The situation in Africa
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Qin Huasun
|Mr. Ben Mustapha
|Sir Jeremy Greenstock
Adoption of the agenda
The situation in Africa
Invitation to His Excellency Mr. Frederick J. T. Chiluba, President of the Republic of Zambia
It is my honour and privilege to invite the Deputy Secretary-General, the Chief of Protocol and the Ambassador of Zambia to escort His Excellency Mr. Frederick J. T. Chiluba, President of the Republic of Zambia, to a seat at the Council table.
Mr. President, welcome back. We are honoured by your presence.
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Algeria and South Africa, in which they request 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 those representatives 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.
On behalf of the Council, I welcome the Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa, Ms. Nkosazana C. Dlamini-Zuma, and the representative of Algeria, representing the Organization of African Unity.
Welcome to Minister
I am pleased to acknowledge that at this meeting of the Security Council, Namibia will be represented by its Minister for Foreign Affairs, and President of the General Assembly, Mr. Theo-Ben Gurirab.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
I now call on the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ms. Louise Fréchette.
Let me begin by congratulating you, Mr. President, and your country, once again, for the truly historic start you have given to the Council’s activity in the new millennium. Seldom, if ever, can this Chamber have been graced in the space of one month by so many heads of State or Government and by such distinguished representatives of the host country.
You have brought both the executive and the legislative branches of your Government here at a very high level. I believe it may be true to say that as a result, the United Nations and the United States now understand each other better than they have for many years. It may not be too much to hope that this will mark the beginning of a new era of positive engagement by the United States in all aspects of this Organization’s work.
It is particularly gratifying that you have used this opportunity to focus attention on the challenges that face us in Africa. No part of the world is in greater need of our help, and none has greater potential to reward our efforts if we apply them in a wise and timely manner.
Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, is likely to be the world’s fastest-growing region this year in economic terms. And which country is leading this impressive spurt of growth? Mozambique, a country which only a few years ago was in the grip of a civil war apparently as intractable as any of those still raging or smouldering on the continent.
If there is one country in the world where the efforts of the United Nations in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building have made an incontrovertible difference, I suggest that Mozambique would be that country. So let no Afro-pessimist say, therefore, that you in the United States, or we in the Secretariat, or any of the members of this Council are wasting our time in trying to help Africans solve their problems. On the contrary, I am convinced that, if only we can sustain the momentum, the Council’s efforts to mobilize the international community, as well as the continent itself, will make a tangible difference to peace, stability and prosperity in Africa.
I am glad to see that on Friday, European Union ministers, in their turn, began a historic debate on a new and strategic relationship with Africa, focused on reducing poverty and conflict.
In the course of this “month of Africa”, we have seen real and encouraging signs of the understanding, interest, determination and commitment which all sides need to demonstrate if we are to address the root causes of conflict and bring an end to the suffering of so many Africans. We have benefited from the wisdom and sustained attention of several outstanding African leaders, whose interest in solving the continent’s problems clearly goes well beyond the immediate national interests of any one African country. Let me salute, in particular, the contributions made by the African leaders who have stayed with us for this final meeting. I salute President Chiluba of Zambia, as well as the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Theo-Ben Gurirab. I am also very happy to salute the presence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa, Ms. Dlamini-Zuma.
As the Council knows, the Secretary-General of the United Nations has also followed its proceedings with intense interest. A long-standing conflict in another part of the world, Cyprus, requires his presence in Geneva today. But I assure members he is very much with us in spirit, and I shall give him a full account of the Council’s deliberations when he returns to New York tomorrow.
By devoting its very first meeting of the new millennium to the question of AIDS, the Council recognized the epidemic as a security threat for Africa, both as a direct killer of millions of Africans and as an agent of social, economic and political instability. Members of the Council showed a clear understanding that it would make no sense for the international community to try to address peace and security issues on the continent without bringing HIV/AIDS into the picture.
Many important proposals were made during the debate and must be followed up energetically. All in all, a new impetus has been given to the fight against this most cruel of diseases and to the alliance against AIDS in Africa which is currently being built under the leadership of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). I particularly welcome the pledges of material support for this struggle given by Vice-President Gore and other representatives of donor Governments.
The discussions on Burundi also yielded clear signs of a stronger intent to overcome the current stalemate. President Mandela’s wisdom and faith once again proved invaluable. In thank him most sincerely for the trust he showed in the Council by coming to take part in its debate, and for the unforgettable statements he delivered both here and in Arusha.
Similarly, when it came to the even more complex problems of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, no fewer than seven African heads of State joined your own Secretary of State, Mr. President, in giving us new hope by their presence and by their words. They reaffirmed their commitment to finding a peaceful solution to what Mrs. Albright has aptly named “Africa’s first world war”.
The Lusaka Agreement — already in itself an important example of Africa’s renewed determination to tackle its own problems — thereby received a major boost. All the States which had signed it solemnly reaffirmed their commitment to it. And the fact that a statesman of such wisdom and moral authority as Sir Ketumile Masire has agreed to act as facilitator in the next phase of negotiations is certainly a source of hope.
The Council has since been working hard to finalize a draft resolution which would enable us at last to deploy the promised 500 military observers and support troops. If all goes well, this should lead on to a major new peacekeeping and peace-building effort, which will demonstrate beyond any doubt the seriousness of the international community’s commitment to resolving conflict in Africa.
In Sierra Leone, the peace process is further advanced but still very fragile. Nowhere in Africa, at this moment, has the United Nations taken on a greater responsibility. I am glad that discussions during this month have moved us closer to having the mandate and the resources we need to carry out that responsibility, and I hope that next week the Council will be able to adopt a resolution to that effect, as planned.
In Angola, the Council’s discussions have at least helped bring the protracted conflict there back into clearer international focus, and I am grateful for that. The important work of the Council’s Committee on sanctions, led by Ambassador Fowler, must now be carried forward in order to reinforce the push for peace.
No less important was the debate the Council held on the harrowing problem of refugees and displaced persons in Africa. These unhappy people merit our attention every bit as much as their counterparts in other parts of the world. I hope that the spotlight that the Council has focused on them will result in more generous funding of the humanitarian appeals which the United Nations has launched on their behalf.
And I must thank the Council also for drawing attention to the discrimination which often affects the internally displaced, an issue which has long preoccupied the humanitarian branches of the United Nations family but which until now has seldom caught the eye of political leaders or the international media.
If I were to sum up the achievement of this month in a single phrase, I should say that the Council has spectacularly reaffirmed its long-standing engagement with Africa, and in doing so has shown a greater sense of urgency than ever before.
But we all know that the real measure of our achievements, if such they are, will not to be found in this room. It can only be found on the African continent itself, in the peace we are able to restore or maintain, and the relief we are able to bring to the sufferings of so many innocent people. So the real issue is: where do we go from here?
Council presidencies come and go as the months pass, but Africa, with its deep wounds and its heroic efforts, remains with us month after month. Our commitment to heal those wounds and to support those efforts is worth nothing unless it matches deeds to words; unless it is strong and, above all, sustained.
And African leaders on their side must not forget something they have heard over and over in this Chamber during the past few weeks: that no amount of international support can help them unless they themselves show statesmanship and real political will.
No one imagines that their task is easy. The cause of peace and development requires many painful sacrifices and courageous compromises. But the pain and the risk will surely be worthwhile if they give the peoples of Africa a real chance to build a peaceful and prosperous future for themselves and for their children.
For my part, on behalf of the Secretariat, I pledge that we will do everything possible to sustain the momentum that this “month of Africa” has generated, and to make sure that it is effectively harnessed within the United Nations system. I am confident that members of the Council will do the same.
I am very touched by the Deputy Secretary-General’s remarks; she captured the essence of what the presidency tried to do this month. I would only stress that the extraordinary unanimous support of all the other 14 members of the Security Council was critical to this, in its every aspect. And I underline the point that the test is in one word: follow-up.
Let me bring to the Council’s attention that we are graced again this morning by the presence of President Clinton’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes area, Ambassador Howard Wolpe, who is well known to most members as the most senior person in the United States Government who has spent his career in Africa.
I am also very pleased to acknowledge that we have been joined by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Namibia and President of the General Assembly — and, as it also turns out, a part-time North Carolina constituent — His Excellency Mr. Theo-Ben Gurirab. We welcome him and look forward to hearing his statement.
I call next on His Excellency Mr. Frederick J.T. Chiluba, President of the Republic of Zambia. I thank him for remaining in New York over the weekend to give us a farewell charge on behalf of himself and of his great country, and in his extraordinarily important capacity as the leader of the Lusaka process. I welcome him to the Security Council for the second time in a week.
Today marks the end of an unprecedented and highly significant month for Africa in the Security Council, during which a number of very important issues affecting the continent have been addressed. As Africans, we wish to thank you, Ambassador Holbrooke, not only for taking the initiative to convene these special meetings during your country’s presidency, but also for the trouble you personally took to visit a number of African countries to consult on the matter. Your tour of Africa demonstrated the importance that the Clinton Administration continues to attach to African issues. We wish, in that connection, to express our appreciation for this gesture of friendship and for the extension of a hand of partnership to Africa.
I also wish to commend the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for his unrelenting efforts and his total commitment to the search for peaceful and lasting solutions to problems affecting all of us. I further wish to acknowledge the support which the members of the Security Council and other Members of the United Nations have demonstrated regarding the African issues addressed during the month.
During the past month, the Security Council has discussed the questions of the scourge of HIV/AIDS, the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons, the Burundi peace process, the war in Angola and the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as they impact on peace and security in Africa. All of these situations have had a negative impact on the populations of Africa and have, in varying degrees, presented critical challenges to peace and stability on the continent. These challenges call for answers today and not tomorrow.
The AIDS pandemic today threatens to wipe out the most productive sectors of our populations. AIDS is already having catastrophic consequences for the peace and development of our countries, which, as the Secretary-General observed when he addressed the Security Council during its debate on the impact of AIDS on peace and security in Africa, are no less destructive than those of warfare itself.
African countries have adopted serious measures to address the pandemic. This can be seen from the results of the Eleventh International Conference on AIDS in Africa, held in Lusaka in September last year. AIDS is, however, a catastrophe that transcends borders. It is too big for Africa to confront on her own. We therefore welcome and deeply appreciate the interest that the United States Administration and the United Nations have manifested in our plight by tabling the AIDS question during the “month of Africa”. It is our hope that this interest will soon translate into practical measures.
The problem of refugees and internally displaced persons in Africa has not only been a humanitarian disaster in itself; it also continues to pose a real threat to peace and stability in the countries where conflict has occurred. Here again, as in the case of the AIDS pandemic, Africa welcomes the support of the international community in the search for comprehensive solutions, solutions that get at the root cause of conflict, which leads to the problem of internally displaced persons and refugees.
The situation in Burundi, as this body heard in the discussions on the matter, calls for the concerted efforts of the United Nations and the international community at large. The only hope at the moment for finding a durable and peaceful settlement to the Burundi conflict lies in the ongoing Arusha peace process under the facilitation of Mr. Nelson Mandela.
With regard to the situation in Angola, Mr. Jonas Savimbi today bears the primary responsibility for the continuation of the war in that country. Mr. Savimbi has abrogated his responsibilities under the Lusaka Protocol, to which his party voluntarily committed itself in November 1994. He has thus prolonged the war and caused a tragic humanitarian catastrophe in Angola and in neighbouring countries. As a neighbour of Angola, Zambia can bear witness to this daily humanitarian tragedy. The tragedy of Angola, however, also extends to an international cartel of illegal suppliers of arms and ammunition, who have perpetuated the war in that country. The international community should speak with one voice and assume the responsibility for exposing these arms traffickers who are sustaining conflicts all over Africa.
The peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been the main focus of my visit to New York. The reaffirmation of commitment by the parties to the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and their pledge to guarantee the safety, security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel are some of the major achievements of this special session. My appeal to the Council is that it meet the parties half way by expediting the process of deployment of the recommended 5,537 military personnel under the second phase and of a peacekeeping mission under the third phase, in order to build on the momentum already gathered by this very important session.
The importance of the programme of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) to the successful implementation of the Agreement cannot be overemphasized. I therefore welcome the initiative of the World Bank and the United Nations Children’s Fund to finance the first phase of the DDR programme initiated by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1997. It is my hope that the subsequent meetings of the Political Committee of the Joint Military Commission will work out and finalize plans for the second phase of the DDR programme outlined under chapter 9 of the Lusaka Agreement.
However, I wish to emphasize also that the deployment of a peacekeeping mission is not an end in itself but is intended to facilitate the charting of a long-term, new internal political dispensation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — for which, we all know, President Sir Ketumile Masire has been appointed. It is to this end that the international community should commit sufficient resources to the inter-Congolese political negotiations. It is my very sincere belief that if the internal process does not succeed, we risk returning to square one. I therefore wish to take this opportunity to thank those countries that have already pledged contributions towards these negotiations.
Let me hasten to point out here that the issues arising from the conflict situations that we have been addressing this month are not unique to those countries, no they are not; nor are they indeed unique to the regions concerned. Rather, these problems are common to Africa. They also hinge on adherence to obligations under international conventions and norms.
When we convened last week to discuss the deadlock in the implementation of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, the main issue that preoccupied all our minds was the reaffirmation of the commitment of the parties to the Agreement that they all voluntarily signed. One of the most important messages of the special session on the Democratic Republic of the Congo is of the need to adhere to the international law principle of pacta sunt servanda, meaning that agreements and stipulations of the parties to a contract or treaty must be observed or respected.
More lessons have to be drawn from the “month of Africa”, especially in relation to the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These lessons should, however, also be seen in the context of the hope that they will bring for Africa in the twenty-first century.
One of the rallying calls in last week’s debate had to do with the question of adequately addressing the external dimension of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and of the need, therefore, to convene an international conference on peace and security in the Great Lakes region. It has been our conviction in the region that the problem in the Democratic Republic of the Congo extends far beyond the territorial boundaries of the country. Thus permanent and comprehensive solution requires the consideration of the root causes of the problem. This would entail addressing issues both of peace and security and those of democracy and the development of the countries in the region, as peace is more than just the absence of war.
With regard to the internal dimension, I wish to appeal to the international community to show greater understanding as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or indeed any other African country, embarks on its democratization programme. Africa in general has had a vision of promoting principles of democracy and of building democratic institutions.
Admittedly, there have been some lapses on the continent. Africa’s resolve over the past 10 years, however, has been such that even when such lapses have occurred we have picked up the pieces and moved forward. During the thirty-fifth ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which was held in Algeria, we made a further decision to suspend from participation in future OAU meetings any country whose Government assumed power through unconstitutional means, with effect from last year. Africa today believes that it is only through an inclusive political system that citizens can contribute towards shaping the destiny of their countries.
With specific reference to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is our hope that once peace is consolidated in that country, and democracy is allowed to flourish and political and economic stability prevail, the international community will be able to provide direct investment to that country. It is equally our hope that international financial institutions and Governments alike will be able to consider cancelling the debt of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to allow the country to start its economic reconstruction on a fresh note.
I wish to reiterate that Africa has the resolve, determination and vision to work for peace and development in the twenty-first century. However, the vision can be realized only if Africa works in partnership with its global allies, as Africa is not an island. Yesterday Africa needed — and still needs — the assistance and cooperation of the international community. She needs them today, and she needs them in the future.
We thank President Chiluba from the bottom of our hearts for staying and for giving us this important mission. I am sure my colleagues will join me in saying that we will pay close attention to this question and will welcome him back to the Security Council whenever he wishes to ask us to help once again accelerate and reinforce the Lusaka peace process. We listened with great attention to his wisdom and to his very kind words about us.
First of all, I should like to welcome Mr. Howard Wolpe, a personal friend of long standing who continues to provide service to Africa beyond his days in Washington as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa.
Before I proceed with my statement, let me say that a Kenya Airways Airbus flight with 168 passengers and 10 crew members crashed into the sea en route from Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, to Nairobi, via Lagos, Nigeria. Without a passengers’ manifest, we will not know for some time the nationalities of all the people who perished. We are shocked and saddened by this tragedy, and we express our sympathy and condolences to the Government and people of Kenya and to the other nations at this hour of grief and sorrow.
As we conclude this unprecedented “Month of Africa”, dedicated to African issues and to the search for solutions to them, we can look back with appreciation on the immense efforts expended by the American presidency, at many levels, in managing the meetings and organizing various useful consultations that brought all the interested parties together. It was your baby, Mr. President, and we once again salute you for your brilliant leadership and commend your dutiful associates for a job well done.
We are heartened to see that President Chiluba chose to delay his departure in order to participate personally in this wrap-up Council meeting. President Chiluba is coordinating, with immense conviction, the peace process concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo and also, in particular, spearheading the speedy implementation of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement. His important statement this morning has forcefully renewed the urgency of moving the process forward and removing all the obstacles, so that we can concentrate on the real problems of how to achieve progress, instead of wasting time and resources on needless political gamesmanship.
We are also happy to see here the Foreign Minister of South Africa and the representative of the current Chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), President Bouteflika of Algeria. My sister, Ms. Zuma, celebrated her birthday during this “Month of Africa” in New York, under the frigid weather conditions, away from the tropical sunshine, as did my brother, Mr. Salim. And, believe it or not, yours truly did as well.
I know that they have been working hard during their stay in New York with a view to accelerating the implementation of the commitments collectively made here by the African regional leaders and the Security Council. The United Nations Secretary-General too has shared with the leaders his road map for the effective deployment of the United Nations peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The presidential statement adopted last Wednesday and the draft resolution that the Council will consider must further strengthen the momentum as we proceed, bearing in mind the forthcoming summit of regional leaders in Lusaka, as a follow-up to the “Month of Africa”.
The unprecedented meeting that you, Mr. President, convened on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was attended by many African heads of State. For the first time, heads of State parties to a conflict addressed the Security Council. Indeed, these leaders once again reiterated their commitment to the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, which has created a momentum that will encourage all of us to shoulder our collective responsibilities for the full and speedy implementation of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement. Just as the leaders have renewed their commitment, we expect that the Security Council and the international community as a whole will also commit themselves to doing the same.
With this in mind, we repeat our appeal to the international community to provide the required material assistance and political support to the Joint Military Commission (JMC). To this end, we are strengthened in our expectation by the pledges made by Canada, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Japan and other friendly countries to the JMC and towards buttressing the inter-Congolese dialogue, under the able direction of Sir Ketumile Masire. We thank them all for this demonstrated generosity and call upon other friends and partners to emulate them.
The leaders have done their part: they signed the Ceasefire Agreement, continue to uphold it under difficult conditions and travelled all the way to New York to reaffirm their commitment to go forward. The Security Council must not delay the authorization of the speedy deployment of military observers, to be followed by a full-fledged peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Here we would like to emphasize the importance of providing that peacekeeping force, under a Chapter VII mandate, with logistical and financial resources to deal with the situation on the ground and hasten the achievement of peace, stability and reconciliation in the country.
We will cooperate with your delegation, Mr. President, and the other delegations in the Security Council to ensure that unnecessary delay in authorizing the deployment of the military observers and peacekeepers is averted. We believe that Argentina will start its presidency tomorrow on a firm foundation, and we admire Ambassador Listre’s personal attributes and devotion to the principles and ideals of the United Nations Charter.
We all agree that the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has internal and external dimensions. Also, the economic and social problems confronting the Congolese people today are a result of over 30 years of the cruellest dictatorship, abuse and neglect. Therefore, the international community should assist that people in their efforts to build and consolidate a new and inclusive dispensation. While the Congolese people are working towards democratizing their country, it is important that other countries in the region should democratize likewise.
In terms of the reconstruction of the Great Lakes region and Central Africa, the proposal made by the delegation of France for an international conference on peace, stability, democracy and development in the region, to be organized by the United Nations and the OAU is long overdue, as it is critical for the security, development and prosperity of all. Namibia supports this proposal fully. I take note of the same position expressed by President Chiluba.
In African culture, a homeless person is considered a rootless, disoriented and alienated orphan. Homelessness is a personal disgrace and a shame to one’s lineage, accompanied by huge mental trauma. It is therefore no surprise that Africans, as well as, happily, many other delegations and indeed, no less a person than the indefatigable United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mrs. Ogata — have called for urgent and increased assistance to mitigate the inhuman and shameful situation in which many millions of African refugees and internally displaced persons find themselves. Generous and sustained assistance in response to the United Nations Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeals to help these unfortunate fellow human beings is urgently required. These women, men and children are helplessly trapped in armed conflict and civil wars. They yearn for world solidarity.
Once again, it is imperative that the unceasing provision of arms to rebel movements and other armed groups in Africa end if the continent is to enjoy lasting peace, security and stability. Arms-producing countries, most of which are non-African, can assist us in this regard by ensuring that this dangerous phenomenon is prevented.
On another troubled front, we have all heard the statistics on HIV/AIDS in Africa and have been told about its devastating effects. We call again on our trustworthy friends and partners to work with us in containing and eventually defeating this global pandemic, which is worst in Africa.
Former President Mandela, with great passion, expressed his vision for the Arusha peace process. These are, in part, his words:
“The misery of the Burundian people affects us all and diminishes the humanity of all of us. The international community turns its attention and its energy to this matter not as a favour to that country or continent. The failure of those responsible to provide conditions of security and social development to the people of Burundi does not represent some errant occurrence on the periphery. It hits at the heart of our common human obligation… These are amongst the most sensitive issues in the negotiations and will have to be faced squarely if the process is to lead to a durable peace in Burundi.” (S/PV.4091, pp. 4-5)
Moreover, at the same meeting of the Council on Burundi, it was recognized that it is important to provide the Arusha peace process with abundant support. We are hopeful that such support — political, logistical and financial — will continue to be extended to President Mandela to carry out his mandate successfully in the shortest possible time. This, we know, is the burning wish of the majority of the suffering people of Burundi. We must avoid at all costs another human disaster in that country.
Regarding the situation in Angola, the concerns expressed in the Council were multiple, but the humanitarian situation was at the top of the list of priorities, with many thousands of refugees crossing into the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia and Namibia in dire need of food, shelter and health care. We expect that with the extension of State administration throughout the territory, normalcy and safety will soon be re-established. In this context, the donor community should generously continue contributing both financially and in kind to the United Nations Inter-Agency Appeal for Angola to assist the relevant agencies to do their life-saving work effectively.
We welcome the reiteration by the Angolan Government of its commitment to the Lusaka Protocol. This makes the task of the United Nations, the OAU and the Southern African Development Community easier. It is also noteworthy that the Government has ratified the Status-of-Mission Agreement. This will, no doubt, be followed by practical arrangements for the Mission to start its work in earnest. We once again demand that UNITA comply with its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol and Security Council resolutions without any conditions.
In this context, we strongly applaud Ambassador Robert Fowler for his imaginative and active Chairmanship and for the excellent work being done by the sanctions Committee on Angola. We await the consideration by the Council of the full report and the recommendations on the violations of its sanctions imposed against UNITA. Member States and all others must comply with their obligations in stopping assistance to and collaboration with UNITA.
Let me conclude by stating that while human beings are habitually linked to the past, our salvation is essentially a function of how we prepare ourselves for the future. Thus, as we move further into the twenty-first century, rather than remaining for ever prisoners of the past, we must, without forgetting the past, look to the future, armed with determination and confidence; and as we leave this memorable encounter in New York, we must act together for the good of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa, the United Nations and the world at large. That will, indeed, be the most precious gift that we can give to the children of the world. So let us begin that difficult but inevitably rewarding journey now.
I thank the Foreign Minister of Namibia for his extremely important statement and for his kind words addressed to Ambassador Wolpe, to me and to the American presidency. I would simply like to make one comment: as President of the General Assembly, he will officially be receiving a letter from some of the members of the Security Council proposing that the General Assembly, too, consider the question of AIDS. That letter will reach him later in the day; I want everyone here to know that it is on its way. The lead has been taken by three members of the Security Council, who will probably mention the matter later.
It is now my great privilege to call on the Foreign Minister of South Africa, Ms. Dlamini-Zuma. I again welcome her to the Security Council; we await her statement with great interest.
First, my Government would like to thank the delegation of the United States for devoting the month of its presidency of the Security Council to Africa. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for all the efforts he has devoted to solving African problems. We have, indeed, come to the end of an extraordinary month in the Security Council during which various difficult issues relating to Africa have been discussed, some for the very first time. We may not have found lasting solutions to these issues, but we have, indeed, made some progress towards achieving lasting peace. It has been Africa’s privilege for several of our Presidents to appear before this body.
Quite understandably, much of the attention has been focused on the few conflict areas in Africa, which threaten the lives, liberty and homes of so many of our people. The cost in blood and lost opportunities of the conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Burundi and Sierra Leone is already far too high. President Chiluba has eloquently given details about the various conflicts and what needs to be done, and my brother, Mr. Gurirab, has done the same. Of course, in my culture, I would not have spoken after President Chiluba and my brother; in my culture, youths do not speak after their elders. But I have to obey the protocol of the Security Council.
I note that the President of the General Assembly is signalling his dissent on this point.
It does not refer to age; it refers to station in life.
The Lusaka Agreement tries to offer a comprehensive solution to a very complex conflict. It is therefore important to note that the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is multidimensional, and if one aspect of the Lusaka Agreement is left out in its implementation, we may never see lasting peace in that country. We therefore look forward to the speedy adoption of a draft resolution that will move forward the implementation of the Lusaka Agreement.
I believe we have made steady progress on some of these issues, and we look to the concerned parties, as well as to the Security Council, to help bring about lasting peace in these troubled areas. Even in these difficult times, I would like to say that it is incumbent upon all of us to let our actions be guided by the realization that there is an Africa quite distinct from the bloody killing fields, and that we should not look at Africa as only a place of conflict. There is an Africa where the seeds of democracy and tolerance have fallen on fertile ground and are bearing fruit that is healthy and sweet.
The majority of Africans now live under systems of democratic governance and are free to elect those to whom they entrust the responsibility of leadership and to determine their own future. A large number of African countries have recently conducted successful democratic elections, and others are preparing to do so, thereby providing democracy with a fair chance.
The people of Africa have become the torch-bearers of a silent democratic revolution; they have cast their vote for a future of democracy and peace. Not only do we hold these noble values dear in their own right, but we nurture them as the vital preconditions for a process of sustainable development and a prosperous future. This, indeed, heralds the dawn of the “African century”, during which we believe Africa will accomplish a lot.
It is a cruel reality, however, that as Africa is gathering its strength and energy to prepare for its rebirth, the scourge of HIV/AIDS, with its terrifying consequences for Africa and the entire world, is ravaging our continent. This is a health, social, economic and political challenge that threatens to decimate Africa and other parts of the world. Unless the epidemic is stopped, the “African century” may not be realized. Many African countries, including my own, have launched massive HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns with the limited resources available. Some of these have met with startling success, but in and of themselves, they will probably not be sufficient to turn the tide decisively. The international community must stand shoulder to shoulder with Africa in the grim struggle against this disease — a disease that recognizes no boundary, be it geographic, political or economic.
The time has come for a strengthening of the relationship between Africa and the international community. It must be built on mutual cooperation and respect, with the international community not only involving itself in Africa in times of crisis, but engaging on a long-term and sustainable basis in the development of Africa. We salute the initiatives already launched by some countries and organizations in this regard. However, much remains to be done.
A closer partnership has to be forged between Africa and the developed world in order to help build upon the positive trends which we are observing in the continent, in both the political and economic fields. The African continent, however, needs sustainable development in the long term so that everyone can enjoy a decent standard of living.
The Security Council, in carrying out its mandate for the maintenance of peace and security around the world, can play a critical role in guaranteeing conditions of peace and stability, which will allow for development to take hold. This remains an enormous challenge. I am convinced, however, that the United Nations and its agencies can play an even greater role in the uplift of our continent. We should thus all consider how this very influential global body can maximize its efforts to this end in the millennium that lies ahead of us. And I believe that this “month of Africa” in the Security Council has made a significant contribution towards achieving that goal.
Once more, I should like to thank you, Sir, and to wish the members of the Security Council and the incoming President, Argentina, all the best in moving the process of peace and stability in our continent forward.
I thank the Foreign Minister of South Africa for her kind words addressed to the American presidency. I hope that she will be able to remain with us as long as her schedule permits — I know how tight it is — because, after the round of comments, we hope to follow what we call the “Greenstock rules” and have a very open exchange of views involving, first and foremost, President Chiluba, the President of the General Assembly and herself.
Our next speaker is my friend the representative of Algeria, speaking on behalf of the Organization of African Unity. We regret that Mr. Salim Salim had to return unexpectedly to Africa, but the representative of Algeria is a more than inadequate substitute.
At its summit meeting in Algiers, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) declared 2000 the year of peace, security and solidarity on our continent. You yourself, Sir, chose to make the first month of the new millennium the “month of Africa”, which, in many ways, it effectively has been. In giving of yourself generously to our cause you have served Africa well, for which we thank you.
Conflicts that for too long have pitted brothers and neighbours against one another have benefited from the attention of the Security Council. Tragedies that have plunged millions of Africans into mourning and that are often both the cause and the direct or indirect consequence of these conflicts have also appeared on the Council’s agenda. Even the mass media, which are frequently heedless of Africa and indifferent to its sufferings, efforts and hopes have, in the course of your outstanding presidency, honoured our continent with their interest.
Now that your presidency is coming to an end and media interest has peaked, we feel it fitting and useful to endeavour, in serenity and transparency, to draw conclusions from what has been said within these walls, to recall the forceful images we have each preserved of the presence of so many illustrious African heads of State, to take the measure of the commitments undertaken so as to make them reality and, in the long run, to open new prospects for the relationship Africa seeks to establish with the United Nations.
What we must stress from the start is the tremendous will of African countries to close the chapter on conflict once and for all. Whether concerning the dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the situation in Burundi or in Sierra Leone, or yet again in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa has indeed, with painstaking and subtle efforts, prepared its own settlement plans and launched processes to re-establish confidence among belligerents and to restore peace, security and stability.
This determination of Africa to reconcile and to set out on the road to recovery has been brilliantly reasserted in this Chamber during this “month of Africa”. If that is what was expected of Africa, which it had solemnly undertaken last July in Algiers to accomplish, today it is a done deal.
Now that the Security Council, here in New York, has taken note of the sovereign determination of Africa to live in peace and to abide by the commitments which its leaders have freely undertaken, it must go beyond making declarations of its good intentions and, without hesitation or delay, offer our continent the support and assistance to which it is entitled.
This will require the Council above all to discard its former attitude to Africa, particularly with regard to the deployment of peacekeeping forces. This is clearly relevant to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the OAU’s Joint Military Commission has managed, not without difficulty and despite the conspicuous shortage of men and means, to ensure overall respect for the cessation of hostilities and where the Lusaka process cannot be properly brought to term unless the Security Council authorizes deployment in the field of enough Blue Helmets entrusted with the authority necessary to ensure a genuine return to peace.
In this respect, the Lusaka Agreement, to which the parties have reiterated their commitment and the Security Council its support, is very clear in its call for close coordination between the OAU and the United Nations, which we feel to be absolutely essential to the success of the Lusaka process and must therefore be further strengthened with the full agreement of the parties, in all confidence and transparency. The speedy adoption of a resolution authorizing the deployment of 500 observers and of the four battalions to accompany them would, in this regard, send a strong message that the Security Council has heard and understood the message of Africa.
This would require the Security Council in all cases to maintain its vigilance over the other conflicts besetting the continent and to continue to give its full political support to the efforts being made by the OAU to contain the hotbeds of tension and to achieve or consolidate peace. It must also demonstrate its readiness, goodwill and celerity whenever the pan-African organization needs its technical, logistical, financial or peacekeeping assistance.
It will also require the Council’s activities to raise international public awareness of the tragedies caused by the spread of HIV/AIDS and of refugees to be followed up and effectively broadcast to the appropriate forums: the General Assembly, where a Working Group on Africa is preparing to begin its work; the Economic and Social Council, the Bretton Woods institutions and the specialized agencies of the United Nations system.
Lastly, it will require the initiation of more joint endeavours and greater coordination between the OAU and the United Nations on African questions. In the case of the Security Council, both the chairmanship of the OAU and the Secretariat must be closely associated with the consultation and decision-making process. In this context, I welcome the opportunity to share with the Council today some of Africa’s concerns and expectations.
Moreover, as pointed out in the last Security Council meetings of December 1999, we could try to begin regular and more structured consultations between the Council and the OAU. Dispatching joint envoys, establishing working groups and holding joint meetings could also be useful and appropriate.
Similarly, United Nations strengthening of African capabilities in peacekeeping, including through troop training, exchanges of personnel and arrangements establishing logistical partnerships, are ways and means worth exploring.
More than that, what Africa, in its desire to rebuild, expects from the United Nations is that the Organization will accompany it in its recovery effort and that it will help mobilize the financial resources it desperately needs, which shrink year by year, even as the debt burden becomes heavier and export commodity prices become less and less profitable.
In tackling the causes of underdevelopment with determination, as it does today, and in working to promote human rights and democracy, Africa understands well that poverty, ignorance and intolerance are at the root of the conflicts tearing it apart. Here is an area where the Security Council could usefully intervene in order to prevent conflicts that otherwise would be more costly in terms of personnel and resources. Once conflicts have been controlled, the other Council, the Economic and Social Council, should act in coordination with the Security Council in the peace-building process by helping restore trust, stability and normalcy.
These are the initial conclusions the presidency of the OAU wished to share with the Council at the end of a month in which Africa has been at the centre of the international community’s concerns. It hopes that they will be fully taken into account and that the Council, far from tiring of Africa, will continue to give it its full attention and that under the Russian presidency of the Council, during the last month of the year 2000, there will be a more peaceful, secure and united Africa; in other words, a renewal of our continent.
It is our highest hope that before we adjourn this meeting we will be able to hear informal responses from President Chiluba, Foreign Minister Dlamini-Zuma and Foreign Minister Gurirab and have an exchange of views under what I like to call “the Greenstock rules”. I would only point out that I have been wholly unsuccessful this month in imposing the kind of discipline in the Council that Ambassador Greenstock did last month. I will leave it to the members to decide why he has greater influence than I do over this process. But I do hope we will be able to hear from President Chiluba and Foreign Minister Dlamini-Zuma, in particular since I know both of them are planning to leave the United States later today.
Members of the Council will now speak, beginning with the representative of the People’s Republic of China. This will be truly his last appearance with us as China’s Permanent Representative. I know he said that before and was asked to stay. We are very glad that he remained for this important debate. We thank you for extending your stay with us, Mr. Ambassador, over the last week when you had other plans. We welcome you to hear your statement and we once again wish you a very good onward mission on behalf of your great country.
At the outset, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, please allow me to welcome President Chiluba of Zambia, the Foreign Minister of Namibia and President of the General Assembly, Mr. Gurirab, Foreign Minister Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa, the representative of the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity and other distinguished guests at today’s meeting.
I also wish to express my appreciation to you, Mr. President, and the Permanent Mission of the United States for your outstanding performance, and to thank you for your kind words and best wishes just expressed on my departure. My many years at the United Nations, and especially in the Security Council, are no doubt going to be the most memorable part of my diplomatic career. I wish to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues present, all Permanent Representatives and the Secretariat officers and staff for the support and cooperation they have accorded to me and to the Permanent Mission of China in the last few years.
The timely and effective resolution of conflicts in Africa has always been a major task for the Security Council. In the past few years I have sat through many meetings on African issues in the Council Chamber. There have been successes as well as failures, encouraging progress as well as setbacks. We are heartened to see that the situations in the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and many other places are moving towards stability. At the same time, we note with concern that the proposed referendum in Western Sahara is still elusive. Chaos reigns and fighting rages on in Somalia, and the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo drags on.
It is fair to say that in recent years the Council has made some efforts towards resolving African issues. After the Secretary-General submitted a comprehensive report on Africa in 1998, the Council held open debates on the report and adopted a series of follow-up actions. Meetings were convened at the level of Foreign Minister twice in the Council, in 1997 and 1998, to discuss African issues. We also met last year many times in this Chamber to review these issues.
We should also note, however, that the Council’s action so far is far from adequate. There is still more rhetoric than real action. In the aftermath of the crises in Kosovo and East Timor, the Council has been under increasing criticism from African countries and the international community for applying double standards. Bridging this gap expeditiously is a great challenge for the Council.
It is gratifying to note that the Council has realized this and is in the process of redressing the problem. In the first month of the new millennium, we have discussed a number of African issues, such as the situations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and Burundi, as well as refugees and HIV/AIDS in Africa. I understand that we are preparing a draft resolution on dispatching military observers and troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We sincerely hope that this momentum will be maintained and that concrete results will be achieved at an early date.
This is the last Security Council meeting at which I shall be present. I remember that on 29 September last year, I made a five-point observation on how the international community should deal with African issues. I do not wish to repeat those points today. I wish, however, to emphasize that the Council, as a matter of principle, should give priority to African issues, heed the views of African countries and peoples, demonstrate the necessary political will, commit adequate material and financial resources and work closely with regional organizations in Africa. By doing so it will surely contribute even more to the prevention and resolution of conflicts on the African continent and will play an even more active role in carrying out its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, as entrusted to it by the Charter of the United Nations.
China has always attached great importance to African issues, supported the legitimate demands and reasonable positions of African countries and participated actively in Council deliberations on Africa. That is why my Government instructed me to postpone my departure so that I could be present at last week’s open debate on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and at today’s wrap-up. I wish to emphasize that the Chinese Government is ready to join the rest of the world in rededicating ourselves to resolving African issues and to helping bring peace and stability to the African people as soon as possible.
Allow me first of all to associate myself with the condolences expressed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Namibia to our friends in Kenya in connection with the recent air disaster there.
I wish also to express our gratitude to the President of Zambia and to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa for having joined us here today.
The very timely debate undertaken at your initiative, Sir, has enabled us during the past few weeks under your presidency to combine general deliberations with deliberations on a number of topics and with the consideration of several specific situations, in the hope that by pooling general and specific deliberations we would be able to agree on concrete action.
On our general deliberations, I believe that taken as a whole the debate you initiated, Sir, enabled us to engage in a prioity assessment of the international community’s need to continue to stand by Africa, as was stressed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa, and to emphasize the need for assistance: official assistance. Much has been said about progress linked to globalization and about the merits of growing international trade as a substitute for official assistance. But I believe that the facts show that official development assistance continues to be an absolute necessity; we must provide such assistance.
Even the quite different, private meeting you organized, Sir, with Senator Jesse Helms was not without its usefulness; Senator Helms made reference to the assistance provided by his country and linked it with United Nations resolutions, which was a good thing. This demonstrated that he understands that the United States is obliged in all respects to implement United Nations resolutions. But, to cite just one example, the figure for official development assistance provided by France — a far less wealthy country than the United States — is virtually identical to the total figure mentioned by Senator Helms. This, I believe, shows that a great deal still remains to be done and that everyone must make an effort to come closer to the percentages agreed upon by the United Nations and the international community for official development assistance.
There must be assistance, as a priority, for Africa. We must acknowledge that, at the origin of so many difficulties, crises and conflicts, there lies the problem of poverty and destitution.
There must be assistance for refugees and displaced persons. Here, Mrs. Ogata’s statement was of great interest. She proved that she knew how to be flexible with respect to the statute of her Office and to provide assistance to displaced persons, not solely to refugees. You too, Mr. President, have focused the Council’s attention on this matter in a most useful way. Clearly, in the face of situations such as those in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is imperative that we find the means to help internally displaced persons, as well as refugees — irrespective of administrative, technical and constitutional issues. In that connection, your comments, Sir, and those of Mrs. Ogata were most welcome.
There must be assistance to combat the AIDS epidemic, a scourge which has been shown to be one cause of instability and crisis in Africa. Here, let me mention one argument developed by a number of delegations during the debate: preventive measures are not enough; it is necessary also to treat the sick and work to restore them to an adequate state of health. Otherwise, our efforts will be marked by striking inequality, with prevention in the countries of the South and treatment in the countries of the North: an inequality favouring AIDS patients in the countries of the North and marked by a discontinuity between the two approaches. I stress that we must convene a conference making it possible for the countries of the South to have access to medicine and treatment on affordable terms.
There must, of course, be assistance to help African countries to restore peace, including by means of peacekeeping operations. As Ms. Fréchette rightly noted, Mozambique is a very good example, where there has not been a failure. There are a number of other examples that could be cautiously mentioned as well, including what the United Nations has done in the Central African Republic, which has made possible a degree of stabilization sufficient to allow elections to be held in acceptable conditions. But a United Nations operation was required for this to take place.
Let me also note the success of United Nations action in Guinea-Bissau. To be sure, it took place far from the television cameras and was carried out with great discretion. I believe that the Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Samuel C. Nana-Sinkam, did good work in ensuring that the elections could take place in an entirely democratic manner and that good relations could be restored between Guinea-Bissau and its neighbours — all, I repeat, thanks to the assistance which was provided at very low cost by the Representative of the Secretary-General; thus, by the Secretary-General and, hence, by the United Nations. This shows that the United Nations can indeed do useful work in Africa, and at low cost.
Those are all reasons why the Council’s general deliberations were of great interest.
I turn now to the crisis situations of which we are so well aware. With respect to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the appearance in New York of all the heads of State who signed the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement was extremely useful. We heard from them a reaffirmation of their commitment to respect and implement the Agreement, as well as their unanimous wish to see the speedy deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation. That was important. The meeting also provided an opportunity for exchanges between the heads of State who are signatories to the Agreement and the Secretary-General, with a view to obtaining clarification from the Secretariat about what the Organization can do — and wants to do — to support the peace process.
Now the ball is back in the court of the Security Council. We are going to have to act. We are going to have to rapidly adopt the draft resolution expanding the mandate and increasing the staffing of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), on the basis of the recommendations of the Secretary-General. We are going to have to provide the United Nations with the necessary resources — that is, we will have to pay the contributions that will be required and to provide the personnel and logistic support. We will have to lend our support to the national dialogue. We will have to keep in mind the next stage of the peacekeeping operation, to which we committed ourselves in the presidential statement of 26 January — and there will be a next stage. This will involve considering very seriously the possibility of securing the borders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo with Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. This would be in the context of responding to the legitimate security needs of all these countries.
It will be necessary, finally, to take steps to ensure that all the parties respect their commitments and implement the Agreement in good faith. As several Council members have suggested, we must also concern ourselves with the question of the illegal exploitation — with the theft, we could say — of the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an illegal exploitation which could be both a purpose of and a means for the occupation of part of the territory of this country by foreign forces. This is an aspect of the situation that we must think about.
Finally, we must support the holding of the international conference on peace, security, democracy and development in the Great Lakes region, a conference that has been endorsed by many Council members, even here this morning, as has been noted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Namibia. The goal is an international conference. It was the brainchild of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), but it must be jointly organized under the aegis of both the United Nations and the OAU in order to involve the entire international community in all the issues, in particular the issue of aid. This conference project — which, again, was initiated in 1994 by the OAU — has increased in importance over time. We must now try to make the conference a practical reality.
Burundi is another regional situation that has rightfully drawn our attention. This situation can change and has in fact already changed for the better, thanks to President Mandela taking charge and thanks to his authority. We must give him not only our political support but also our financial support. But let us keep in mind that the situation in Burundi is not good. We must not add to the political and security problems facing the country additional problems related to the precariousness of the country’s economic situation — a situation that is steadily worsening and that may well, in turn, give rise to extremists of all sorts. Given this situation, we definitely must both be firm on the principles — commitment to the peace process, to the ceasefire and to ceasing to put population groups in camps — and at the same time provide international economic aid to Burundi, in order to help its very poor people. Let us not ignore this need to mix firmness on principles with aid to the people of this country.
As regards Angola, we must continue to support the Lusaka Protocol and the resolutions of the Security Council, in particular those that concern the strict application of the sanctions against UNITA. We must oversee the progress of the establishment of rule of law and of respect for international humanitarian law. We will say more about this soon, during the meetings to be devoted to considering sanctions.
With regard to Sierra Leone, we must as soon as possible adopt the draft resolution that would expand the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and increase its staffing to 11,000 people, so as to reinforce the still-fragile implementation of the Lomé Peace Agreement.
Finally, as regards the problem between Ethiopia and Eritrea — no matter how very sensitive this problem may be, and while we embrace the virtues of discretion and of silent diplomacy — we cannot ignore this conflict, which has already resulted in several tens of thousands of deaths. The Council must therefore be prepared — intellectually at least — to give, at the appropriate time, its concrete support to resolving this conflict.
We might say the same thing about the situation in Somalia. As soon as the proposals of President Guelleh of Djibouti are formalized, it will be useful for the Council to apply all its weight to obtaining the implementation of these proposals by all the parties concerned.
There you have, Sir, in a few words, what seemed to us useful to say once more in the context of thanking you for having devoted the greater part of the Security Council’s efforts during your presidency to Africa. In this way, you have shown the commitment of your country to work with others on Africa. We thank you for this, and we invite the upcoming Argentine presidency to make February another “month of Africa”, because the subjects that we have dealt with remain extremely important. It is up to Argentina to take and transform the ball that has been passed to it by this excellent player of American football, Mr. Holbrooke.
Thank you, Mr. Ambassador, for your important statement and your kind words. I thank you very much for your support of our efforts this month. I look forward to continuing to see your support for these efforts as well.
We are now particularly pleased to call on the man to whom this project will fall. As we have said many times: it is not a “month of Africa”, it is going to be a “year of Africa”, as President Chiluba said. And the baton — the gavel — will be shortly passed to Ambassador Listre.
Allow me first to associate myself with the words of solidarity that the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Namibia addressed to the parties involved in the tragic air crash that took place yesterday and which particularly affects Kenya.
We would also like to welcome and thank President Chiluba of Zambia for coming here this morning and for making such a brilliant, sincere and profound statement during our debate. We also welcome the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of South Africa and Namibia, who I would particularly like to thank for the warm words that they have extended to me.
We believe that this has really been a meaningful month for Africa and the Security Council. Your firm leadership, Sir, your tireless capacity for taking the initiative and your power to get people to meet have played a decisive role. The Great Lakes region has received particular attention throughout January, and we think that this was necessary.
With regard to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all of the parties present in New York have engaged in direct dialogue and renewed their commitment to the Lusaka Agreement. The momentum created during this recent period must not be lost. The United Nations has a role to play and an historic responsibility with regard to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Thus Argentina commits itself to working constructively to ensure that the Security Council can adopt a resolution that will authorize the deployment, as speedily as possible, of 500 military observers, with reasonable security guarantees, as recommended by the Secretary-General in his report contained in document S/2000/30.
In this connection we reiterate our firm position regarding respect for the territorial integrity and political sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the same time, we understand that there will be no lasting solution without an appropriate scheme of security guarantees for all the countries of the Great Lakes region.
As regards Burundi, we trust that the experience and wisdom of President Mandela will contribute to national reconciliation. His words at the historic Security Council meeting of Wednesday, 19 January, showed the parties the course to follow. We reiterate our support for the Arusha process and for a dialogue that would include all the parties, with the ultimate objective of creating and strengthening an open, democratic and tolerant society in Burundi.
The questions of Angola and Sierra Leone also received attention from the Security Council in January. We would like once again to thank Ambassador Fowler for his excellent briefing, at the meeting held on 18 January, on his most recent trip to Angola. The sanctions regime imposed on UNITA is, at long last, beginning to be effective. This is very important because we believe it will help to restore confidence in the Security Council. Having said this, we cannot but express our concern at the continuing armed conflict and the humanitarian situation in Angola — a situation that Mrs. Ogata described on 13 January as being possibly the most serious in Africa. We would reiterate once again our belief that no military solution can bring long-term peace and stability to Angola, and that for this reason the conditions must be created for an open-ended political dialogue. In this context, we believe that a multidimensional United Nations presence must be maintained in Angola.
This month we have successfully negotiated a draft resolution that calls for a considerable expansion of the composition and mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). That draft, I hope, will be adopted next week. We believe that UNAMSIL will make an important contribution to the Lomé peace process and to stability in the subregion.
Two important open debates on Africa were held in January: the oral briefing by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the debate on the impact of AIDS on peace and security in Africa. These two issues have led us to consider, as Vice-President Gore indicated to the Security Council on 10 January, a broader concept of threats to international peace and security, which we are charged with monitoring.
Other African issues that were not taken up this month require our attention. Mr. President, you quite rightly called January the “Month of Africa”. It has been a month of great effort, activity and creativity, a source of pride to you and to your delegation. During the Argentine presidency in February, with the contribution and cooperation of the Secretary-General and of all Members of the United Nations, we promise to do our utmost to ensure that the Security Council can continue to contribute to ensuring peace in Africa.
I wish you good luck, Ambassador Listre. Starting in 12 hours and five minutes, it will be all yours.
First of all, my delegation associates itself with the condolences addressed to the families of the victims of the Kenya Airways crash, which took place off of the coast of Abidjan.
I would also like to hail the presence at this meeting of President Chiluba and thank him for his important statement. I also welcome Mr. Theo-Ben Gurirab, President of the General Assembly, and Ms. Dlamini-Zuma, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa. They have both made very enlightening statements.
I would also like, Mr. President, to reiterate to you and to your delegation the appreciation of the delegation of Mali for your initiative to devote, during the American presidency of the Security Council in January 2000, the highest priority to the consideration of issues related to Africa.
The convening this month of open meetings of the Security Council on the impact of HIV/AIDS on peace and security in Africa, on the question of humanitarian assistance to refugees in Africa, on the situations in Angola and Burundi and on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has made it possible to assess the magnitude of the challenges facing Africa. But above all these meetings made clear the urgent need to make determined and concerted efforts to meet those challenges.
The presence at those meetings of seven African heads of State, of United States Vice-President Al Gore, of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity, as well as of numerous ministers and other eminent individuals gave our work during this “Month of Africa” a particular dimension of which we must take full account.
Allow me here to make a few comments before drawing a few conclusions.
Our deliberations during this “Month of Africa” were useful, first of all because they provided a global view of the problems affecting Africa and secondly because they served as a call to action. Moreover, it is through such means — that is, public debate — that issues are grasped and specific measures devised to resolve them.
From that point of view, each of the public meetings held this month reflected a specific dimension of Africa’s present challenges. The meeting devoted to the impact of HIV-AIDS on peace and security in Africa made it possible on the one hand to draw the attention of the Security Council to the burden that the AIDS epidemic represents for the development of Africa, and on the other hand to plan for security in a broader context. The meeting on the question of humanitarian assistance to refugees in Africa dealt with one of the major challenges facing Africa today and echoed the very strong appeal made to the Security Council to respond by shouldering its responsibilities.
The meetings devoted to the consideration of the situations in Angola, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo illustrated that in those cases, as in others, the primary responsibility for African problems rests first and foremost with the Africans themselves.
Thus, faced with the AIDS epidemic, the African countries must, as was emphasized by President Alpha Oumar Konaré in his message of 10 January 2000 to the President of the Security Council, wage a campaign through which the African leaders would shoulder their share of responsibility. In Angola and Burundi, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Sierra Leone in particular, it must be understood that lasting peace and national reconciliation can be brought about only through political dialogue.
Our deliberations throughout this “Month of Africa” have made clear the hopes and expectations for greater solidarity and support on the part of the international community in continuing the efforts of the African countries. Those hopes and expectations must, as we see it, be based on an international partnership that is reflected in specific actions.
Thus the international community must, as it is being urged to do by President Konaré, step up the global quest to resolve the issue of AIDS, enhance prevention and provide the necessary support for the millions of persons affected by HIV and AIDS, in particular the men, women and children of Africa.
In that same context, and in keeping with the demands made by Council members at the meeting held on 10 January, high priority must be attached to the follow-up measures advocated by the secretariat of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in close cooperation with that body’s sponsoring organizations, the Member States and other international partners. We believe also that there must be an early implementation of the recommendation regarding the convening, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council, of a partnership meeting with the participation of the donor countries, the countries of Africa, pharmaceutical industries and UNAIDS, in order to facilitate access to medicines by those affected by HIV/AIDS in the developing countries, in particular in Africa.
We believe that it is also pivotal for the international community to provide the bodies charged with providing humanitarian assistance with sufficient financial resources, taking into account Africa’s considerable needs in this area.
The expansion of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and the rapid deployment of a peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are two priority measures which the international community must fully support. Subsequent resolutions must, in my delegation’s view, be adopted as quickly as possible.
Stepped-up assistance for the Arusha peace process is needed to support President Mandela’s efforts as Facilitator to achieving a peaceful solution to the conflict in Burundi. The international community must also provide its full support to Sir Ketumile Masire as facilitator of the inter-Congolese dialogue.
As regards the situation in Angola, while reaffirming the support of my delegation for the activities of the sanctions Committee against UNITA under the leadership of Ambassador Fowler, I would like to emphasize the need to finalize, as soon as possible, formalities for the implementation of the Status of Mission Agreement regarding the United Nations Office in Angola, and the official in charge must be appointed as quickly as possible.
What lessons can we learn at the end of this “month of Africa”? The first is that our deliberations doubtless will contribute to an intensified mobilization of the international community to bring about the establishment of peace and stability in Africa. This is why it is of the greatest importance that appropriate follow-up mechanisms be established. The Council must see to this. We hope that the Argentine presidency will intensify this dynamic already begun. Secondly, our deliberations have illustrated, it seems to me, the complexity of African issues, in particular as regards the consideration of the situation regarding the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The support of the international community for holding an international conference on peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region under the aegis of the United Nations and the OAU seems to us a timely initiative. Thirdly, it is clear that Africa needs the United Nations, particularly to support its regional initiatives, as is the case in Sierra Leone, or to cope with the AIDS epidemic.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the American presidency for having initiated this “month of Africa”. I warmly congratulate you, Mr. President, on your talent and your personal efforts that have made it possible for the Security Council, at each of these meetings, to reach effective conclusions. I would also like to thank the other Council members for their constructive participation in these debates that are so important for Africa.
I thank the representative of Mali for his kind words.
I hope that we can move as quickly as possible through the remaining nine speakers in order to hear observations and responses from our visitors from Zambia and South Africa and have an exchange of views.
My delegation associates itself with the words of condolence expressed by the Foreign Minister of Namibia in respect to the tragic Kenyan air crash.
My delegation also joins others in welcoming our distinguished guests here at this morning’s meeting: His Excellency the President of Zambia, Her Excellency the Foreign Minister of South Africa and His Excellency the Foreign Minister of Namibia and President of the General Assembly.
I wish to make some brief comments, as we agree with and entirely associate ourselves with many of the points have been made by others this morning. Allow me to commend you once again, Mr. President, for focusing on Africa during your Council presidency for the month of January. It has been a useful, indeed exhilarating, month during which not only Council members but also the larger membership of the Organization and even some concerned members of civil society have been educated. We also received a useful education on the complex workings of American politics during our meeting with Senator Jesse Helms. We believe that that dialogue was equally useful.
During this month, we have dealt with many important African issues, especially that of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This has been an extremely useful exercise. However, a number of other African issues have not been addressed — namely, those relating to Ethiopia and Eritrea, Somalia and Western Sahara. My delegation would like to believe, and to stress, that they were left out not because they were less important. These other issues remain important, and we hope the Council will give them as much attention in the coming months.
During this month the Council has focused on Africa in a way that it has not done before. Lasting one entire month, this focus on Africa might perhaps have dispelled the impression that there is a bias on the part of the Council towards other regions. The United States presidency of the Council has focused, or refocused, the Council’s attention on Africa, for which my delegation, as do others, commend the President. But equally important — indeed, more important, in my view — is the need for follow-up actions, which you yourself just now underscored, Mr. President. These follow-ups should be our next order of business relating to Africa, beginning next month under the Argentine presidency, and under subsequent presidencies.
My delegation had very much hoped that at least on one particular issue, that of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Council would have been able to initiate a resolution authorizing a United Nations peacekeeping force in that country. We earnestly hope that what we were not able to do this month on the Democratic Republic of the Congo we will be able to do, if not next month, certainly as soon as possible, as time is of the essence if we want to build on the Lusaka Agreement, an agreement so painstakingly put together and one that we all believe remains the only viable basis for a lasting solution of the conflict in that country. Our ability to do so with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well to carry out the other follow-up actions ahead of us, will in large measure reflect the success of the American presidency of the Council for this opening month of the new millennium. We are confident that having initiated the process, the United States will put its mighty weight behind the important follow-up process.
The challenge before the Council, as I have heard from statements made this morning — including that of the Permanent Representative of Algeria next to me, who represents the chairmanship of the Organization of African Unity — is that the Council must go beyond words to actions — concrete actions. I believe the Council will be able to meet this challenge.
I know that President Chiluba is going to have to leave shortly, so I will ask him if he would like to make any observations on what he has heard so far, just informally, to give us a sense of how he feels things are going and where he would hope that we could assist him beyond his important speech, based on what he has heard, in taking the Lusaka peace process forward.
Let me apologize, because originally I was told to make a statement and leave. I did not prepare my mind, and I find it a little difficult to respond. Let me just say that it seems the spirit is very much alive. All the contributions that have been made by various ambassadors point to one thing: that there is readiness, willingness and goodwill to help us resolve the problem in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Burundi and in all other troubled areas of our region, including Angola.
Mr. President, I can only encourage you. We are determined; we are going back; we will have meetings; we want to follow this up. We want to implement the whole peace process. We are especially very afraid that if the internal dialogue under Sir Ketumine Masire does not succeed, this might bring about skirmishes and start the fighting all over again. So, we want the United Nations to move. All the ambassadors have said so. Less rhetoric and more action: I think this is the message for all of us.
I want to thank all the ambassadors who have spoken — the Ambassadors of China, France, Malaysia and Mali. I will take the message back home to the region that the Security Council is more willing than before to assist in this matter.
I believe that the President of Zambia is accurate in his assessment of the message that he is taking away. If he does not have time to listen to the next speakers, we will understand. We thank him enormously for coming back to New York and giving us our final mission.
There is no doubt that the “month of Africa” was to some extent a calculated risk. It has drawn attention to a continent of huge problems where the Security Council has been trying hard but has not achieved the results that we or Africans wanted. But I, personally, believe that it was an exceptional initiative and was thoroughly worth doing, if only to bring into public relief the need for a greater effort on Africa. That, itself, was worth doing. It has, of course, created expectations. I do not think that President Chiluba and the Foreign Ministers of South Africa and of Namibia would be with us this morning unless they wanted to check whether the Security Council was following up on the rhetoric. I think that that is what we have got to do.
We have seen some concrete results. The Burundi debate provided an important platform for former President Mandela’s facilitation. The Angola meeting helped keep pressure on arms supplies. My Minister of State, Peter Hain, today made another statement, in South Africa, to draw attention to the United Kingdom’s determination to follow up on particular abuses of sanctions and to try to bring people to justice. The debate on the Democratic Republic of the Congo achieved the strong recommitment of the parties to Lusaka and made more likely the early sending of a peacekeeping force to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ground-breaking debate on AIDS also brought that issue to the centre of the Council’s agenda. I believe that it would be right to bring it to the attention of the General Assembly and also for the Council to follow up the AIDS debate in checking, in liaison with other United Nations organs, how to move United Nations action on AIDS forward.
The Security Council’s special concern with Africa did not begin this month, and it will not end this month. We have already spent a great deal of time in the past two years trying to help Africans get Africa right. Some of our efforts were perhaps better targeted than others. Mrs. Ogata’s message on refugees and internally displaced persons was a very important one. But I do not think that the Council knows how we are going to follow it up. There are relentless challenges that have stretched the resources of the Council and the Secretariat to the breaking point. How are we going to deal with the issue of resources?
Overall, however, I think that the Council’s record on Africa is improving. We now have a substantial peacekeeping operation up and running in Sierra Leone, which the Deputy Secretary-General has called the most immediate test for the Council in Africa. The United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic is drawing to a successful conclusion. Ambassador Fowler’s efforts on Angola really have put the squeeze on UNITA’s sanctions busters. Another example is the work of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on Ethiopia and Eritrea. Although we have not taken that work forward in the Council, there has been good liaison between the United Nations and the OAU on a very discreet and confidential mediation effort which I hope is now beginning to bear results.
We have concentrated in particular, however, on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I think that that is now going to be the most conspicuous test of whether this month has been worth it. The United Kingdom hopes that work will begin immediately on a draft resolution and that it can be completed this week. The Lusaka parties have made it quite clear that the longer they have to wait for the deployment of these observers to monitor the ceasefire and redeployment of forces, the less likely it is that their commitments will hold and that national reconciliation will be a reality.
United States efforts in the past month have therefore demonstrated how important high-profile, big-impact diplomacy is for making progress on Africa’s problems. But let us not lose sight of the importance of other approaches — less headline-grabbing, and perhaps lower key, but, in the long term, just as critical to success for the United Nations Africa agenda and for the triumph of results over rhetoric.
In December, Minister Peter Hain chaired a meeting on Africa in this Chamber from which he drew a number of conclusions. He noted that there was a broad consensus in favour of regular and more structured consultation and coordination between the Council and the OAU and regional bodies; of the greater use of tools such as joint envoys and missions, an issue which Ambassador Baali brought up this morning; and of more regular meetings between the Security Council, the OAU and subregional bodies. Mr. Hain also drew attention to the peacekeeping needs of Africa, and to the need to increase capacity, an issue on which we need to do more and to do so early.
All of these points need to be acted upon. I would like, in particular, to see a more regular dialogue with the OAU; that has not yet been established. I think that we would have raised that issue with Secretary-General Salim had he been here. We need to work on that now, to make sure that it happens on a regular basis. With that partly in mind, I want to make a modest proposal for taking forward some of these ideas from the “month of Africa”. I suggest that the Africa experts of Council members establish themselves as an informal but permanent working group to look at African problems — away from the day-to-day demands of Secretariat briefings, mandate renewals and other Council business. The purpose of such a group would not be to draft statements or resolutions but to examine whether the Council is using all the appropriate tools at its disposal to follow up on this month; to ask why certain issues are perhaps not being brought before the Council; to consider whether a group of friends or a contact group might have useful input on a particular Council item; to check whether the provisions of Council resolutions on Africa are being properly implemented; and to consider whether briefings by the OAU or regional African Group representatives could help inform the Council’s work.
Such a working group might have regular meetings with the representative of the Chairman or the Secretary-General of the OAU. Our colleagues will have other and different ideas, and we look forward to discussing them in this forum and more informally. We look to the Argentine presidency to take forward some of these ideas as soon as it can put them on the schedule. But one way or another, let us agree today to use the energy, imagination and focus generated by the “month of Africa” to fuel a continuing and productive effort.
I thank the representative of the United Kingdom for his kind words of support. I again want to echo the importance of the precursor work done in the meetings held during the United Kingdom’s presidency in the month of December.
Canada welcomes the initiatives that you, Mr. President, have taken this month. They represent a step towards the more vigorous commitment of the Council and its members to Africa. Today, several speakers have stated that the primary challenge facing us is that of transforming those commitments into concrete actions and, as Ambassador Greenstock has just stressed, of making our action in Africa more effective.
We also welcome the debates that have taken place on thematic issues confronting Africa, such as AIDS, refugees and internally displaced persons. Those meetings emphasized the importance of human security in the mandate and the work of the Council and demonstrate that if they are to lead to action, such public meetings must provide the opportunity for us to hear and to be heard. In this regard, this month has taught us many lessons.
Canada welcomes the participation of the Facilitator for Burundi, Mr. Mandela; the Facilitator for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sir Ketumile Masire; the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Mr. Salim Salim; and President Chiluba, one of the principal architects of the Lusaka Agreement. Indeed, this has been an important phase in the establishment of a closer relationship, more focused on cooperation, between the Security Council and the OAU, as well as between the Council and the heads of the regional and subregional initiatives for peace and security in Africa.
We eagerly await the speedy adoption of the draft resolution, on which we have reached agreement in the course of this month, to provide for a peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone. The new mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone is a model to follow for forthcoming missions that will require vigorous peacekeeping and a commitment to acting firmly and to deploying troops on the basis of needs in the field. This is also the first mission which has a significant disarmament, demobilization and reintegration element, which demonstrates that, when there is a need to do so, the members of the Security Council are able to draw lessons from past experience.In the same spirit, we are grateful to the Secretary-General for his initiative to establish a demining centre, which is considered to be an important measure for protecting civilians.
We have been honoured by the presence of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mrs. Ogata, who rightly emphasized the importance of the role of the Security Council when it is called on to respond quickly to the needs of millions of displaced Africans. The fate of populations affected by war depends directly on our action or inaction. The international community must adopt more energetic measures to eliminate the deep-rooted causes of population displacement. Canada unreservedly supports the mission of Mr. Mandela and the Foreign Minister of Namibia, who, in their statements to the Council, emphasized that all those involved in conflicts in Africa must commit themselves to respecting peace, democracy and human rights. That responsibility cannot be shirked.
The establishment of lasting peace requires all those involved in conflicts — Governments and others — to bear responsibility for protecting refugees and displaced persons within their territories and for establishing conditions to facilitate their return. They must also allow all those who so require to have safe and unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance and they must guarantee the safety, security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel.
Canada is deeply concerned by the numerous attacks against United Nations personnel, in particular those who are locally recruited and those responsible for humanitarian assistance. We have seen such acts of aggression over the past few months in Angola, the Sudan and Somalia. The dramatic increase in the number of such victims among humanitarian personnel requires us to take urgent action to provide for their protection. Practical measures must be undertaken to provide for the protection of civilian and humanitarian personnel, and the perpetrators of criminal actions must also be brought to justice. All those who violate human rights and humanitarian law must be brought speedily to justice if we wish to eliminate the culture of impunity.
We welcome the firm support of the members of the Council for the efforts being made to implement the Council’s sanctions against UNITA. It is critical for the Council to consider, speedily and in depth, the recommendations of the expert panel. Over the course of the month, we have drawn the Council’s attention to the relevant information that we have obtained in Angola on the current situation of UNITA and its operating methods. This information was communicated to the expert panel of the Angola sanctions Committee, which will take it into account in making recommendations on ways to strengthen the effectiveness of the sanctions imposed by the United Nations.
We have also informed the Security Council of the information we have obtained on the two United Nations aircraft that were shot down and on those accused of the crime. We urge the Council officially to identify those responsible for these criminal acts and to ensure that they be brought to justice.
Canada is convinced that the new Facilitator of the Arusha peace process, former President Nelson Mandela, will succeed in persuading all the parties, including the rebel groups, to conclude a peace agreement. We reiterate our support for a negotiated political solution, which we feel to be the best way to establish a lasting peace so that Burundi may enjoy lasting and long-term development and development assistance may be effective.
Canada condemns the policy of the Government of Burundi of displacing populations and forcing them into camps to which humanitarian personnel have limited access. This is a fundamental violation of the rights of the citizens of Burundi. These camps must be dismantled and all the parties to the conflict must guarantee unimpeded and safe access to the victimized populations and the protection and respect of refugees and internally displaced persons. All those who wish to return home in safety must be allowed to do so.
The open meeting on the Democratic Republic of the Congo allowed the peace process to be relaunched. It is critical that members of the Council involve themselves in this effort. In the course of their statements at that meeting, speakers emphasized the importance of implementing the various elements of the Lusaka Agreement as quickly as possible. We also hope that the Facilitator of the inter-Congolese dialogue will have the resources necessary to begin his work. His role will make a major contribution to efforts designed to guarantee stability and democratic and institutional development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The conclusions of the independent inquiry into the United Nations actions in Rwanda highlight the responsibility to respond effectively and speedily to protect populations exposed to imminent danger, as well as that which falls to the international community. The responsibility to implement the ceasefire and all the provisions of the Lusaka Agreement devolves first and foremost, however, to its signatories. Nevertheless, an international peacekeeping presence is required to assist the various participants successfully to conclude this task and to strengthen confidence in the peace process.
The Council is in the process of elaborating a draft resolution on the second phase of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC). My delegation reaffirms its conviction that missions in unstable areas, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, must have strong mandates and sufficient resources. Although we are satisfied by the consensus established among the members of the Council that the next phase should fall within the framework of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the troop numbers proposed by the Secretary-General seem insufficient to us for the Mission successfully to fulfil its mandate and to secure the safety of personnel.
Once again, we wish to emphasize the importance of providing support, particularly financial support, for the Joint Military Commission and of encouraging the rapid harmonization of its activities with those of the Mission.
In conclusion, we want to congratulate you, Sir, and to thank you for your efforts this month.
Allow me at the outset to congratulate and salute President Chiluba; the Foreign Minister of Namibia, the current President of the General Assembly; the Foreign Minister of South Africa; and my brother, Ambassador Baali, speaking on behalf of President Bouteflika, the current Chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). I also wish to commend the continuous efforts he is undertaking and to support his proposal concerning the importance of coordination between the OAU and the Security Council.
I would also like at the beginning to express to you, Mr. President, our appreciation for setting up January 2000 to study African issues. There are a number of questions that we all agree are very important, and we consider that your choice of them has been very wise. In addition to the issues of peace and security in some African countries, we have not ignored some general issues of great importance to the whole continent such as refugees and AIDS. We will perhaps deal with other issues in the future, issues that are no less important, such as combating poverty and starvation as major causes of conflicts and deterioration in the political, social and security situation. We have attached great important to ending the conflict in Angola. The presence of President Nelson Mandela here was a significant event that highlighted the importance of the continuation of the Arusha peace process, the Security Council’s support for his efforts and the continued support of the international community. The meeting on the Democratic Republic of the Congo was undoubtedly of great significance.
Participants have linked HIV/AIDS and the question of refugees to the problem of peace and security in Africa. As we come to the end of January 2000, and not to the end of the “month of Africa”, as we hope that every year will be a “year of Africa”, we wish to reaffirm the necessity of following up the outcome of these meetings, as many previous speakers have already emphasized, so that Africa will continue to be a main priority for the Council throughout the year so that we can translate sincere political will and promises into deeds.
In this context, allow me to make a few remarks. First, concerning HIV/AIDS, the discussion has increased awareness of the danger of this epidemic and of the importance of moving swiftly to adopt a comprehensive, stable strategy, in coordination with the specialized agencies, in order to put an end to the escalation of this epidemic. The commitments stemming from the meeting on this issue, particularly those mentioned by the representative of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) provide the best incentive for the international community to make more efforts and to follow up on such efforts. We look forward to the reports presented by UNAIDS concerning what will be achieved in implementation of the many recommendations in this area.
On another subject, the Security Council has emphasized the importance of redoubling efforts in order to allow the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to give humanitarian assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons and to find solutions to their problems and situations. We note the attention given to this issue by the Security Council. We wish to emphasize, along with previous speakers, that we must adopt practical measures in order to implement the proposals presented by Mrs. Ogata of UNHCR. We wish to reiterate the international community’s appeal for support for African States in building their capabilities so they can deal with the problem of refugees and displaced persons and with their major causes, and in finding political solutions that would help bring about peace, development and stability in the region.
As for the long-standing conflict in Angola, which is considered one of the major challenges facing the international community in general and the Security Council in particular, we wish to reaffirm our satisfaction with the announcement of the Angolan Government that it will hold firmly to the Lusaka Protocol as a basis for the peace process. We call upon UNITA, the party primarily responsible for the war’s continuation, to prove that it is fulfilling its commitments in accordance with the Lusaka Protocol. The fact that the Security Council has unanimously agreed to find a solution to the conflict in Angola, to compel UNITA to stop defying the international community and to continue the sanctions regime is a clear message concerning the Council’s commitment. We look forward in this regard to considering the report presented by the sanctions Committee on new measures that might be taken by the Council.
In considering the situation in Burundi, the Council renewed its strong support for the Arusha peace process. We heard President Mandela express his views and advice on the Arusha peace process. We hope that he will give us a fresh evaluation of what has been achieved in that regard. Security Council resolution 1286 (1999) appealed to all parties, and it is incumbent upon us to evaluate in the near future the parties’ respect for this resolution.
Regarding the discussion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we have reaffirmed our position through the presidential statement made by you, Mr. President, on behalf of the Council, concerning the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its sovereignty over its natural resources, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Charter. This was one of the most important outcomes of that meeting. We called for an immediate halt to all military hostilities and for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These are basic conditions needed for the transitional period. The Council has shown its support for and determination to uphold the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement. This reaffirmation shows once again that this Agreement is the way to find a solution.
We must now accelerate the dispatch of military observers to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We hope that the Council will adopt a resolution immediately to extend the mandate of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in accordance with the Secretary-General’s report of 17 January 2000 (S/2000/30). We expect all parties to the conflict to cooperate with and support the United Nations Mission and the United Nations Special Envoy. The degree of cooperation with this Mission will show how the Lusaka Agreement will be implemented. Similarly, we must emphasize the importance of national dialogue in the next phase, and we hope that the international community, and the United Nations in particular, will support this dialogue and the work of President Masire by providing the necessary resources and cooperation.
The meeting on the Democratic Republic of the Congo opened a constructive dialogue among all parties to the conflict, the signatories to the Lusaka Agreement, the Security Council and the Secretary-General. It was also an opportunity for some parties to the conflict to sit together and have a close and direct dialogue. That was a great achievement. We look forward to the repetition of this type of meeting. We are optimistic vis-à-vis any initiative that starts a dialogue between the parties because dialogue leads to understanding, builds trust and hastens progress towards organizing an international conference on the situation in the Great Lakes region, as proposed by Egypt and France.
In conclusion, we believe that these open meetings have led to increasing transparency in the work of the Council. Direct involvement of the parties in the discussion will give us a unique opportunity for dialogue and will encourage the resolution of such problems. There is no alternative to dialogue. The results were very positive and there is conviction within the Council that we should work quickly to deal with the issues that have been discussed. We propose in this context that the Council undertake practical evaluations of the degree to which these results have been implemented.
Allow us, at the end of this month and of your successful presidency, Sir, to welcome the next President, Argentina. We look forward to another month of vigour and revitalization. We promise the incoming President our cooperation and wish him every success.
I also wish to join those who preceded me in expressing our condolences to the families of the victims of the Kenyan aircraft crash.
Let me comment, in my capacity as President, on two very important points just made by the representative of Tunisia. First, on a draft resolution: a text is now beginning to be discussed among members of the Security Council, in close consultation with Ambassador Listre, and is circulating. As to the speed with which we can adopt it, I know that many of the African nations wanted it adopted in January; the speed with which the draft resolution can be considered will be determined by the specific reactions to it.
Secondly, the representative of Tunisia made a very important point, which I should like to pick up, on support for the Joint Military Commission (JMC) and for former President Masire. I will be circulating a letter this afternoon — as my final act in the presidency, I think — bringing to the attention of Member States the unanimous desire of the Security Council that Member States should support those two missions. We already have contributions of $2 million from the United States, $500,000 from Japan and $1 million from Canada. It is my hope that every member of the Security Council will offer at least symbolic support, even if it is only $10,000 or $25,000. It is also my hope that other States, many of whose representatives are here with us today, will, to the extent that they can, contribute money so that we do not repeat the lamentable sight that I personally saw in Bosnia after the Dayton Peace Agreement, when the High Representative, Carl Bildt — who was not responsible to the United Nations but who otherwise had similar responsibilities — had no money from anyone and was operating out of his suitcase, using his personal cell phone, for the first critical few weeks. It was very lamentable; it hurt the implementation of Dayton. We would not want the implementation of Lusaka to suffer in the same way.
I would like to join those speakers before me who expressed their feelings of distress and sorrow over the tragedy which has befallen Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire.
I would like now to make some general remarks concerning our “month of Africa” and then to focus more specifically on some conclusions regarding the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The United States presidency has, if I may use an understatement, adopted a high-visibility approach to selected African topics. That high-visibility approach, to our eyes, had the additional virtue of fitting exceptionally well with the desire for improved transparency expressed by my own and by most other delegations of non-permanent members.
It is worth noting in passing that our successful “month of Africa” was not exactly a month of legal advisers. Your refreshing approach, Mr. President, has done wonders in cutting away a lot of procedural dead wood, for which future generations of Security Council presidents will owe you gratitude.
Through your efforts also, Sir, the Security Council has returned to the public spotlight, not only through its highly successful meeting on Burundi in the presence of former President Mandela, but also through its meetings on the AIDS tragedy with its particularly poignant consequences for Africa, on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and on other African issues. This public spotlight is important. A Security Council that does not have public support will lose in effectiveness, and you, Mr. President, have done a lot to hone our sensitivity on this point.
But let us be cautious at the same time. The public appetite for Security Council debates is surely not insatiable. We must reserve these events for very special causes and leave ourselves sufficient time to concentrate on the less visible, but ultimately crucial, preparation of Security Council action.
So where do we go next? Hopefully, by the time the next ministerial meeting takes place, in September of this year, the Council’s relentless attention to African issues will actually begin to yield fruit. The particular relevance of that ministerial meeting to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for instance, is clear for all to see, with the attention it will be giving to the follow-up of Security Council resolutions 1196 (1998), 1197 (1998) and 1209 (1998), on arms embargoes, peacekeeping mechanisms and illicit arms flows to and in Africa respectively.
Let me now try to draw some brief conclusions from last week’s debate on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. To our mind, the debate confirmed that there is no alternative to the Lusaka Agreement, which shows that we are on the right road. But at the same time, we are in for a very bumpy ride on that road, as seen in the recent resumption of ceasefire violations. Most encouraging is that contacts among the protagonists are possible and useful. Encouraging also is that the debate gave the international community a renewed sense of urgency in making the Lusaka Agreement work. At last, the United Nations is about to embark upon a very substantive exercise of implementation of the Lusaka Agreement on the basis of the report of the Secretary-General (S/2000/30).
I believe that it is important to remind the Council and others of the statement to the press made by the United Kingdom presidency of the Council on 22 December 1999. Through that statement, Council members reiterated the willingness of the United Nations to be seriously involved. But at the same time, Council members pointed out that, in order to play its role in a peacekeeping operation, the United Nations must be confident that the parties themselves are determined to refrain from all hostile acts and to respect the ceasefire. This remains for us the guideline for our future involvement.
Of paramount importance to any solution in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be the way we deal with the very real life-and-death issues of the illegal flows of arms to and in Africa and the related problem of the illegal exploitation of the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, may I add, of other resource-rich areas of conflict in Africa, such as Angola, Sierra Leone and others. Practical approaches, including voluntary arms embargoes, to these challenges were outlined by my own and other delegations last week.
Equally crucial to finding a solution is how we deal with the problem of Interahamwe, ex-Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) and other groups. In our view, that solution cannot be achieved through military means. Perhaps the Mozambican example — the combined legal and financial arrangements to induce soldiers to lay down their arms and return to their homes — can serve as a model in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
With regard, finally, to the Joint Military Commission (JMC), my Government has pledged $250,000, and has expressed a firm intention to assist financially the work of the facilitator, former President Masire.
January’s African agenda was inevitably a selection from among the African issues before the Council. Issues such as Ethiopia-Eritrea and Western Sahara did not make it this time. Still, the Council should take the time to look at these issues again, for, while the Council has shown itself capable of dealing with complex matters such as East Timor, Sierra Leone and now even the Democratic Republic of the Congo, somehow the Council has not been capable of stopping the foot-dragging by parties on those other issues.
Finally, Sir, like the Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Fréchette, you said earlier today that the key word at this stage is “follow-up”. Maybe in your summing up as the final speaker you could formulate, or try to formulate, a number of key elements or benchmarks by which to measure the Council’s follow-up at regular intervals in the near future.
On a personal basis, I share the views of the representative of the Netherlands about lawyers. But on an official basis, I am compelled to protest seriously. I am appreciative of Ambassador Hamer’s remarks, and hope that we can proceed and be worthy of what he has just said.
We too would like to express our gratitude to President Chiluba and to the other prominent speakers who addressed the Council today, reiterating the urgency of the problems facing Africa. As the representative of a country that maintains close traditional ties with African States and that has pledged to address their specific interests as a member of the Security Council, I would like to reiterate Ukraine’s resolve to act in support of peace and development in Africa.
We are greatly satisfied that, thanks to the remarkable initiative of the United States presidency, the first month of Ukraine’s membership in the Council has been a month of focused concentration on African issues. Certainly the Security Council does not possess a magic wand for resolving all outstanding problems overnight. However, it would be really hard to deny that January 2000 has been an extraordinary month for both the African continent and the Security Council itself. This year’s first open meeting, on 10 January, was innovative in all respects. It set an important precedent by turning our attention to those aspects of the maintenance of international peace and security that had often been overlooked in the Council’s day-to-day work.
I wish to reiterate my delegation’s strong hope and confidence that our consideration of the issue of AIDS will provide a powerful impetus for reaching a new stage in the international community’s struggle against AIDS. For this purpose, the delegations of Namibia, Canada and Ukraine submitted to you, Mr. President, specific proposals regarding possible follow-up action. We thank you for taking up these proposals.
Humanitarian aspects of international crises, including the refugee problem, have been on the Council’s agenda for some time. Here, too, it is important that our discussions make a real difference on the ground. Special missions of the Council and preventive deployment may be steps that can show the Council’s willingness to put the issue of refugee protection, which is so acute in Africa, on a practical track.
Special prominence during this “month of Africa” in the Security Council was given to the situation in Angola. After the outstanding briefing by Ambassador Fowler on the results of his visit to that country, we have even more evidence that the Security Council is in a position to make a tangible contribution to achieving the ultimate goal of restoring peace and security in Angola.
This month the Security Council was also privileged to seat at its table one of the most prominent statesmen of our epoch, Mr. Nelson Mandela, who has been designated as the new Facilitator for the Arusha peace process. We very much hope that the strong support provided by the Council for the new Facilitator will boost his efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict in Burundi.
Finally, last week the Security Council addressed the major challenge facing the international community at the turn of the century. The historic meeting on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has resulted in a twofold recommitment. The first part was the assurance of the parties to the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement that they will respect this instrument as the only viable basis for the resolution of the conflict. The second part was the undertaking by the United Nations to support the implementation of the Lusaka Agreement. Furthermore, this was also perhaps the first time in several decades that the Security Council really held a meeting in the terms of Article 32 of the United Nations Charter, according to which the Council has an obligation to invite the parties to a dispute to participate in its discussions. We look forward to the deployment, without further delay, of a strong, full-fledged United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Let us also not ignore the other conflicts in Africa, which were rightly mentioned by Ambassador Greenstock as well as by Ambassador Hamer. We fully support the idea of establishing an expert group of the Security Council on Africa.
Let me conclude by highlighting one more innovation that promises to enrich both the Council’s procedures and the diplomatic process. We are all familiar with the good old custom of greeting the incoming President at the first meeting of the month. I am certainly not suggesting that you, Mr. President, convened this meeting on the last day of the month intentionally, with a view to collecting some extra salutations. Nonetheless, we gladly seize this opportunity to extend our most sincere congratulations on the successful completion of your first, yet truly excellent presidency of the Security Council. We express again our gratitude for your efforts to further raise the prestige of this organ in international politics.
Thank you, Mr. Ambassador, for your kind words. What you refer to as my first presidency is also undoubtedly going to be my last. That is either good news or bad news; it depends on your point of view.
With the permission of Ambassador Gatilov, I would now like to call on Foreign Minister Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa, who will have to leave shortly, and ask her if she would like to make any informal observations about what she has heard over the last two and a half hours, and whether she has any final thoughts for us.
First of all, just generally, I am quite encouraged by the remarks I have heard, because no one has said that the “month of Africa” has come to an end, and that is the end of the attention to these issues. Rather, everyone has said, as Ambassador Greenstock put it, that rhetoric must be followed by action. I think that many of the Ambassadors have said this as well. This is really very important.
Turning to a few of the issues: as regards Burundi, I think it is very important, obviously, to support the peace process there, as everyone has said, and to support former President Mandela. I just want to pick up on one issue that the French Ambassador mentioned — about putting a lot of political pressure on the parties in Burundi while at the same time providing some economic relief so that the country does not deteriorate and end up in chaos. That in itself would set the peace process back many years. So I agree with the French Ambassador that this is very important and should be followed up on.
On the question of AIDS, I cannot overemphasize that, though AIDS is a global problem, Africa at the moment is bearing the brunt of the epidemic, and it needs all the support it can get from everyone. So we hope that this will be followed up on. I am glad to hear that the General Assembly will be debating this.
Some comments that were made on Angola were very encouraging: first, paying attention to the humanitarian crisis there and, secondly, undertaking many measures to implement the sanctions against UNITA, following the report of Ambassador Fowler. This is very important. In addition, I think it was the Argentine Ambassador who said that there should be openness to discussions aimed at finding a political solution, because a military solution cannot be long-lasting. I agree with him there.
On the question of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is encouraging to hear that there will be a resolution that will mandate the United Nations to send more observers and a force with a Chapter VII to act in that country. It also will be important to make sure to prepare for the next phase — the third phase of the implementation of the Agreement.
The Ambassador of the Netherlands raised an important point about the disarming of illegal armed groups and about the fact that there have to be conditions under which they will be able to lay down their arms and return to their homes. I think this is very correct. I think that the Lusaka Agreement does indeed envisage a two-way process by which there would be disarmament and by which the countries of origin would create an environment in which those soldiers would be able to be repatriated and reintegrated into their homelands. I think it is important to look at it as a two-way process and an important part of the Lusaka Agreement aimed at resolving one dimension of the conflict.
With respect to the dialogue, it is really encouraging to hear pledges of support for the Facilitator, because President Masire is going to need a great deal of support — political, moral and financial. It will not be an easy process. Even trying to locate a venue for the dialogue will not be easy. He will need a great deal of support to identify all the necessary participants and the venue and to start the process. But it is, in our view, fundamental to a lasting peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lasting peace in that country cannot be achieved if the political situation is not resolved.
Everything I have heard is very encouraging. Let me say a few words about the conference that several people have mentioned — a peace conference on the Great Lakes region. I think that this would be an important step, but I would sound a note of caution as to its timing. If the timing is wrong, we may not get the desired results. We must time it in such a way as to get free-flowing and constructive discussions. It is an important conference, it should take place, but the timing will be critical.
I would also like to stress the comments made by the representative of the United Kingdom regarding some kind of group that would ensure that there is real follow-up and planning as well as deal with the issues of when to bring people, what to do and what other issues should be raised. I think that this is an excellent suggestion. I am not very familiar with how it would work, but I think that if it can work it would be excellent and should be considered seriously.
I thank the Foreign Minister of South Africa for coming back today. I think that her point-by-point comments on so much of what has been said are tremendously valuable. We thank her and would ask her to convey our great appreciation to President Mbeki for sending her here as his personal representative and to former President Mandela for making this long trip to report to us.
We join in the condolences expressed in connection with the crash of a Kenya Airlines airliner. We would also like to welcome our high-level guests from Zambia and South Africa.
Since our delegation has already had the opportunity to present the Russian Federation’s approach to the settlement of conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other aspects of problems on the African continent, and also bearing in mind the late hour, I should like to limit myself here to the following comments of a general nature.
The work done by the Security Council over the past month reflects the degree of concern evinced by the international community over the situation on the African continent. We cannot expect long-term, harmonious development in the world if African States, which constitute almost a third of the members of the international community, continue to find themselves in a situation of political, social and economic upheaval.
The discussions that took place in January on the broad range of problems facing Africa compellingly demonstrate, in our view, the need for joint efforts on the part of African countries themselves, which bear the primary responsibility for resolving the problems of the continent, and on the part of the friends of Africa to break the vicious circle of insufficient development, social and inter-ethnic problems, political and military instability and a breakdown in development programmes. The task of the Security Council is to see to it that these efforts are fully supported by the coordinating role, the authority and the capacity of the United Nations.
We need agreed-upon action on the part of the various bodies and agencies of the United Nations and of regional and subregional organizations so as to establish a system that would both prevent and settle conflicts, and to find a comprehensive solution to the task of post-conflict rehabilitation. This is the only way that the countries of Africa can truly set out on the great path of stable and dynamic development and achieve fully fledged integration into the world economy.
The Russian Federation’s approach to issues of cooperation with Africa and in Africa is based on an open, equal and mutually beneficial partnership without patronizing, ideological stereotyping or national narrow-mindedness. We intend in future to make every effort to contribute to resolving the problems of the African continent. Africa has been, is and will remain the focus of our constant attention.
I thank the representative of the Russian Federation for the kind words he addressed to me.
First of all, let me join others in paying a very special tribute to the extraordinary initiative and leadership provided by the United States during its presidency and by you, Mr. President, in your capacity as President of the Council. I believe we have achieved a lot during this presidency.
My delegation would like to give special thanks for this morning’s presentations by President Chiluba, Foreign Minister Dlamini-Zuma and Ambassador Baali, in his capacity as representative of the Chairman of the Organization of African Unity. We also appreciate the very important statement made by Deputy Secretary-General Fréchette.
We believe that the commitment that has been reaffirmed in this Council Chamber time and again during the month of January needs to be followed up. Bangladesh is honoured and proud to be a part of that commitment, and we would like to follow up on the words that we have spoken here.
The Security Council is moving ahead well, I believe, with regard to issues related to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone, but, as has been mentioned by a number of delegations, we need to also act on the other pending issues relating to Africa that are before the Council.
We would like to place particular emphasis on the follow-up to the meeting we had on 10 January on HIV/AIDS. I thank you, Mr. President, for circulating to us the two draft letters that you will be sending to the President of the General Assembly and the President of the Economic and Social Council. I believe that those contain very useful information, including the proposal for the special session of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS, as proposed by the Ambassador of Ukraine, joined by other colleagues.
We believe that the follow-up on HIV/AIDS and the letter to the President of the Economic and Social Council provide sufficient basis for us to perhaps convene a joint meeting of the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council. I think this is a long-pending idea that has been raised again and again. I believe HIV/AIDS in Africa is an issue that can provide us with that opportunity.
We would also like to support the appeal that you have made, Mr. President, with regard to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for at least a symbolic contribution by all the Council members for the Joint Military Commission and the facilitator’s office. We would very much support this. We propose that to take that matter up formally with our Governments, perhaps a letter from you to all of us will facilitate our getting these contributions out of the government process.
Finally, we have heard again and again this morning in the Council the words “follow-up” — effective, specific follow-up. I think Ambassador Hamer of the Netherlands articulated that in a very effective way. We strongly support this, and we believe we should have a time-bound, specific follow-up. I would request both your successor as President and all of us who will be succeeding each other to put Africa on the agenda in each of the months to come, so that the January “month of Africa” will be remembered as the initiator of the “months of Africa”.
I am gratified by your comments, and particularly your support of the suggestion that every member of the Security Council make at least a symbolic contribution to support the facilitator and the Joint Military Commission, and I note that you, Sir, will be the President of the Security Council in March.
First of all, I want to associate my delegation with the condolences expressed by the Foreign Minister of Namibia and President of the General Assembly to the families of the victims of the Kenyan aircraft crash.
We also wish to join in thanking the President of Zambia and the Foreign Ministers of South Africa and Namibia for having addressed the Council this morning, and also the Permanent Representative of Algeria in his capacity as representive of the chairmanship of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). They have provided a framework for action by the Council on African issues under our purview. While we may not have covered all the issues, we all agree that this month’s focus on Africa has been historic. We therefore wish to commend the United States presidency for its initiative.
We all agree that we have been sensitized to the varying needs of Africa, but this month has also brought to the fore issues that previously received piecemeal treatment. Now we have been forewarned, and therefore forearmed, to act decisively and swiftly. We have discussed at length various conflict situations, particularly the intra-State conflicts in the Great Lakes region, which have implications for international peace and security, and the linkages that can be associated with the AIDS pandemic and the flow of refugees and internally displaced persons in Africa.
The Security Council must move from words of sympathy to action. The international community, particularly Africa, is waiting to see our lofty pledges fulfilled. My delegation was heartened by the renewed attention on the conflicts in Angola, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The participation in our debates of so many heads of State, Ministers of Government and the Secretary-General of the OAU helped stress the gravity of the situation, as well as the fervent desire in all of the countries involved to bring an end to the conflicts.
The facilitators of the Arusha and Lusaka processes, former Presidents Mandela and Masire, and the leaders of the countries concerned must be able to count on the moral and financial support of the international community. The Council also needs to act speedily on the expansion of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the eventual deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force.
There are some common threads in our debates on Africa to which my delegation wishes to draw attention. One of the most compelling messages that has emerged is the inextricable link between peace, sustainable economic growth and sustainable development. We heard the Foreign Minister of South Africa emphasize this relationship. My delegation firmly believes that the root causes of conflict often lie in socio-economic conditions that are the natural breeding grounds for conflict.
The question for the Council is how to prevent such conflicts in the first place and how to assist in curbing the cycle of violence. The signing of peace agreements can be but a first step towards peace. We need to move beyond this stage to ensure that effective measures are in place to provide a smooth transition from a culture of war to a culture of peace. The international community must, as a first step, stop the flow of illegal arms to conflict situations and stop the plundering of Africa’s natural resources to purchase these arms. Without buyers there can be no sellers. The links exposed by Ambassador Fowler in his capacity as Chairman of the sanctions Committee on Angola have pointed us in the right direction.
Another common thread in all our discussions this month has been the plight of civilians, particularly children, as victims of war. We have all recited the refrain that “children are our future”. Yet in many parts of Africa, we run the risk of losing an entire generation. The high incidence of children among refugees and internally displaced persons as victims and orphans of the AIDS pandemic, of landmines and of malnutrition, the use of children as child soldiers and forced labour — all of these have exposed a generation of children to untold suffering and have robbed them of their innocence and childhood. We must restore peace to the war-torn communities, so that the children of the future can be provided with an environment conducive to their mental, moral, physical, social and economic development.
It is important for the Council to work closely with the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. Again, Mr. President, in this connection we wish to thank you for the letters that have been presented for our consideration, as it is only by addressing the problems in a holistic manner that there will be any lasting solutions.
Various recommendations for action have been presented by the African leaders, by the United Nations Secretary-General, by the Secretary-General of the OAU, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the head of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and by Council members, among others. Implementation of these recommendations will require the further commitment of human and financial resources. I want to thank Sir Jeremy Greenstock for his proposal for an ad hoc working group of the Council on Africa, and for having set the stage during his presidency last December for our focus on Africa this month.
The actions that we take in the future will signal our seriousness, not only in speaking on African issues, but also in taking concrete actions in support of peace, security and development on the continent.
I have a statement to make in my national capacity. Mr. Gurirab, would you like to precede my national statement by making a comment, or would you like me to go first? Please take your choice; I will be bound by your desire.
You will have the last word, Mr. President, so I will go before you.
I am not going to repeat what I have already said on two occasions, except to join others in stressing that our clarion call is for follow-up and, in particular, for speed in the deployment of United Nations military observers, to be followed by the deployment of the United Nations peacekeeping force itself under a Chapter VII mandate.
Secondly, there is a need for a clear and categorical definition of the relationship between the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Joint Military Commission (JMC) as regards the command and control structure. Thirdly, arms supplies and sanctions-busting must be stopped by all necessary means. Ambassador’s Fowler’s work is pioneering in this regard, and we should all support him.
I am looking forward to reflecting on the letters that are on their way to my office in respect of, among other issues, the proposed special session of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS. I welcome the idea of setting up a Security Council expert group to follow up on the important issues discussed and decisions taken here. However, I would like to remind the Council that in furtherance with the report of the Secretary-General on the causes of conflict in Africa (S/1998/318), the General Assembly set up a working group to deal with the implementation of the recommendations of the Secretary-General.
I would only appeal for all efforts to be made for greater coordination involving the Security Council, the General Assembly — I should have listed the General Assembly first — and the Economic and Social Council. We are really dealing with interrelated, if not similar, issues. While I welcome the need for greater coordination and consultation between the Security Council and the Organization of African Unity, we must begin at home. That means strengthening cooperation and regular consultations involving the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.
We are all agreed on support for the JMC and the facilitation.
I thank the Foreign Minister of Namibia for participating all morning long, for his friendship and for his support. I will use the remaining hours of the American presidency — ten and a half, to be precise — to urge in writing every member of the Security Council to offer at least symbolic support of the Joint Military Commission and the facilitation, as Mr. Chowdhury proposed, and to follow up on it.
I shall now make a statement, as briefly as possible, in my national capacity. I thank the President of the General Assembly, President Chiluba, Foreign Minister Dlamini-Zuma, the representative of the Organization of African Unity and Louise Fréchette, who is representing both the Secretary-General and herself, for all of their remarks. I was profoundly moved by the generosity of their comments today and by the unstinting support which the American delegation has felt from all of the other 14 members of the Security Council over the past month.
As Ambassador Hamer said, many attempts were made to introduce innovations this month, and the good news is that the 14 other members of the Security Council, without exception, responded positively. I hope that over the next few months the Presidents of the Security Council will continue to test the limits of what is possible here. Our fundamental goal — I am talking at the organizational level — is to maintain, restore or reaffirm the central role of the Security Council in dealing with many of the world’s problems today. The best way to do that is to display the flexibility, creativity and transparency that Ambassador Hamer showed. I particularly liked the fact that he referred to the transparency of our efforts.
This is the last statement that I will make before this body as President, and it is my hope that when we look back on January 2000, we will consider it a turning point for Africa, the United Nations and the relationship of the United States with both. Nearly two months ago, during our delegation’s 11-day trip to 10 African States, we decided to make January the “month of Africa”, and announced this in a speech in Pretoria. What we saw in Africa — the good and the bad, the stories of inspiration and the horrors that keep one up at night, the things the international community is doing and what it must do better — convinced us that these issues could not be properly addressed by a single event.
Building on the excellent efforts of Ambassador Greenstock last month, we decided to try to make a sustained, consistent and energetic effort, and set out to use the 30 days of the presidency — in fact, we had only 21 days because, as a result of the holiday schedule, we were able to begin only three weeks ago today — to set forth a United States policy of sustained engagement towards that great continent of Africa.
We focused on three objectives. First, and most fundamentally, we aimed to focus international attention on African issues. We aimed to put to rest the canard that Africa does not matter, to refute the belief that the international community has one set of rules for Europe or Asia and another for Africa. In fulfilling this objective, I think that so far we can say we have succeeded, although, as everyone has said, we will not have been successful if our efforts end tomorrow or at any time in the future.
Our second goal was to broaden the paradigm of security and to discuss, here in the Security Council — the international community’s premier forum for peace and security — issues that have not typically been our central focus: AIDS and refugees. Because of their direct effect on Africa’s stability and security and the common threat to humanity that they pose, we believe strongly that they should be defined henceforth as security threats, and treated as such. The meeting on the threat of HIV/AIDS was historic, as we all agree. All of us understand that, if left unchecked, AIDS will kill more Africans than all of the conflicts in the region combined — as it did last year.
I think that we reached a consensus that AIDS is, indeed, a threat to security. I am delighted with the fact that we are moving towards additional meetings on this subject, the details of which can be worked out. The President of the General Assembly has just given his view of this, and I know that my successors as President of the Security Council will wish to address this in consultation with the Ambassador of Indonesia, who is the current President of the Economic and Social Council, and with other officials.
We must match our words with deeds. For my country’s part, the Vice-President’s announcement that we will contribute an additional $150 million towards fighting AIDS, while it is far from enough to deal with the problem, will, we hope, be the beginning of a greater involvement. We welcome the activities of other countries and hope that there will be further action in this regard.
With regard to refugees and Mrs. Ogata’s important participation here this month, I think that we have to continue to challenge the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP) and ourselves to re-examine our structures so as to deal honestly with the fact that over two thirds of the people in the world who are homeless are classified as something called internally displaced persons — a terrible term for people who are just as much refugees as those who have crossed an international border. We must expand the definition of a refugee and erode, if not erase, the distinction between a refugee and an person who is internally displaced.
This is not just some meaningless bureaucratic distinction. Such definitions have real human consequences, particularly in a place such as Angola, where over 90 per cent of the homeless are so-called internally displaced persons. We cannot let this entire category of innocent victims fall through our bureaucratic cracks. I have already been contacted by the head of the WFP to tell me that I had underestimated the importance of her organization in this field, and that she should have the primary point of pride. I report that fact to the Council for further discussion. My own view is that this should not be a bureaucratic argument between UNHCR and the WFP. UNHCR has the infrastructure and experience. It should get support from others.
I cannot imagine why, in a country like Angola, we would have two organizations dealing with refugees, one — the big one, UNHCR — dealing with the smaller problem, and the other, WFP — an excellent organization, but not historically equipped for this — trying to put Band-Aids on 90 per cent of the problem. I have invited Mrs. Bertini to join us here in New York to talk to all of us about her strong views on this issue, because it is an excellent organization and I commend it. But I want to bring to the Council’s attention that I have already received a bit of feedback from my own comments about UNHCR.
The third objective of our month was unquestionably the most urgent: to help Africa’s leaders solve the festering conflicts that are ripping the continent apart. For the United Nations and the United States to meet our objectives in Africa, African societies need peace. We must accept a basic fact: Africa’s political, economic and social transformation flows from its peoples’ ability to maintain peace, stability and a just order. All that we hope for for Africa will not be possible if the conflicts in Angola, Burundi, the Congo, Ethiopia/Eritrea, the Sudan, Sierra Leone and elsewhere are allowed to continue.
I want to point out again that those conflicts we did not discuss this month were left off the agenda not because we wanted to leave them off, but because those people dealing directly with them asked that they be delayed to later in the calendar year. I am thinking specifically of Ethiopia/Eritrea.
In Angola and Burundi, we face humanitarian crises of epic proportions. We heard and viewed, thanks to Ambassador Fowler’s video, evidence that the United Nations sanctions on Angola are being flouted. The Security Council has established its agenda for Angola: strengthening sanctions, putting a spotlight on UNITA’s culpability in evading them; supporting operations for a proposed United Nations office there; and, of course, continuing to address the horrific state of refugees there.
In the Burundi meeting, we heard from President Mandela as he shared with us his vision for strengthening the Arusha peace process. With resolution 1286 (2000), adopted 10 days ago, the Security Council took an important step in supporting President Mandela.
On the Democratic Republic of the Congo, our meetings last week with seven Presidents culminated in a clear recognition that the time has come for our next steps. With the parties’ recommitment to Lusaka, which we heard again this morning, and their return next week to the region to follow up, we can move forward. With its presidential statement, the Security Council affirmed the international community’s commitment to supporting them. As President of the Security Council, we have begun consultations with the Congress and with all Council members on the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers. As long as the parties to the conflict prove they are prepared to live up to the commitments they made for peace, the international community embodied in this great Organization has a responsibility to support them.
Peace in the Congo, like everything else we have discussed this month, requires a sustained and steadfast commitment. The coming days will answer the question asked by everybody this morning about follow-up: Can the United Nations be more than what its critics often call a “talk shop”?
I should like to conclude by mentioning another critical aspect of this month’s activities: the revitalization of the American role in the United Nations. While not directly related to Africa, it is absolutely essential to everything we have discussed today.
As all here know, for the past few years that role has been deeply questioned. After the setbacks earlier in the past decade, especially in Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda, many Americans lost confidence in the United Nations. Some even speculated as to whether the United States should remain a part of it. During the last presidential campaign, members will recall that the Republican candidate used the United Nations and the Secretary-General at that time as targets for much of his campaign rhetoric.
What a difference four years make. To be sure, many concerns about the United Nations remain, but Senator Helms, in his unprecedented visit to New York and in his speech in this Chamber on 20 January, made his view absolutely clear. As promised, he gave a frank and open assessment and I congratulate all Council members for the skillful and brilliant way they addressed his points, welcoming him to the Chamber with the graciousness which is the hallmark of the United Nations diplomatic world, but also one by one taking issue with him on substance. I know from my private talks with him that it made a significant impression on him and his colleagues.
The view he expressed, however, is just one view. As Senator Biden, Senator Warner, Senator Grams, Senator Feingold and other visitors from the Congress made clear — as Secretary Albright and I both pointed out in the last week — most Americans see our role in the world and our relationship to this Organization in a different light. I would mention that President Clinton mentioned the United Nations, Africa and AIDS in Africa several times in his State of the Union message last Thursday.
But the very fact that Senator Helms, Senator Biden and his colleagues spent two days here, as well as the fact that Vice-President Gore and Secretary Albright presided over meetings of the Security Council, should speak volumes to all of us about the Administration’s commitment, about our nation’s commitment to the United Nations and a recognition — or perhaps, in some cases, a re-recognition — of what it can accomplish.
What the United Nations is doing and what it needs to do in Africa illustrates that it is truly, as President Clinton has said, an indispensable Organization, despite its flaws. We do not wish to turn a blind eye to the flaws; in fact, one of the most valuable things we can do is address those flaws, but always within the context of its indispensability to peace, in Africa and around the world.
So, at the close of our month as Security Council President, I am happy to say that, at the United Nations, America is back. The United States begins the twenty-first century with renewed hopes for the United Nations and renewed commitment to making this vital Organization work better.
It will be my great pleasure to turn the gavel over to our friend from Argentina in a few hours. Meanwhile, once again, I thank the members of the Security Council deeply — on behalf of all the United States delegation, including Secretary Albright, Vice-President Gore and, by extension, President Clinton, who is well aware of what we have been doing here this month — for their very gracious support.