements, encouraging concerned African countries to place at centre stage the commonality of their interests for a stable and prosperous Africa.
Principal regional actors must be involved in measures being contemplated for action as well as in the actual implementation of the measures themselves. In this regard, we fully agree with what the Secretary-General has said: that where a peace process is needed, it is the role of the United Nations, with the Organization of African Unity (OAU), to help create one. The role of the OAU and regional bodies in Africa, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), in the resolution of the conflicts in Africa and its development and prosperity cannot be overemphasized.
Providing assistance to the victims of conflict is a moral imperative, and must be pursued as a complement to measures aimed at conflict resolution. While humanitarian assistance is an immediate response, it is at the same time a necessary step towards full recovery, rehabilitation and development. Humanitarian aid should not only be devoid of any semblance of politics, but must also, as much as possible, lay the initial but firm foundation for post-conflict growth.
Another critical component is the strengthening of economic foundations for sustainable development of the African countries. The mobilization of adequate resources for development is essential. Many African countries continue to rely substantially on official development assistance for development financing. There should be no disruption of or reduction in the provision of such external financial resources to the countries in Africa. I agree completely with the Secretary-General when he said that the dramatic cuts in assistance to Africa in recent years have hurt rather than helped Africa’s efforts to implement the difficult economic and political reforms which are now under way across the continent.
The challenges in Africa are challenges to all of us in the international community. But the people of Africa should be the first to resolutely respond to these challenges.
Good governance is a key foundation for building an enduring peace and promoting progress in Africa. Good governance should be the only element in considering the political legitimacy of rulers among the governed. Good governance must be based on the important principles of democracy, freedom and the rule of law.
I have worked with many Africans and I have seen their dedication and commitment to the peace and development of their continent. I knew that the African people were ready to take their future decisively into their hands. With this in mind, when I was Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) from 1985 to 1993, I supported a special programme for the industrial development of Africa and I made sure that the programme recognized the important role of the African people themselves.
As part of this programme, next month, in cooperation with the Organization of African Unity, the Economic Commission for Africa, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the African Development Bank, UNIDO will gather African leaders and business groups in Dakar, Senegal, to meet with Government and private sector representatives of investor nations. It is hoped that this meeting will further strengthen the basis for viable industrial partnerships and investments in Africa.
For democracy and good governance to succeed, it is important for the international community and the United Nations to provide adequate development resources to Africa. We must reinvigorate all the development initiatives in favour of African countries, such the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa, among others.
The United Nations family of agencies should intensify its activities for Africa. I commend, among others, the UNDP regional initiative, “Enterprise Africa”, for facilitating and coordinating support for small- and medium-scale enterprises; the International Labour Organization’s employment-generating opportunities in many parts of the continent; the assistance of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the International Trade Centre in the trade sector; UNIDO’s assistance on cleaner production centres in Tanzania and Zimbabwe; and UNIDO’s Alliance for Africa’s Industrialization.
While the majority of Africans now live under democratic systems, much more needs to be done to ensure that democracy continues to thrive and grow. Democratic nations in the world can show the way by taking initiatives that will prime Africa’s economy. I commend the initiatives before the United States Congress to pass the African trade bill, which will provide Africa with privileges similar to those contained in the Caribbean Basin Initiative. Crucial votes will be taken in the United States Senate next month on this bill, and I hope that much of what we do and say here today will somehow serve to encourage the eventual passing of the African trade bill into law.
It is likewise important that the international community find a resolution of Africa’s unsustainable external debt burden. The Secretary-General has noted that any significant move to lift Africa’s crippling debt burden will require concerted political action at the highest levels.
The international community has shown a willingness to address this issue. In particular, I hope that the Cologne initiative will translate itself into concrete action that provides a durable solution to the debt problem of highly indebted developing countries.
Any international action must, however, take into consideration the OAU’s framework for action on debt, which called for an international agreement to clear the entire debt stock for the poorest countries in Africa within a reasonably short period of time and in the context of Africa’s overall economic reforms.
As individual States, we must encourage stability and development in Africa by engaging them as fellow members of the community of nations.
On our part, the Philippines has heightened its engagement in Africa. We continue to maintain our presence through diplomatic posts, and we have continued to establish and formalize relations with more countries in Africa. We hope that in strengthening our relations we will not only encourage mutual growth, but will also share our democratic and liberal traditions. The Philippines has been at the forefront of the movement of new and restored democracies. We know at first hand how difficult it is to move forward when much of the past holds us down.
We know, however, that together new and restored democracies can achieve much. Our movement must now strengthen its engagement in Africa. The Philippines will do all it can to see this through.
I thank the Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines for his kind words addressed to my country.
The next speaker is the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Rwanda, His Excellency Mr. Augustin Iyamuremye. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Allow me, Mr. President, on behalf of my delegation, to commend you and through you pay a tribute to your country, the Netherlands, for the attention you are giving our continent. We in Rwanda can testify to the enormous assistance your country gave Rwanda to help it emerge from genocide. Other evidence is this meeting of the Council, which your country convened.
I also congratulate the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the excellent, very comprehensive report he has submitted.
In addition, I pay tribute to the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Mr. Salim Ahmed Salim, for his statement yesterday.
I am delighted to be able on behalf of my country to give the Council a brief survey of the progress we have made so far and to ask the international community to support our efforts to establish lasting peace and give decisive momentum to the sustainable development of our country.
What is the situation in Rwanda regarding security and peace? I am proud to tell the Security Council that our country has overcome two major problems affecting its security: genocide has ended, and almost 3 million refugees have returned, with the assistance of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross. We are extremely grateful to all the friendly countries that have displayed solidarity towards our country.
I take this opportunity to inform the international community that peace and security now reign throughout Rwanda. Nonetheless, the forces of genocide, the Interhamwe militia and the former armed forces, are more active than ever. They are heavily armed by their allies and directed by former politicians and high-ranking officers of the EX-FAR, all adherents of an ideology of genocide. These forces of evil have only one objective — acknowledged and known to all: to complete the genocide in Rwanda, establish it throughout the subregion and exterminate all those who do not share their ideology.
In the past, we have on many occasions referred to the existence of this ideology. We have repeatedly put forward the facts, but the international community has not listened to us. Once again today we inform the international community that those same forces of evil are hovering around Rwanda at this very moment, ready to resume their odious work of extermination and destabilization in the Great Lakes region.
I urgently appeal to the Security Council to see that the Ceasefire Agreement signed in Lusaka is strictly respected by all the parties concerned. That Agreement has as its backbone two important clauses. One relates to the inter-Congolese political negotiations on a new political order in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the other relates to tracking down and disarming the armed groups, including the militias that have been integrated into the army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda will be vigilant with regard to implementation of that Agreement, and we hope the international community will help us. The Lusaka Agreement brings peace; its failure would have disastrous implications.
May I quote a clause from that Agreement, as a reminder of what the heads of State and Government and the other signatories expect of the United Nations:
“The United Nations Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and in
collaboration with the OAU shall be requested to constitute, facilitate and deploy an appropriate peacekeeping force in the DRC to ensure implementation of this Agreement; and taking into account the peculiar situation of the DRC, mandate the peacekeeping force to track down all armed groups in the DRC. In this respect, the UN Security Council shall provide the requisite mandate for the peacekeeping force.” (S/1999/815, annex, para. 11.a)
As far as my country is concerned, “armed groups” mean, inter alia, the genocidal forces and the Interhamwe militia.
How is Rwanda handling such a delicate and tragic situation, in which victims live side by side with the executioners? The people of Rwanda have learned very quickly to live together again, as they used to, in spite of the fresh memory of genocide. This is explained basically by the determination of the new political leaders and others responsible at all levels to advocate mutual tolerance, reconciliation and respect for others. Our slogan is: “No one has the right to take justice into his own hands. There is no place for impunity in Rwanda. Never again.”
Those who are familiar with the history of Rwanda, dating back several centuries, know that the three components of the Rwandan population have always lived together in peace and harmony, sharing the same beliefs, the same language, the same practices and customs, living side by side on the same hillsides, intermarrying — in short, a people with the same culture. Instead of strengthening that valuable asset, colonialism contributed to the disintegration of our society and institutionalized ethnic divisions.
In the past the idea of genocide had never occurred to any of the three components of our population. We are saying this not to dredge up the past, but, rather, to emphasize that Rwanda is in the process of rebuilding its social fabric, of being reborn from its own ashes, thanks to the good leadership it now has and the help of the international community. Considerable progress has been made towards reconciliation and national unity. In this context, a Commission on Unity and National Reconciliation has been established and is already operating.
My country has also made significant progress in many other areas, such as justice, the social sphere, human rights, the status of women, democracy, the economy and development.
As for our presence in the Congo, I would like, in conclusion, to tell the Security Council about the causes of conflict in our subregion. The only cause of the destabilization of the countries of the Great Lakes region is very well known and is completely recognized by the heads of State and Government of the countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Great Lakes. The Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement recognizes unequivocally that the various militias, including the Interhamwe and the EX-FAR, which advocate and practise the ideology of genocide, are the source of the insecurity throughout the region. The best action the international community can take is to contribute to the complete implementation of that Agreement.
The international community knows that if it does not contribute energetically to the fight against the ideology of genocide in the subregion, and against the intellectual revisionism looming on the horizon that would downplay the genocide in Rwanda, the peace and security of the entire region will be jeopardized. Rwanda therefore once again calls to the attention of the international community the need for, and relevance of, implementation of that Lusaka Agreement.
I thank the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Rwanda for his kind words addressed to my country.
The next speaker is the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania, His Excellency the Honourable Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
My delegation welcomes the opportunity to address the Security Council on a matter of vital concern to Africa. Tanzania regards it as a special honour, Sir, to have had your Prime Minister lead our discussions yesterday.
His presence served to underline the interest and commitment of your country to the development of Africa. It should, hopefully, also serve to re-energize our collective commitment to the pursuit of peace, stability and development for Africa. We also want to commend the Secretary-General for his current progress report on the implementation of the earlier report on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa.
An opportunity to take stock of developments that have taken place since the Secretary-General issued his earlier report in 1998 is timely and urgent. Today Africa continues to face a host of challenges. But the greatest of these remains the preservation of peace and stability and the pursuit of human-centred economic development, targeting in particular the imperative of eradicating poverty.
Notwithstanding the odds, Africa has not succumbed to its fate. Lately African leaders have increasingly taken the lead in dealing with the development question and conflicts. Under the umbrella of the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), subregional groupings have established their respective mechanisms for conflict prevention, management and resolution. While this is not meant to absolve the United Nations — and, more important, the Security Council — of its responsibility for international peace and security, it is a growing recognition of the fact that Africa has to bear some responsibility for finding solutions to African problems.
It is in this regard that the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement of 10 July 1999 on the Democratic Republic of the Congo — brokered by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) — was concluded. In the same vein, our collective support is required if the people of the Congo and its neighbours are to obtain enduring peace, security and stability. The continued support of the Council is therefore not only expected, but critical. We therefore commend the commitment of the Council to support the process by providing a peacekeeping force as envisaged under the Lusaka Agreement. It is vital that the momentum of cooperation with, and support for, the sub-region and the parties involved in the conflict be sustained in order to avert the collapse of the process.
Now that we have secured the concurrence of all parties, as embodied in the Agreement, the Council must move with speed to deploy the monitors, observers and peacekeepers. We recognize that some internal arrangements on the implementation modalities remain to be finalized. This, however, need not — and, indeed, must not — stand in the way of the United Nations fulfilling its role. These matters will be worked out as we proceed in the implementation phase, which will require substantial resource outlay. We urge the Council to provide the requisite financial support, and we hope that it will.
Last week, in his address to the General Assembly, my President, His Excellency Mr. Benjamin W. Mkapa, noted that the Burundi peace process, initiated by the region and now being pursued with the facilitation of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, was proceeding well in Arusha. He also expressed the hope that the coming round of talks to start on 1 November would resolve some of the sticky issues so that a peace agreement could be reached and implemented as soon as possible. I reiterate my President’s appeal to the international community to continue to urge the full participation of all the key players in the peace process. This is a call we continue to make even to the Council.
In Angola, what was once a promising peace process has collapsed. Jonas Savimbi has defied not only the will of the Angolan people, but that of the international community as a whole and of this Council in particular. In the meantime, innocent civilians, mostly women and children, continue to die and suffer as a result of the intransigence of one person. The humanitarian tragedy in Angola requires getting serious with Savimbi and his clique. Why, and for how long, will Savimbi be allowed to defy the world, and in particular the Council? We appeal to the Security Council and the international community as a whole to assist in bringing his intransigence to an end. As a result of his atrocities, Africa has condemned Savimbi as a war criminal. The Council should do likewise and resolve to take specific measures to bring him to account for his actions and his continued intransigence. It is indeed an affront to the United Nations, and the Council in particular.
Elsewhere, the Organization of African Unity has played a very critical role in the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Even as we continue to urge the parties to exercise restraint and implement the OAU peace plan, it is our hope that the OAU framework agreement will be a catalyst for durable peace between the two sisterly States. Likewise, the roles played by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the peace process in Sierra Leone and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the conflict in Somalia are to be welcomed, as we welcome a breakthrough in the long-standing Lockerbie crisis, which has brought so much hurt and suffering to the people of Libya. We commend the flexibility of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, France, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the facilitative role of the then President of South Africa, Mr. Nelson Mandela. We therefore hope that the Security Council will consider the appeal by the OAU for the lifting of sanctions against Libya.
While Africa has put effort and resources into peacemaking, it has been demonstrably clear that it faces a serious challenge regarding its peacekeeping capability. Undoubtedly, therefore, Africa requires far more concrete support in building its capacity to enable it to play a more meaningful role in the prevention of conflicts and, where necessary, peacekeeping. We would like to underscore the need for the Security Council to look into better ways and modalities of working with and supporting African regional initiatives. Experience has demonstrated that existing support mechanisms, such as the trust funds and the standby arrangements, are inadequate and increasingly ineffective. The Council should therefore seriously look into how better, efficient and more resourced arrangements can be worked out. Such arrangements should also permit broader participation, especially of the African countries and peoples.
It would appear that African conflicts have created a ready market for arms merchants. More than that, it is also clear that the intensity of these conflicts would have been restrained if the flow of arms were more restricted. These arms have ravaged countries and peoples. They have usurped resources to breed death, pain and suffering instead of prosperity. Innocent civilians continue to suffer because of this immoral trade, which has wrought nothing but anarchy and instability. We must condemn the arms merchants, as we do those who sustain war in Africa.
The relationship between conflict situations and refugees is painfully obvious to Tanzania. The predominance of conflicts in Africa, according to the January 1999 report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, has generated 7.2 million refugees. This figure does not include millions of internally displaced persons. This is a sad human tragedy. Tanzania is currently hosting at least 890,000 refugees. This number includes those hosted by the UNHCR in the camps, those taken care of in refugee settlements and those being hosted by the local population. This is an enormous burden on a poor country like mine in economic, social, political and environmental terms. It is especially so as we struggle to cope with this daunting task while weighed down by a colossal debt burden and important debt challenges.
Even in the face of such monumental challenges, we continue to patiently carry the burden of refugees, with its far-reaching consequences on the host local communities. While we have never refused entry and refuge to anyone running to save his or her life, and have not negotiated refugee quotas for those that seek refuge in our country, our people are becoming increasingly concerned about the inordinate burden we shoulder. We, however, continue to take them in, not because they are Africans, but as a humanitarian gesture, in the African way, and we also take them in as our international obligation.
But we are also becoming concerned that we cannot sustain the sacrifice we have been making without increased international support. I should here again reiterate the appeal made by my President for greater support for the efforts and resources expended by our Government, as well as for UNHCR and other relief agencies working in Tanzania.
Tanzania is very conscious that while refugees are a product of conflict, they are also often potential causes of a vicious cycle of conflict. We have at times learned in dismay of charges about our country being a hotbed of elements within refugee camps bent on overthrowing authorities in their mother country: a case of abused hospitality.
The refugee aspect is important, because it is our belief that the problem has not obtained sufficient attention as a humanitarian problem, at least not in Africa. And yet this remains a problem with a severe destabilizing effect, both internally for the host country and in the region as a contributing factor to conflicts in the continent. We cannot afford to pick and choose those to whom we should render assistance. The legitimacy of our collective effort rests in our shared faith in the dignity and worth of the human person.
While there is no denying that only good governance, human rights and genuine democracy can stem the haemorrhage of citizens from one’s country, with its attendant problems, support for the necessary structures of governance and the rule of law continue to be an important factor for success, peace and stability. But it also needs to be underscored that Africa is not, and must not be seen to be, inherently unstable and riven by conflict. The Secretary-General notes in the current progress report that good governance, accountability, transparency and the rule of law are gaining ground in each region of Africa. We fully agree with his view expressed in paragraph 97 of the report (S/1999/1008) that
“What the outside world may not have noticed is that much of what it has been calling for is now happening.”
Africa does not need more exhortations. It needs support in strengthening its structures of governance and the rule of law. What it needs is more concrete resources to enable it to pursue meaningfully the course of action it has chosen for itself.
In his report on the causes of conflict in Africa, the Secretary-General quite rightly identified poverty as a source of conflict. It is no coincidence that most of the conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa are confined to countries with a high illiteracy rate and a per capita income of no more than $260. It is important that as we devise strategies to assist Africa overcome its present difficulties we should be mindful of its debt burden as one of the obstacles to poverty alleviation. While we welcome the various debt relief initiatives undertaken by the donor community, far-reaching measures need to be taken if an impact on poverty is to be made.
The importance of addressing poverty eradication as a part of the strategy to prevent conflicts is obvious to all of us. Needless to say, a lot of effort is being made in our own countries as a contribution to this endeavour. This has ranged from specific measures designed to increase domestic resources earmarked for development to the empowerment of our people and communities to participate in designing and managing programmes for sustainable development. The pursuit of this endeavour has often been taken at great political risk, but it is taken in the belief that creating favourable domestic conditions to spur investment and development is primarily our own responsibility.
Our hope is, however, that the conducive material conditions we create locally will be a catalyst to spur investment and assistance that will, in the long run, render that assistance unnecessary. This should also help generate economies in Africa that will act as models for conflict-prone regions. But Africa cannot undertake this Herculean task unaided. We recognize with magnanimity the best intentions made here and in other well-meaning forums. It has often, however, been noted that the best of intentions and goodwill have to be matched with the provision of adequate resources for an effective fight against poverty in the continent. The Secretary-General rightly observes, in paragraph 104 of his report, that
“More decisive action on debt is an urgent requirement.”
This is the challenge we face.
In conclusion, Tanzania welcomes concerns about Africa at the level of the Security Council. It is our hope that this present dialogue will live up to the expectations it is generating. We also believe Africa is bound to turn around, and that the prosperity of Africa will create opportunity not only for Africa, but for the international community at large. Most of us are today labouring hard to heal ethnic divisions, care for refugees, build a civil society and establish structures for genuine democracy. Most of our leaders and peoples now understand that the future of our countries depends on trade, science and technology. Many are labouring to ensure good governance and transparency and to introduce structural reforms. Progress towards this end may not come as swiftly as we may wish, but we owe it to Africa and the humanity we all share to assist as much as we can.
This is Africa’s hour of need. The help rendered to Africa would be a credible investment for all of us. Africa has great promise as well as potential. Dismissing this promise and potential is to act to the detriment not only of Africa, but also of the international community.
I thank the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania for his kind words addressed to my country.
I should like to inform the Council that I have received a letter from the representative of Jamaica in which he requests to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite that representative to participate in the discussion, without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
The next speaker is the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Togo, His Excellency Mr. Joseph Kokou Koffigoh. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
It is a great honour for me to speak before the Security Council as it once again considers the situation in Africa, in the light of the report on the state of that continent introduced yesterday morning by the Secretary-General.
Allow me first to congratulate you most warmly, Mr. President, on the most outstanding way in which your country, the Netherlands, has been handling the presidency of the Council at this particularly busy time.
I likewise pay special tribute to the Secretary-General for his progress report, which tells of the steps that have been taken in the course of a little over a year. This exercise once again illustrates his ongoing interest in Africa, which is unfortunately still grappling with all kinds of difficulties.
In his first report (S/1998/318) on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa the Secretary-General set out the great problems confronting our continent and the fundamental principles that should provide a basis for resolving them.
He called on African States to take the steps needed to bring about democracy and the rule of law and to enter into reforms to promote good governance and good management of public affairs. He also urged the international community to cooperate with regional and subregional organizations by supporting their initiatives on the maintenance and consolidation of peace.
After the report was issued, the Security Council undertook an in-depth analysis of the recommendations contained in it, inter alia with the assistance of a working group set up for that purpose. That process led to some soul-searching about various problems and to major statements of commitment on the part of members of the Council. Thus we welcomed the Council’s backing of regional and subregional initiatives and its strong support for strengthening the ability of African States to combat illicit flows of small arms and light weapons into and within Africa.
In the presidential statement issued following its ministerial meeting of 24 September 1998, the Council called on all Member States and organizations concerned to provide the necessary financial and technical support so as to strengthen existing African regional and subregional arrangements for conflict prevention, the maintenance of peace and security, and the settlement of disputes.
In addition, the Council advocated strengthening the partnerships between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations. As one can see, the process that is now under way is an encouraging one and offers some grounds for optimism. It is to be hoped that it will lead to concrete steps that will enable Africa resolutely to set forth on the road to progress and development.
In this connection, we should remember that under the provisions of its resolution 1170 (1998), the Security Council was to assess the progress made in the promotion of peace and security in Africa only next year. The recent progress report of the Secretary-General and the convening under your presidency, Sir, of this meeting, is proof of the heightened awareness of our continent, Africa, and we would express our appreciation.
Much has been said since yesterday about African States, so I would like simply to pay tribute to the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity and to its Chairman, through his representative, who spoke yesterday on his behalf, as well as to the other representatives who fully assessed the situation and proposed solutions in support of initiatives currently under way.
In many parts of Africa, democratic elections are gradually becoming the rule, not the exception. Good governance, transparency and a state based on the rule of law are now slowly but surely becoming established in all parts of our continent. African conflict-settlement mechanisms have also developed significantly in the last few years.
Here I would mention the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), since more authoritative voices than mine spoke yesterday about the continent as a whole. ECOWAS, for its part, is striving to strengthen its Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, whose establishment was a major milestone in the strengthening of West Africa’s capacities for preventive diplomacy and the re-establishment and maintenance of peace.
The ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) enabled ECOWAS to cope — with varying degrees of success, admittedly, but nevertheless fairly effectively — with the crisis situations in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau.
Let me take this opportunity to express once again the appreciation of the current Chairman of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS — the President of my country, Mr. Gnassingbé Eyadema — for the sustained attention given by the Security Council to the preservation of peace and security in our subregion.
Managing post-conflict situations is another matter that we should focus on, because often the post-war period has not been managed adequately in Africa. In many cases, parties to a conflict have stockpiled large reserves of weapons, which are often distributed in an uncontrolled manner and can thus contribute to the resumption of hostilities.
It is therefore imperative that the international community, on the basis of the relevant recommendations of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, support the countries concerned in carrying out their programmes for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. It should also respond immediately to their long-term needs in the areas of reconstruction and recovery.
In this connection, I welcome the proposal by the Secretary-General in his recent report on Sierra Leone to establish a United Nations force in that country, pursuant to the Lomé Peace Agreement. I believe that the Security Council will authorize the prompt deployment of that force, which, in accordance with the mandate to be given it, will help the Sierra Leonean Government to implement the plan for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.
Let me recall that a delay in the deployment of troops had significant repercussions on the development of the situation last May in Guinea-Bissau. We strongly hope that, having learned from that experience, and with the commitments just made to strengthen, with the support of the Security Council, the peacekeeping force in Sierra Leone, the deployment will take place in that country as soon as possible.
Guinea-Bissau had been expecting at least 1,500 troops. With France’s help, 600 men were deployed, but with tensions high the poorly equipped troops were not, unfortunately, able to do anything when the situation deteriorated. There is no doubt, therefore, that the initiative currently under way with respect to Sierra Leone will help to ease the justified concern recently expressed by the Sierra Leonean Government with respect to the implementation of that programme. Peace in Sierra Leone is indispensable, because any delay in this respect would have a negative impact on the situation in Guinea, which has shouldered a heavy burden in terms of refugee flows, and on Liberia, for which great sacrifices have already been made.
While the efforts made to date to strengthen African peacekeeping capacity are commendable, they of course do not absolve the international community or the Security Council from their responsibilities, particularly in that the Charter of the United Nations gives the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Public opinion in West Africa is that the international community is tending to rely primarily on the regional efforts that are under way and not providing sufficient support. Our countries are still economically and socially weak, and the burden of trying to resolve regional conflicts has a very negative impact on our national budgets, on our education programmes, and so on. The international community should not use its financial and logistical assistance to African States, modest as it is, as a pretext to disengage from the continent. It seems likely that Africa will continue to need logistical support and financial resources for a long time to come, particularly if it is to succeed in re-establishing and maintaining peace.
Furthermore, the recent conflicts more or less throughout Africa have shown how historical or even linguistic considerations can complicate regional efforts to settle conflicts. In such situations, the direct involvement of the United Nations is sometimes essential if peace is to be preserved.
Given these requirements, it is regrettable that equal attention has not been given to all crises and conflict situations. I listened with great interest yesterday to the comment of the representative of Algeria, who said that “suffering knows no colour”.
On 21 September, President Chiluba underlined that same point in his briefing to the Council on the situation in the Great Lakes region when he quite rightly said that when the international community deals with issues relating to Africa, cost is always the decisive factor and almost becomes an obstacle to effective United Nations participation. It is to be hoped that the current operations and future initiatives will help correct this tendency to marginalize Africa, which asks only that it be accompanied in its efforts to promote durable peace and sustainable development.
I thank the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Togo for the kind words he addressed to my delegation.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the Minister of State for External Affairs of India, Her Excellency Mrs. Vasundhara Raje. I invite her to take a seat at the Council table and to make her statement now.
Even though the ministerial meeting proposed by the Secretary-General will be held next year, I welcome this opportunity to speak to the Council about Africa, a continent with which we in India have close and historical bonds. The Secretary-General’s report on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa, issued in April 1998, made a series of recommendations to the United Nations system and to Member States. A year has elapsed and it is time to take stock, as the Secretary-General has done in his progress report.
As we said last year, most of the problems that the Secretary-General identified in his report are outside the mandate of the Security Council to address. However, since in this debate we will look at the totality of the challenges facing Africa — if only to set the problems of conflict and security in perspective — I will refer also to those issues highlighted in the report where responsibility for action lies elsewhere than with the Council.
We note with interest the modest, practical steps that the report suggests in the section on responding to situations of conflict. We would all agree that it is always sensible, as a general principle not limited to Africa, to avoid rival mediation efforts; sometimes, this has led to tensions between the mediators which feed back into the conflict. Contact groups and special conferences may be helpful, though by definition they become useful — and should be set up — only when the parties to a conflict are prepared to talk.
We have participated in the Interlaken process, and would be interested to see targeted sanctions work. We believe that the focus of the exercise should be to lessen the impact of the sanctions on the innocent, in Africa and elsewhere, rather than on easing the administrative burden for the international banks through which financial sanctions are imposed. A related but crucial point needs to be made here: as one of the reports (E/1999/16) submitted to the Economic and Social Council earlier this year noted, Africa has suffered massive capital flight, estimated at about $22 billion between 1982 and 1991; these outflows, which have grown even larger since then, represent the fruits of corruption and have been invested in banks in developed countries. The Secretary-General’s report calls for steps to check corruption in Africa, but as the report to the Economic and Social Council made clear, Africa urgently and rather desperately needs these funds back, and to achieve that aim it needs the help of the foreign Governments where these banks are based. Corruption cannot be staunched at source if bribes can be safely squirrelled away abroad.
We note that the Secretariat is working with African States to make the violation of Security Council arms embargoes a criminal offence under national legislation. This is an interesting tack to take, but since most of the arms used in African conflicts are made on other continents and exported there, quite often in the full knowledge that they will be used by those on whom embargoes have been placed, any legislation that African States enact will be ineffective unless there are equally strict legal checks in the arms-exporting countries.
On reducing arms purchases to below 1.5 per cent of gross domestic product, the report notes that many countries in Africa were of the view that this would be difficult to implement. Again, almost by definition, this is not a figure that can be given general sanctity.
We are surprised that the report is silent on mercenaries. It is well established that mercenaries are sustaining several ongoing conflicts, have committed horrible violations of human rights and humanitarian law and actively market their services to antagonists in Africa. Most of them come from countries outside the continent that have recently pruned their armies. Again, this is a problem for Africa whose solution does not lie in African hands.
The other important omission is terrorism, which has bedeviled Africa and African security as it has many other parts of the world. At the recent Organization of African Unity (OAU) summit in Algiers, African leaders pledged themselves to work for an international and global convention for the struggle against all forms of terrorism. We welcome and support this call.
We welcome international efforts to strengthen Africa’s capacity for peacekeeping. The international conference on United Nations peacekeeping, which we hosted in New Delhi in March this year, had a major emphasis on peacekeeping in Africa. We made a special effort to ensure wide African participation, and trust that those who attended found the experience useful. We have contributed to almost every peacekeeping operation mounted by the United Nations in Africa, and will remain committed to peacekeeping efforts there.
African peacekeeping capacities are being developed, but this should not become an excuse for the Security Council to abdicate its responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security and refuse to set up peacekeeping operations in Africa on the basis that they would require extra resources, involve physical risks to peacekeepers or could be long-drawn-out. All regions of the world should be dealt with equally, and equally transparently, and Africa deserves not just the Council’s attention in debates like these, but the prompt dispatch of United Nations peacekeeping operations whenever they are required.
Most of the points made in the section on humanitarian assistance recapitulate the recommendations made in the recent report to the Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict (S/1999/957). I shall say only that in a statement to the Council earlier this month (S/PV.4046 (Resumption 1)) we explained in detail why we believe that those recommendations need much closer examination and should not be accepted as a basis for action.
In general, anything the Security Council does for Africa is likely to be insufficient unless there are concrete international efforts to address its underlying problems effectively; as the Secretary General has said, development is an essential condition for the maintenance of peace and security. How has Africa done over the last year? The figures we have from the United Nations system are confusing.
The annual summary of the economic and social situation in Africa submitted this year to the Economic and Social Council put the figure for gross domestic product growth in 1998 at 3.3 per cent, up from 2.9 per cent in 1997, the highest growth rate of any region in the world; it reported that the 33 African least developed countries increased their growth rate from 2.4 per cent in 1997 to 4.1 per cent in 1998. This is heartening, but the World Economic and Social Survey 1999, prepared by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, claims that African growth has declined from 2.7 per cent in 1997 to 2.5 per cent in 1998. We hope that United Nations assessments will not vary so widely; it becomes difficult otherwise for Member States to judge what the objective situation is.
Also, we need to break down the problem if we are to make meaningful recommendations; western, eastern and southern Africa have had a particularly difficult time, but within those regions, according to the Survey, countries in the CFA franc zone have done rather well, some growing by 4.9 per cent in 1998 and others by 5.5 per cent. It is clear that we need to address in other forums the specific needs of countries and subregions in Africa and help them craft appropriate solutions based on local endowments.
We are disappointed that section III of the report, on building a durable peace and promoting economic growth, considers aspects of good governance in far more detail than it does practical measures to promote growth. Effective, transparent and accountable governance responsive to the needs and priorities of the governed is important, but linking assistance and investment to arbitrary norms not related to economic parameters will promote neither human rights nor prosperity. In contrast, the report to the Economic and Social Council clearly establishes the close relationship between income and well-being. Eight of the 10 best performers in the Borda rankings in Africa were also among the top 10 in terms of per capita income, countering that claim often made that human development is not necessarily dependent on income growth.
The report urges African countries to create a positive environment for investment, including through greater attention to human resources and public health, but other reports from the United Nations system fill out the picture. On investment, the World Investment Report, published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, pointed out last year that foreign direct investment in Africa yielded greater returns than that in any other region. That report also found that, above all, foreign investors looked for African countries with an open, well-regulated macroeconomic environment; the recommendation in the Secretary-General’s report that African countries should create an enabling environment to attract investment is therefore a sound one.
However, the World Investment Report also found that almost all foreign direct investment into Africa was sunk into the quick exploitation of natural resources. In other words, if two African countries had natural resources, such as oil or gas, of immediate interest to foreign investors, the one with the more stable environment would stand a better chance of getting the investment. However, those African countries that do not have commercially attractive natural resources, no matter how well they are governed or how stable their macroeconomic environments may be, are unlikely to get substantial foreign investment. Since these are the countries that often need foreign direct investment most, there is a clear disjunction between need and supply, which needs to be addressed. Across the continent, to illustrate this point, industrial-sector growth, which has driven development in all regions, has declined from 3.8 per cent in 1997 to 3.2 per cent in 1998, largely because investments are absent.
Even more telling, the Economic Commission for Africa has reminded us that the gap that needs to be financed by external resources if Africa is to reduce poverty is 9 per cent of African gross domestic product, which is almost the same figure as for official development assistance. In most developing economies that have taken off, that gap was hardly ever more than between 2 per cent and 3 per cent. The figure for Africa demonstrates the qualitatively different nature of African need; the decline in net inflows and the limited scope of foreign interest are therefore even more disturbing.
On public health, the report refers to the challenges of both HIV/AIDS and malaria, again perhaps without spelling out the magnitude of the problem Africa faces. The World Health Report 1999, published by the World Health Organization, describes the challenge of malaria in Africa as a social and economic development issue, not just a health concern, and it also goes on to say that because the adverse economic impact of malaria in Africa has been estimated to be greater than 1 per cent of gross domestic product, it could be considered a cause, and not just a consequence, of underdevelopment. Determined international action to eradicate malaria could thus add at least 1 per cent to African gross domestic product; this is far more doable than putting an arbitrary cap, for instance, on defence spending.
On AIDS, the latest World Health Organization figures for Africa are 54 million infected, and the Human Development Report published by the United Nations Development Programme informs us that the cost of the medication developed by Glaxo Wellcome has come down from $10,000 to $3,000 per patient per annum, which is still well beyond African means. If all 54 million Africans are to be treated, the cost to the continent per annum could well be $162 billion. Where is this money to come from? This touches upon the general question of neglect and non-application in the developing world of cutting-edge scientific and technological research in the areas of health and upon the need for urgently exploring innovative ways of financing the application of this research, particularly in Africa.
India has contributed to the best of its ability to the promotion of peace and sustainable development in Africa. We attach the highest priority to economic cooperation with Africa. A primary instrument of our technical cooperation with Africa has been the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme, which has trained some 20,000 African nationals so far in fields including banking, foreign trade, hydrology and water resources, communications, electronics, satellite imaging, agriculture, small and medium industry, software, renewable energy sources and the like. Over 15,000 African students study in India. We provide 1,350 training slots every year in our best educational institutions, of which nearly 60 per cent are reserved for nominees from Africa. The Programme also implements a variety of technical assistance projects in Africa. Training and mutual cooperation in human rights, in the conduct of elections, in parliamentary procedures and in public sector administration are important components of our multifaceted relationship.
Several Indian companies have established joint ventures in Africa, infusing capital, upgrading technology levels and promoting job creation. Indian industry is involved in a significant way in the development of African infrastructure in sectors such as railways. In 1998, we set up a revolving fund for Africa for promoting trade, investment and technology sharing, as well as for revitalizing our bilateral trade with Africa and for investing in Africa’s development.
Africa will remain the highest priority for us as a partner in cooperation. We hope it will be a priority for the United Nations system as well.
The next speaker is the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, His Excellency Mr. Jaroslav Chlebo. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I wish to begin by congratulating the Netherlands, and you personally, Sir, on your excellent conduct of the presidency of the Security Council for this month. I would like also to thank your predecessor, the representative of the Republic of Namibia, for his effective leadership of the Security Council during the month of August.
Slovakia welcomes the initiative of the Netherlands to convene this important meeting on Africa in a timely manner, and considers it to be a very promising step towards a final solution of the pending problems of Africa.
Slovakia warmly welcomes the Secretary-General’s recent report on progress in promoting durable peace and sustainable development in Africa. We also appreciate the briefing held last week by Mr. Frederick Chiluba, President of the Republic of Zambia, on the situation in Africa, and all other activities which have taken place in order to help Africa seek peace and development.
There is no doubt that in recent years the continent of Africa has made significant progress on its way to stability and prosperity. Despite certain achievements, however, at the threshold of the new millennium, Africa still remains afflicted and threatened by a great number of conflicts and tensions. Without an appropriate approach, those tensions can quickly be turned into new, devastating conflicts.
Timely responses to and peaceful resolutions of disputes are essential for promoting durable peace and sustainable development in Africa. It is clear that an active and functional partnership between Africa and the international community is one of the key priorities for preventing and resolving conflicts and for helping Africa create an environment for the economic growth of its countries. The continued and increased assistance of the international community is also important for building and enhancing African peacekeeping capacity to handle crises. However, this cannot be a substitute for the responsibility of Africa itself. Africa must show the political will to seek political rather than military responses to problems and commit itself to the principles of good governance with strict respect for human rights and the rule of law. In this respect, we have welcomed the determination of African leaders to promote democracy and the rule of law, as was recently stated at the thirty-fifth summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Algiers. Only in an environment of good governance can countries ensure their stability and prosperity.
Regional arrangements have already become an integral part of the common effort of the international community for maintaining peace and security in Africa. Slovakia welcomes and fully supports increasing cooperation and coordination between the United Nations and Africa with regard to peacekeeping. Peacekeeping operations still continue to play an indispensable role in resolving ongoing conflicts. We should recognize the important role that the African regional and subregional organizations — such as the OAU, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) — have played in addressing particular disputes and in carrying out peacekeeping missions in several African countries. We should provide them with the necessary financial and material resources.
In this regard, Slovakia commends the activities of ECOWAS and, in particular, of the President of Togo leading to the signing of the Lomé Peace Agreement, which has given new hope to the people of Sierra Leone. We also greatly appreciate the diplomatic and mediation efforts of the President of Zambia, which facilitated the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has helped create positive conditions for a restoration of peace in the Great Lakes region.
No doubt the peace process is not complete, and the cooperation and the assistance of the international community cannot stop after a restoration of peace. Durable results — lasting peace and development — cannot be achieved or maintained without adequate follow-up. A clear and smooth transition from peacekeeping operations to post-conflict peace-building is required. All factors needed for reconciliation, reconstruction and the creation of conditions for economic growth should be addressed and strengthened in order to prevent a resumption of the conflict. A valuable example, in my view, has been set by Mozambique, not only in resolving its internal conflict but also in its determination to fight one of the most widespread diseases of conflicts on this continent, anti-personnel landmines.
Since its establishment as an independent State in January 1993, Slovakia has participated in a number of United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa, as well as in other parts of the world. To date, nearly 3,000 Slovak peacekeepers have served under the United Nations flag in peacekeeping missions. On the continent of Africa, Slovakia has been actively involved in the United Nations Missions in Angola, Rwanda, the Uganda-Rwanda border region, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Furthermore, Slovakia is ready to contribute an engineering unit of 150 personnel for mine clearance activities in the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara and has also recently expressed its readiness to dispatch Slovak peacekeepers to a possible United Nations mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Speaking in terms of the number of troops per capita, Slovakia is among the leading troop-contributing countries.
Moreover, in order to improve Africa’s capacity for conflict prevention and resolution, Slovakia stands ready to contribute to this effort and to offer facilities at its Training Centre for Peacekeeping Operations, in particular providing training for engineering units.
We recognize the problem of anti-personnel mines as a great burden to post-conflict rehabilitation and the promotion of sustainable development in afflicted regions. The commitment of Slovakia to the resolution of this issue is demonstrated not only by its ratification of the Ottawa Convention this year but also by its active participation in demining activities in peacekeeping operations. Slovakia is prepared to continue providing its skills, techniques and equipment in this regard.
Specific situations require the application of specific measures, including sanctions imposed by the Security Council. The imposition of sanctions can be used as a measure of enforcement, but it should rather be used as a measure of prevention. We share the view that better targeting of sanctions is needed in order to ensure that they will achieve their purpose with greater impact on political leaders and decision makers.
In this regard, special attention should be paid to arms embargoes which can be a key instruments in the prevention of the flow of illicit arms and related matériel into zones of conflict or tension in Africa. Therefore, the United Nations and the international community must take all measures available to enforce effective implementation of a Security Council arms embargo, inter alia, through the identification of the sources of arms flows.
A bitter example of the violation of an arms embargo is seen in Angola. In that country the United Nations peacekeeping operation has failed, and the effort of the international community has also been brought to naught because of continued supply of weapons to UNITA.
We are concerned that the sanctions of the Security Council are mostly violated by non-African countries, some of which even want to be recognized as contributors to international peace and security. Slovakia firmly adheres to all of the Security Council’s decisions, including those on sanctions. As a future Chairman of the Wassenaar Arrangement for the control of the export of dual-use materials and technologies and conventional weapons, Slovakia would like to contribute to the effective work of the Arrangement and thus strengthen international and regional stability.
We recognize the importance of building and enhancing a close relationship with African countries. We fully support the intention of the European Union (EU) to hold a summit with African countries next year, and we align ourselves with the positions of the EU which will be presented by the representative of Finland later in this debate.
Slovakia appreciates traditionally good relations and mutual cooperation with African countries. Entering the new millennium, we will continue enhancing our partnership with those countries in order to help Africa build its future. Slovakia stands ready to contribute to any efforts of the international community to respond positively and constructively to Africa’s needs and to promote peace, sustainable development, human rights and good governance on this beautiful continent. For that noble task, we must identify proper means and sufficient resources without delay.
I thank the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Slovakia for his kind words addressed to me and to my predecessor.
The next speaker is the Minister for External Relations of the Republic of the Sudan, His Excellency Mr. Mustafa Osman Ismail. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
My delegation would like to congratulate you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month, which abounds with activity and international meetings. We would also like to express our appreciation to you for holding so many open debates on many current subjects of ongoing concern and interest for the international community. Our appreciation and thanks also go to the Secretary-General for his progress report on the implementation of his recommendations regarding the main causes of conflict in Africa — the subject of this debate.
My delegation studied carefully the report of the Secretary-General contained in document S/1999/1008. We would like to make the following brief remarks in the hope that they will advance the discussion.
Paragraph 2 of the report states that
“The Security Council established its own ad hoc Working Group to review the recommendations in the report pertaining to peace and security. The Working Group developed concrete proposals for action on: (a) support for regional and subregional initiatives in the areas of
conflict prevention and maintenance of peace; (b) establishment of an international mechanism to assist host Governments in maintaining the security and neutrality of refugee camps; (c) strengthening of Africa’s peacekeeping capacity; (d) strengthening the effectiveness of arms sanctions regimes imposed by the Security Council”.
In this connection we would like to thank the Council for its interest in establishing the ad hoc Working Group to study and submit proposals on the aforementioned points. We would have liked to see the text of these proposals in the body of the Secretary-General’s follow-up report. We would also have liked to see to what extent this report has taken into consideration the views of the States that are not members of the Council, particularly those views expressed during earlier debates on the causes of conflict in Africa and those that contained valuable ideas on the sanctions system and on the role of regional organizations and other issues.
As for the part on targeting sanctions, the report of the Secretary-General refers to the efforts of non-governmental organizations and to the symposiums that some countries have sponsored on this particular topic. The Secretariat provided technical support to this symposium, as is mentioned in paragraph 12 of the report.
In this respect we would like to reaffirm the necessity of taking into consideration the views of the Member States of the United Nations on sanctions because, in the final analysis, they are directly concerned. In this regard, the report does not take into consideration the resolution adopted by the General Assembly by consensus in relation to “An Agenda for Peace”.
As for the problem of the illicit flow of small arms and light weapons, my delegation would like to recall the necessity of finding a solution to this problem, by dealing with it through a mechanism that, by means of effective supervision, would stop rebel movements and gangs from getting hold of these arms and weapons.
As for paragraph 18 of the report, on identifying international arms merchants, we believe that our efforts would be better served if we identified manufacturing and exporting businesses and their means of export, in order to lay the foundations for an international regime to control the manufacture and export of such weapons and the trade in them.
Last year, when the Secretary-General submitted his first report on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa, he mentioned many of the causes of these conflicts. These included the legacy of colonialism, economic reasons and other external factors that led to these conflicts and their continuation. He also highlighted the relationship between peace and development.
In this context I would like to refer to paragraph 102 in the follow-up report issued by the Secretary-General on 25 September, which refers to the conflict in southern Sudan. Let me note that everyone knows that there is an ongoing conflict in the south of my country. This is one of the crises bequeathed to us by colonization. Its flames were fanned by the warlords and the rebels, and this conflict has now gone on for more than 50 years.
Since it came to power, the present Government has made serious, tireless efforts to achieve peace in the south. It has welcomed all good offices and initiatives in this respect. It has also accepted the Declaration of Principles as a basis for negotiations between it and the rebels within the context of Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD). It recently proclaimed a comprehensive ceasefire in preparation for peace and reaffirmed its commitment to provide basic human rights for all its citizens in the war-torn areas.
Today, from this rostrum I declare — and I will repeat this declaration in my statement before the General Assembly this evening — that the Government of the Sudan is willing to declare a permanent ceasefire for the whole of the south of the Sudan. If the rebels accept this, we will then ask the relevant organizations to separate the warring forces, to supervise the ceasefire for humanitarian reasons and to allow the initiative of IGADD to succeed in achieving a peaceful solution to the problem.
The rebel movement has rejected a ceasefire, is obstructing the routes for humanitarian assistance, and is killing relief workers. The killing of four staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross last April — an incident condemned by the international community and the Secretary-General — is still fresh in our minds.
From this rostrum we appeal to the international community and to the Security Council to pressure the rebel movement to join the peace process and to adopt sanctions similar to those that have been adopted against the rebel Savimbi in Angola. The Non-Aligned Movement, at the ministerial meeting that took place during this session of the General Assembly, declared Savimbi a war criminal.
The Secretary-General’s current report stresses the importance of socio-economic development in dealing with the causes of conflict. However, we feel that not enough attention has been paid to this aspect. Assistance has not equalled the level required, nor have enough resources been made available for the projects of rehabilitation, development and reconstruction. We would like to reaffirm that if insufficient attention is paid to this aspect, the door for renewed conflicts will remain open.
Experience has proved beyond any doubt the urgent need to pay attention to socio-economic projects during the transitional period in areas where relative stability has been established. There is no need to wait for a comprehensive peace; development would thereby be playing a supportive role in bringing about such peace.
I have taken note with interest the statement made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada, which contained a reference to my country. I thank him for his interest in the affairs of the Sudan and would not wish to end my statement without addressing his reference to the slave trade in my country, which was surprising and amazing indeed.
Canada is almost the sole country to make these allegations against the Sudan in the Council. Canada has no resident diplomatic representation in the Sudan and has sent no official delegation to our country in recent years to uncover the facts. I would also mention that my country hosts over 50 foreign diplomatic missions, including 20 Arab and 10 European embassies, a resident envoy of the European Union and a similar number of African and Asian embassies.
The Ministerial Council of the Arab League met this month in Cairo and looked into the misleading malicious media campaigns launched by certain suspect organizations, such as Christian Solidarity International (CSI), against my country, as well as the falsehoods and allegations that have been made concerning the slave trade in the Sudan. CSI is an organization that seeks to foment sectarian strife among the Sudanese — Christians and Muslims alike — and to incite hatred. The Council unanimously decided that the misleading campaign is aimed at destroying the Sudan’s image, destabilizing the country and arousing sectarian strife. It called for opposition to this campaign. A copy of the resolution has been sent to the President of the Security Council. As members know, the Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations has adopted a resolution recommending the withdrawal of the consultative status of CSI, in view of that organization’s excesses and violations of the rules governing its relationship with the United Nations.
A draft resolution submitted by the members of the European Union to the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva last March on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, which included a tribute to the progress made by my country in that respect, made no mention of allegations concerning the slave trade. It referred to kidnappings that occur during tribal conflicts over water, pasture and agricultural land, which occasionally erupt in some remote regions of the Sudan regardless of the ethnic similarities or differences of the tribes concerned. This is a phenomenon that we are working hard to overcome and eliminate. In that respect, I would call the Council’s attention to the convening, in Khartoum last July, of a workshop on the ways and means of stopping and preventing such conflicts. It was attended by representatives of certain United Nations bodies and non-governmental organizations and by civil and governmental leaders. The workshop’s recommendations have been implemented by my government and forwarded to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Government of the Sudan has treated these allegations very seriously. We believe that slave-trading is a heinous crime against humanity and a horrendous violation of all values and of all revealed religions. Article 20 the 1998 Sudanese Constitution provides that every human being has the right to life, freedom, the security of his own person, dignity and honour in accordance with the law. He is free and cannot be enslaved, forced to work, humiliated or tortured. Article 163 of the 1991 Sudanese Criminal Code provides for the punishment by imprisonment and fine of all who attempt to force others to work.
In the wake of the allegations made in some European capitals, I met with European ambassadors in Khartoum and asked them to provide us with any information at their disposal on the existence of this practice in my country. They all denied that they had any such information and that this practice exists in the Sudan. When these allegations were repeated, we appealed to the Organization of African Unity (OAU) through its Secretary-General, who is present at this meeting, to dispatch a fact-finding mission to seek information on the subject of these allegations concerning the slave trade.
I cannot help but wonder how dozens of senior officials from the southern part of my country, where these practices are alleged to occur, can all be unaware of their occurrence? These officials include the Vice-President, a southern Christian; four federal ministers, including the only woman on the Council of Ministers, a southern Christian who is Minister of Labour and Humanitarian Affairs; the Deputy Foreign Minister, who is an Anglican Bishop; over 60 members of the federal Parliament; all the governors and ministers of the 10 southern States; hundreds of senior officers of the Army and the police force; academicians; ambassadors and diplomats. The Sudanese ambassadors to Rome, Oslo, Bonn and Dar es-Salaam are all Christians from the southern Sudan, as are dozens of other diplomats. Even the Deputy Chief of Mission to Ottawa is a southern Christian.
The tragic war in southern Sudan is due to the rejection of the repeated ceasefires by the rebel movement. It has displaced over half the population of that region to the North, particularly Khartoum, where all the diplomatic missions and the offices of the United Nations and of non-governmental organizations are located. Anyone who lives in or has visited our country knows that all religious and ethnic groups live in peaceful coexistence there. Christians and Muslims, southerners and northerners are all treated equally. Many senior personalities and officials of regional and international organizations who have visited our country can vouch for that. Foremost among these is the Secretary-General of the OAU, who is among us now and who visited southern Sudan and its capital, Juba. He was witness to the peaceful coexistence of all inhabitants there. I ask the Canadian Minister to give me the name of just one person who was enslaved and the names of those who bought him.
In view of the gravity of the accusations made in the statement of the Foreign Minister of Canada against my country and taking into consideration that Canada is a member of the Security Council and that this matter can seriously harm the Sudan’s reputation and destroy the image of the Sudanese people, I ask the Canadian Government to send a fact-finding mission so that it can ascertain the falsity of these allegations and restore respect to my country.
This grave phenomenon, if found in any society, is the worst insult against that society. We cannot deal with this through clamorous media or such unfounded accusations, but through close cooperation that will eliminate it. The Sudan opens its doors to any country or organization that believes that this practice or this phenomenon exists on its territory. It is perfectly willing to cooperate in fighting this phenomenon. Let me reiterate that we welcome a Canadian delegation that would visit the Sudan in this connection. We again ask the Security Council to send a fact-finding mission to investigate the strike against the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant, which was launched by the United States. We hope that Canada will set an example by upholding values and principles and that it will support that request.
In conclusion, in view of the gravity of the accusations levelled against the Sudan these days, which are fuelled by some who work against my country, let me repeat that the Sudan does not have any objection to receiving a mission of the United Nations and the European Union, the Organization of African Unity, the Arab League or the Organization of the Islamic Conference to investigate these accusations levelled against the Sudan regarding the slave trade. We are perfectly willing and ready to cooperate with such a mission and to deal positively with the results it might obtain.
The next speaker on my list is the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Senegal, His Excellency Mr. Jacques Baudin. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement now.
Mr. President, allow me to congratulate you on your well-deserved election. We in Senegal attach particular importance to it as we know both you and, of course, your country.
Peace, security, political stability, the democratic rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights and liberties are all, I believe, necessary conditions for development. Senegal and its head of State, President Abdou Diouf, are committed to these principles on which we base our foreign policy choices and directions.
My delegation welcomes the high quality of the report of the Secretary-General (S/1999/1008) and we are delighted at the remarkable follow-up work by the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the other organs and institutions of the United Nations on the recommendations contained in his earlier report (S/1998/318). We welcome also the important statement made within this forum by the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, on the situation in Africa.
It is of utmost priority that we should continue our consideration of the potential sources of conflict in Africa because the situation on the continent is evolving very rapidly. In addition to the conventional types of conflict which still persist, there are conflicts of a new type; they are a new generation of more complex conflicts, with new protagonists, stemming from domestic contradictions. Examples of this latter type are: fratricidal, political struggles between the opposition and those in power, with the militias in between, in defiance of the democratic rules of the game and the legally established constitutional order; mutinies by factions of national armed forces which start out as simple material or financial claims and mutate into political demands; the ethnicization of political and social life; the heightening of identity-related conflicts; and the problems stemming from the difficulties involved in managing armed ethnic bands, especially in refugee camps.
I must mention also the dangerous attempts by some countries to revise their border policies and their relations with neighbours. Revising borders calls into question the principle that the borders inherited from the colonial period must not be touched.
These conflicts are made even more difficult by the huge rise in banditry, illicit trafficking in narcotics and psychotropic substances and the uncontrolled circulation of arms, especially small arms and light weapons, in a continent characterized by porous borders.
Obviously the list cannot be exhaustive because there are so many explanations of the sources of tension and conflicts are multiple, complex and interacting. My delegation is pleased that the Secretary-General has taken the specificity of the African situation in his analysis and recommendations into account. It is pleased also that the Security Council has decided: to strengthen its support for regional and subregional initiatives for the prevention, management and settlement of crises in Africa; create a support mechanism for the governments of host countries to enable them to maintain and preserve the security and neutrality of refugee camps; and to strengthen African peacekeeping capabilities.
The provisions of Security Council resolution 1197 (1998), concerning the establishment within OAU of an early warning system based on the model currently being used by the United Nations and the strengthening of the OAU conflict management centre, must be implemented with all the required resources. Similarly, contributions should be made to finance the United Nations Trust Fund for that purpose and the OAU Peace Fund. Mechanisms for the exchange of information between the United Nations and OAU and between the United Nations and subregional organizations — the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), for example — should be considerably improved.
Even though the primary responsibility of maintaining security and the civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps and areas always lies with the host State, the international community is duty bound to assist governments in this task and, above all, to bear the bulk of the costs to African States whose financial and logistic capacities are limited. To this end, my country wishes to appeal to our development partners for a considerable increase in the resources available to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), given the immensity and complexity of the UNHCR’s tasks and responsibilities. My country, which actively participated in the adoption of the ECOWAS Moratorium on the Import, Export and Manufacturing of Small Arms, remains prepared to participate in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and to contribute to the establishment of appropriate regional and subregional registries. In the same spirit, we will be contributing to the success of the OAU regional conference on small arms decided upon by the Algiers summit.
Equal importance should be attached to post-conflict peace-building. How many crises did we considered resolved, only to see them re-emerge because of a lack of vigorous support for Governments to build peace and reconstruct what had been destroyed. If truth be told, post-conflict management remains one of the weak points of our joint action. It is hard to understand that countries emerging from a conflict should be treated routinely when it comes to assistance, financing or debt management, for example. They ought to enjoy special treatment; this is a fundamental prerequisite to ensure the success of efforts at reconstruction, reintegration of ex-combatants and national reconciliation.
I also commend the Secretary-General’s proposal to create a group composed of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the United Nations to study special support mechanisms for countries in a post-conflict situation, or those countries that are overwhelmed by waves of refugees created by instability in their region. It is of the utmost importance, in this framework, to take into account the situation of child soldiers.
My delegation will have the opportunity to return to the question of the follow-up of recommendations of an economic and social nature in the report of the Secretary-General when it is examined in the General Assembly. Nonetheless, I want to emphasize the serious development constraints facing our countries. Given the drastic decline in official development assistance, the low level of financial flows towards Africa — approximately 3 per cent of global flows — the intolerable debt and debt servicing burden, which erodes the erratic and steadily declining income from exports, and the many obstacles to access of African exports to world markets, it is important that the United Nations and the international community strengthen their support for the continent and that exceptional efforts be made for the African countries involved in the twofold process of economic and political reform.
Before concluding, I wish to restate sincerely my country’s gratitude to our partners and friends — France, the United States and the United Kingdom — for their joint initiative in supporting our peacekeeping and conflict management efforts in Africa. Thanks to their cooperation, and the efforts of Japan and other friendly countries in this field, we have succeeded in training thousands of peacekeeping troops and in improving and increasing our logistic resources. Significant progress has been made in this field, thanks to the commitment of African countries and the support of our partners. Joint military manoeuvres have been organized among the armed forces of the countries of our subregion in order to train for possible future crises.
The United States initiative to respond to crises in Africa, and the tripartite initiative of France, the United States and the United Kingdom to strengthen African peacekeeping capacities, known by the acronym RECAMP, have made African countries better equipped to participate in peacekeeping operations and in crisis prevention and management. We are continuing our work in this field, with the support of friendly countries, and in cooperation with the United Nations and the OAU.
As the Council knows, since its independence Senegal has been contributing contingents to United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa and elsewhere. We are determined to continue our excellent cooperation with the United Nations in this framework in order to ensure peace and security in the world.
The resilience of African aspirations is such that the international community must act quickly and well. While we are of necessity convinced of this need, since everyone knows the facts of the African problems, some must move beyond the simple reflex reaction of posing the problems, without any real will to find the proper solutions.
I had almost finished, but some student memories keep coming to mind. One is particularly persistent; I was thinking about it all night and again this morning. It leads me to remind the Council of a famous sentence by Mirabeau, one of the great orators of the French revolution, who said that in this world a defence can be found for anything — except inconsistency. I hope that as the twentieth century reaches its end we can together reflect on that truth.
I thank the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Senegal for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Mozambique, His Excellency Mr. Leonardo Santos Simão. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Let me begin by congratulating you, Sir, upon your assumption of the presidency of the Council for the current month, and pay a well-deserved tribute to your predecessor, the Permanent Representative of Namibia, for the diligent manner in which he discharged his duties during the month of August.
I would also like to express my appreciation, Sir, for your initiative in convening this debate on the situation in Africa. As we approach the new millennium, we think it is high time to reflect on the developments and challenges confronting our continent. I thank all countries which have expressed kind and encouraging words to my country.
Africa is well known as the cradle of ancient civilizations that contributed to the scientific advance of the world. It is also endowed with huge human and natural resources. These positive aspects have been gradually undermined by a combination of factors which have had a negative impact on the continent’s development. The colonial legacy, poverty, the deterioration of the terms of trade and the debt burden are among the main obstacles to the attainment of peace and economic and political stability in Africa.
However, we are proud to note that African States, including the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, are introducing political, social and economic reforms, such as the adoption of multi-party political systems and free market economies. This in our view signals the Africans’ commitment to seek solutions to their own problems, aiming at achieving sustainable development and stability as well as the well-being of the peoples of the continent.
While recognizing that the fate of our continent lies in our hands, we strongly believe that the international community must provide the necessary support to ensure the continuity of the progress so far achieved. Africa is still marginalized. Therefore, the international community must take practical steps to complement the efforts of Africa towards regional integration, thus allowing the continent to be fully integrated into the world economy. In this regard, developed countries must reverse the decline in official development assistance for Africa, provide debt relief or cancellation and mitigate the impact of the deterioration in terms of trade while allowing access of African goods to world markets. The 1999 United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report contains staggering statistics on African countries.
Regrettably, conflicts in Africa continue to be a source of concern for all of us on the continent as well as for all peace- loving countries. We are all involved in the search for solutions for those conflicts which are undermining the development of the African countries. We are conscious that in Southern Africa our concern remains Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Without peace there is neither stability nor development.
With regard to the situation in Angola we deeply regret the resumption of war, caused by UNITA, which is denying Angola the well deserved peace and stability which are so long overdue. Hence, the sanctions imposed by the Security Council against UNITA as a way to force Mr. Savimbi to comply with resolutions 864 (1993), 1127 (1997) and 1173 (1998) must be both reinforced and implemented. It is also urgently necessary to ensure that humanitarian assistance is provided to mitigate the plight of the people of Angola and avoid a human catastrophe.
We commend the work done by the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 864 (1993), chaired by Ambassador Robert Fowler of Canada, which recommended effective measures for the implementation of Security Council sanctions imposed against UNITA. We encourage the Committee to continue with its work.
The maintenance of peace and security is the main responsibility of the Security Council. However, regional arrangements must also contribute to ensuring the attainment of that objective. After all, in the particular case of SADC, instability in Angola and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo also affects that whole region. Taking this into account, the SADC countries are ready to collaborate with the United Nations to monitor the implementation of sanctions against UNITA. We think that this will complement the efforts of the Security Council, and indeed of the whole international community, to achieve lasting peace in Angola.
The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has seen some positive progress, with the signature of the Lusaka Agreement by all parties involved in the conflict. However, the slow pace of implementation of this Agreement constitutes a major concern for the whole region. In this regard, we call upon the Security Council to adopt practical measures to ensure an effective ceasefire. To that end, the early and timely deployment of peacekeeping forces, with an appropriate mandate under Chapter VII of the Charter, and with enough manpower and resources, is imperative for the achievement of lasting peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. All SADC countries, and indeed many African and other nations, are ready to contribute troops for this peacekeeping mission.
It is our hope that, unlike previous occasions elsewhere, solving the security issue will not be a precondition for the deployment of peacekeeping forces. We are concerned that a step-by-step approach by the Security Council may jeopardize the smooth implementation of the Lusaka Agreement.
It is regrettable that whenever the international community is faced with taking action to solve a conflict in Africa the issue of cost is always raised. Cost should not be a determining factor because it has never been a determining factor in dealing with conflicts in other parts of the world.
In the case of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, what SADC is proposing is a strong and structured partnership with the United Nations in order to guarantee the implementation of the Lusaka Agreement.
Africa has the potential to solve its own problems as has been demonstrated on many occasions. Our continental organization, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), has been involved in the search for solutions for the many conflicts devastating the continent. Through its Central Organ of the OAU Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, Africa can indeed play a pivotal role in the maintenance of peace and security. Similar regional mechanisms, such as our SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other regional mechanisms, are also capable of playing a meaningful role.
What we need is to endow these arrangements with adequate financial and technical resources so that they also can launch and participate in peacekeeping missions in Africa. We call on the United Nations to collaborate closely with Africa to enhance Africa’s capacity to shoulder its own responsibility to help maintain peace and security within Africa. We call also on the international community to provide the necessary resources in amounts sufficient to allow these objectives to be realized.
The success of the Security Council, and of the United Nations as a whole, will be judged by the degree of success it achieves in the least developed of all our planet’s continents. Together we shall succeed.
I thank the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Mozambique for his kind words addressed to me and to my predecessor.
The next speaker on my list is the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency The Honourable James Victor Gbeho.
I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement now.
I am happy and privileged to participate in this crucial Security Council debate on the situation in Africa, and I wish to begin by joining in the warm sentiments expressed to you, Sir, and to other members of the Council by previous speakers.
I must also highly commend the Secretary-General for the comprehensive progress report (S/1999/1008) on the implementation of the recommendations contained in his earlier report (S/1998/318). The progress report highlights key issues that need to be addressed in dealing with the problems confronting Africa.
The case for proving Africa’s readiness to pull itself up by its bootstraps when it comes to challenges to peace and security there has been well established by all who spoke before me. The statement made in the Council yesterday by the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) regarding the two OAU summit meetings held in Algiers and Sirte, and the statement by the Permanent Representative of Algeria, also portray Africa’s resolve to take its destiny into its own hands and make the next millennium one of peace and stability on the continent.
As was noted by an earlier speaker, there can be no peace without development, nor can there be development without peace. My contribution, therefore, is calculated to underscore some of the points already made and to suggest how the Security Council may help Africa. In so doing I will go straight to the point and try to avoid repeating the many important points that my colleagues have already made with greater force than I can muster.
The Charter gives ultimate responsibility for international peace and security to this body, and yet the continent of Africa is desperately in the throes of conflict. By holding this debate, the Security Council itself acknowledges the critical role that it has to play in improving the environment for development in that region of the world. The Security Council therefore has to assume its full responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in Africa. Regional peacekeeping missions and other efforts by Africa can therefore be no excuse for the Security Council to shirk its responsibilities to African countries.
We have had to bear such a responsibility in West Africa, for instance, not only because we feel a sense of ownership for confronting and managing conflict, but also because the response by the international community has recently been either muted or lukewarm, and in a few instances too little, too late. It is the conviction of my Government that the Council’s duty to maintain peace without any prevarication or ambivalence must be upheld and emphasized.
In this regard, I wish to reiterate the point I made to the General Assembly last week: that the time has come for the international community to do in Africa as much as it has done in other areas in guaranteeing peace. We have seen in the past few months the kind of resources that the international community has been willing and able to mobilize in Kosovo and East Timor at short notice. We are pleased with the effort and would like to congratulate the countries involved. Africa urges the Security Council, therefore, to move with similar dispatch concerning the tragedies of Africa in order to dispel any perceptions of discrimination or lack of even-handedness.
If the words of comfort, support and solidarity that have been offered Africa in this debate were half-translated into commitments we would spend less time lamenting the plight of the continent. In our view, Africa’s case has often required less onerous assistance in terms of human lives and military dispositions than is necessary in post-conflict management. In fact, as the Secretary-General’s report makes clear, the root of many conflicts in Africa lies in the difficult socio-economic situation that the continent finds itself in. There will thus be no peace or security until the issue of poverty is seriously addressed.
We are compelled to point out that the achievement of the objectives of peace and security requires an integrated approach, even in areas outside the narrow confines of peace and security. While we appreciate the assistance by developed countries for enhancing Africa’s peacekeeping efforts, this, in our view, should be coordinated to avoid a situation in which parallel bodies compete for attention, and thereby waste energy.
The international community must also support efforts at stemming the illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons in West Africa. My Government, in recognition of the need to address the serious problem of arms proliferation in our subregion and the related issue of the forced participation of children in armed conflicts, intends soon to jointly host with the Government of Canada a subregional workshop aimed at building on the Mali moratorium and establishing a framework to keep children out of conflict. We look forward to the support of the international community for this forthcoming event, especially that of the member States of the Council. In this regard, we also call on countries whose companies and nationals support the supply of arms and the provision of soldiers of fortune or mercenaries to fight in wars for the sake of diamonds or similar resources to assist these noble regional efforts aimed at halting this trend.
Africa recognizes its responsibility to take steps to create a viable environment for sustainable development. Good governance, accountability and measures towards poverty alleviation are part of this process, and the Secretary-General’s report acknowledges the efforts of African countries in this direction. We count on the support, therefore, and the cooperation of the developed countries for success.
I thank the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ghana for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Allow me first of all, Mr. President, to extend my thanks to you and to your delegation for your efforts in presiding over the Council this month, which has seen so much activity.
We have twice seen the Council hold public meetings this month and we hope that it will not go back to holding meetings behind closed doors as if it were hatching something unacceptable to the international community. The Council works on behalf of the international community, at least in theory.
We would also like to pay tribute to the representative of Namibia, Ambassador Andjaba, for his successful presidency over the Council last month.
We also thank the Secretary-General, who single-handedly performed his duties on behalf of Africa in the best possible way and within his competence and terms of reference.
We have heard many things from those who have taken the floor at this meeting. We will therefore be very brief and not repeat what has already been said. The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya will not go into the details of what it has done for the continent of which it is a part. My country feels that what it has done in Africa — whether during the struggles for liberation from occupation, in the area of reconstruction and development, in stopping bloodshed in all areas of conflict or in preparing Africa to enter the next century unified and on the road to recovery — has been nothing more than its duty. These actions are for us daily acts and are an integral part of our shared responsibility.
At these sorts of meetings, some see an opportunity to continue, to a boring degree, to remind Africa of what they have offered to and spent on the continent. We Africans are not very happy about being constantly reminded that we owe those countries a debt of gratitude, and we are not very happy that those countries have no objective other than winning African votes. We would be happier if an end could be put to recalling this debt of gratitude, which so provokes our feelings and our dignity — in particular as we have not forgotten the fact that what has been taken from us is almost impossible to compensate for.
It is unnerving for Africa that the United Nations and the rich and powerful States do not give it anything other than words. We see them take boisterous action when other regions are concerned while they spend without limit. Even worse, African countries are forced to pay for this spending lest they be deprived of the right to vote. There are many well-known examples, and the Secretary-General mentioned some of them at yesterday’s meeting.
The Secretary-General has done his duty according to his terms of reference. He has sent emissaries and representatives and has established ad hoc groups. He has submitted reports and made suggestions and even demands. But he does not have competence to issue resolutions.
The United Nations withdrew from Somalia and let it drown in its conflicts and fade into oblivion. The Somali people are being killed and displaced and their territory is being divided. Angola also is abandoned, except for the provision of weapons and ammunition to the intransigent warring parties. Where is the United Nations when it comes to the Great Lakes, the Horn of Africa and West Africa, except, of course, for the representatives of the United Nations and their reports? The Council has never adopted any resolutions that had any practical effect on them.
Africa’s wounds cannot be healed by good intentions, statements, public debates or even closed sessions. Africa looks to the United Nations to take concrete action on the urgent and persistent issues. Let me briefly address these.
First, with respect to conflicts, it should endorse the studies or decisions that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) has arrived at through the efforts or mediation by African countries. This should be done in accordance with the formula adopted by the OAU without any fundamental or substantive changes, as has happened in regional conflicts where the Council adopted draft resolutions submitted to it by the geographical groups where these conflicts took place. The United Nations should also finance what is needed for the implementation of these resolutions.
Second, with respect to health, an urgent international programme should be set up under the auspices of the United Nations and the OAU, supervised by the World Health Organization, to deal with AIDS treatment, prevention and awareness. This disease threatens the entire continent and must be swiftly dealt with through an international plan of action. It should also adopt a similar international programme against malaria and other endemic diseases. In addition to the United Nations, all countries and international organizations, governmental and non-governmental, foundations, companies and individuals should provide contributions, financial and in kind, to this humanitarian work.
Third, turning to democracy, I would like to note that the meaning of that word, according to its Greek origin, is government by the people. Peoples have the right to govern themselves. Indeed, it is their duty. This means that no one has the right to impose on Africa their own formula for democracy. To achieve democracy, we must take into consideration many objective considerations: political, economic, social, educational and cultural. Some of these considerations are historical and others are still relevant today. There is absolutely no question about the importance and necessity of democracy, but where disagreements arise is when we try to impose a particular model on societies, no matter how alien such a model is to them from the perspective of history or practicality.
To ignore the level and degree of cultural and historical development of societies is to ignore reality and the objective considerations that have formed the particularities of these societies. To try to make reality fit a prefabricated formula is akin to forcing someone into a suit made for someone else. If we were to recall what happened in most industrial societies or so-called democracies only a few decades ago, we would realize that those generations that survived two of the largest wars in this century had not known or even expected the freedoms and rights that exist now.
Only recently generals ruled Portugal, Spain, Greece and other countries in the European Continent. The attempts to impose multiparty systems or parliamentary democracies were among the reasons for the many conflicts that have taken place in African countries. In Africa, belonging to a tribe or a religious sect is much stronger than belonging to a political party or having any intellectual or political affiliation. Political parties in Africa are made up of tribes, religious sects or geographic groups — in Somalia, Rwanda and other countries where there are internal or regional conflicts.
Therefore, if the United Nations wishes to help Africa with respect to democracy, it can do the following: first, refrain from imposing a particular model of democracy and respect the choice of peoples, their history, their particularities and their level of development; second, affirm that any formula to be followed must guarantee freedom, the rule of law, rights and rotation by free popular choice at the local and central level; and, third, invite all Member States to respect these fundamentals and deal with African and other countries economically and politically without the imposition of any formulas or conditions. In addition, international financial institutions and others must not impose any conditions that would prejudice the choice of peoples in governing themselves.
Fourth, with respect to development, the following steps should be taken. First, Africa’s debts should be cancelled. Second, an international technical training programme should be set up. Third, the United Nations Development Programme must prepare studies on agricultural projects that would maximize food and agricultural production. Africa would contribute to these projects through its natural and human resources, and international investment firms would provide financing and technical know-how. Fourth, the United Nations Development Programme must prepare studies on industrial projects for manufacturing basic commodities — agricultural and mineral — where Africa again would contribute raw materials and human resources, and the international investment firms would provide financing and technical know-how in a fair manner applied to all. Fifth, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) must finance infrastructure projects in Africa, such as railroads and highways, and also develop port systems and electrical grids. Sixth, support should be given to the present economic groupings and the economic institutions that the special African summit in Sirte has decided to establish.
Seventh, abandonment of the market economy system. Most of the countries on the continent do not have an economy or a market that conforms to current economic concepts. We must also abandon the clichéd policies of the IMF, which were created and distributed to all countries without taking into account differences. Eighth, the Security Council must not be subjected to pressure from some countries to adopt resolutions imposing sanctions, and it must end such sanctions, as in the case of my country, which has been unjustly treated.
Africa needs concrete actions to be taken to help it heal its wounds and achieve economic, political and social progress. We hope that this discussion will lead to that outcome without any delay.
I thank the representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for the kind words he addressed to me and to my predecessor.
The next speaker is the representative of South Africa. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Thank you, Mr. President, for giving me the opportunity to appear before this body.
I want to associate my delegation with the statement made by the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Reading that statement alongside the statement made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations helps us to become more enlightened about the situation in Africa as it is today.
Last week, at the opening of the General Assembly general debate of the fifty-fourth session, the Secretary-General gave an important address in which he sharply raised the issue of humanitarian intervention in conflict areas. One of the many challenges he posed to the United Nations was contained in the following statement:
“As we seek ways to combat the ancient enemies of war and poverty, we will succeed only if we all adapt our Organization to a world with new actors, new responsibilities and new possibilities for peace and progress.” (A/54/PV.4)
That entire address by the Secretary-General deserves serious discussion in a different forum. It raised issues that are fundamental to the work of our Organization and even relevant to this open meeting on conflicts in Africa.
Today we are here to take stock of developments that have taken place since the Secretary-General issued his report on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa. This report distinguishes itself because of its holistic approach to the sources of conflict in Africa and the valuable guidelines it provides on conflict prevention, management and resolution.
We believe that those guidelines can make profound contributions to the efforts of African countries to assert their sovereignty, rediscover their meaningful role as independent nation States, define their role within the international community and, indeed, rid the continent of the scourge of conflict. My delegation would again like to associate itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the OAU and also with other statements that have been made.
African countries such as ours, which have fought for liberation and against colonial rule with the help and support of the United Nations, believe that it is important for multilateral institutions to provide a forum at which the international community can continue to debate positive ways of articulating and advancing the interests of developing countries in crisis. We note that this debate is taking place on the threshold of a new millennium, and we urge that it spell out concrete steps to be taken to enhance peace, security and development in Africa.
While noting with appreciation that the Security Council remains seized of matters of peace and security in Africa, we believe that similar debates in the General Assembly would add to the collective wisdom needed to address these issues. We further commend the Security Council for its consideration of the Secretary-General’s report, which culminated in its adoption of resolution 1197 (1998), specifying areas of cooperation with the Organization of African Unity that need strengthening so that the OAU is better equipped to play a supportive role with regard to United Nations activities aimed at achieving peace and stability in the continent.
We are equally appreciative of the fact that the Secretary-General’s report resulted in the adoption of General Assembly resolution 53/92 in December 1998. Most important, we strongly support the idea of establishing a follow-up mechanism to implement recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General. This is a bold, meaningful, and action-oriented step that goes beyond mere declarations. It sends a long-overdue, positive message that the United Nations is indeed ready to act on this crucial matter.
Much as we welcome the momentum these resolutions introduced to the debate on peace, stability and development in Africa, it is disheartening to note that little has been done to keep that momentum and to establish an open-ended ad hoc working group of the General Assembly to monitor the implementation of resolution 53/92, or, in particular, to implement the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General. It is incumbent on the United Nations and Member States to rededicate their efforts to the implementation of the provisions of resolution 53/92. Our inaction in this regard, largely due to the lack of political will, is a manifestation of a fundamental problem that continues to impede the United Nations in taking resolute and immediate action. We should not allow this lack of political will to continue to hinder the United Nations from playing its rightful role in the pursuit of international peace and security and thus preventing it from getting closer to the people it should serve.
Whereas the United Nations continues to be the foremost Organization in the maintenance of international peace and security, we African countries would like to declare that we are ready to address issues of conflict in the continent — in fact, we are already doing so. But for us to consolidate our modest successes and increase the authority of the decisions we have taken so far, we will need support from the international community, especially the Security Council.
It is for this reason that most of the leaders who addressed the General Assembly in the general debate last week, including President Mbeki, underscored the importance of creating a more democratic system of international governance, as would be reflected by a restructuring of the multilateral institutions, including the United Nations and the Security Council.
South Africa believes that there exists an intrinsic link between peace and development which requires an integrated approach to conflict prevention, resolution and management. In this regard, we commend all global advocacy for African development and efforts to mobilize the international community further in support of our continent and, in particular, to bring the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions, to support African development within a coordinated framework. Continued support by the international community for this endeavour is of the utmost importance to the efforts of African countries to create an enabling environment for sustainable development as well as for the restructuring of their economies in order to improve their economic situation. The Secretary-General reached the same conclusion when he wrote in paragraph 5 of his report (S/1998/318) on the causes of conflict in Africa:
“By not averting these colossal human tragedies, African leaders have failed the peoples of Africa; the international community has failed them; the United Nations has failed them. We have failed them … by not doing enough to ensure peace; and by our repeated inability to create the conditions for sustainable development. This is the reality of Africa’s recent past. It is a reality that must be confronted honestly and constructively by all concerned if the people of Africa are to enjoy the
human security and economic opportunities they seek and deserve.”
Another frustration experienced by developing countries is the lack of timely and decisive United Nations response to conflict situations in Africa; this has resulted in sharp criticism being levelled at the Organization. Swift United Nations involvement in places such as Kosovo and elsewhere is cited as a typical example epitomizing the lack of enthusiasm for the United Nations responding with similar zeal to African conflicts such as the tragic situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is urgent for the Security Council to move swiftly in deploying the necessary peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo so as to allow the peace process to take hold. In Africa — and elsewhere for that matter — the dangerous notion is beginning to develop that the United Nations is increasingly abrogating its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and ceding it to regional arrangements. Needless to say, it is of utmost importance that the United Nations should improve its record with regard to response to conflict situations. The United Nations has an obligation to be seen by the peoples of the world as a truly even-handed interlocutor and peacemaker.
The trend for the international community to wait for conflicts to develop into violence and even war, and subsequently to intervene through costly peacekeeping operations, no longer reflects a worthy method of intervention. The demand for the United Nations to become involved in preventing the outbreak of hostilities in countries that are caught in conflict, or to clean up after wars, imposes a difficult and expensive mandate on this Organization. At this rate, peacekeeping missions are becoming instruments for freezing conflict, perpetuating polarization and making timely conflict-resolution more difficult. The men and women of violence simply have to wait long enough for United Nations peacekeeping missions to depart from areas of conflict before resuming shooting at each other.
My delegation has already said that we look forward to a debate that will result in concrete steps to inform our activities to enhance peace, stability and development in Africa. Eighteen months after the issuance of the Secretary-General’s report, it cannot escape us that it has become something more concrete. We are pleased that the report has not been forgotten. We realize that the task of putting more life into the report cannot be accomplished by this meeting. However, we hope that by discussing it here we are taking a modest step towards meeting the need for a different format to evaluate and review United Nations measures that can be undertaken to resolve conflicts.