The situation in Africa Letter dated 10 January 2002 from the Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2002/46)
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Chen Xu
|Mr. de Alba
The next speaker is the representative of Ghana. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. President, my delegation appreciates the opportunity to participate in this debate and wishes to congratulate your country on the success with which it has presided over the affairs of the Council this month. We also congratulate you on your initiative in ensuring that Africa remains a priority issue on the Council’s agenda.
Over the past two years, the Council’s work programme has covered various issues affecting Africa; these must continue to engage the Council’s attention if this organ is effectively and efficiently to discharge its Charter responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Ghana therefore commends the Council thus far, particularly those members who have used their presidencies to focus on African issues. We are heartened by the decision of the United Kingdom, announced yesterday by Baroness Amos, to devote its next presidency, in July, to giving a further African focus to the Council’s work.
The continued crises in many parts of Africa constitute an eloquent pointer to the need for a more comprehensive and integrated approach in dealing with the multifaceted problems of the continent. In that regard, my delegation welcomes the comments made by the Deputy Secretary-General, who highlighted the challenges confronting the continent and the role the international community must continue to play to help in addressing them.
We warmly welcome the presence in the Council Chamber of the new Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Mr. Amara Essy, and of a number of African Foreign Ministers. We believe that their contributions too have set the tone for this debate.
No region is immune to conflict, and Africa is no exception. For, so long as societies evolve and experience changes, tensions in communities and in States will be a natural consequence. The ability to deal with such trends promptly and resolutely, in such a manner that they do not obstruct societal development, is what is critical. Africa’s vulnerability, in our view, stems primarily from institutional weaknesses in its economic and political systems that hinder the ability of many African countries to foresee, forestall or manage tensions or conflicts when they occur. Nor, given the same constraints, are the necessary lessons learned to prevent the re-emergence of such conflicts.
The situation in Africa is not wholly gloomy. Of late there have been positive developments in conflict areas such as Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi. African countries have recognized that Africa ultimately has to pull itself up by its own bootstraps, and many are the African States whose leaders, through genuine commitment to the establishment of democratic pluralism, including good governance and respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law, are gradually putting in place policies that will bring about stability, transparency, accountability and ultimately peace and security. Given the nexus among peace, security and development, many African countries have also painfully implemented market-oriented policies, including the liberalization and privatization of their economies.
My own country, Ghana, has implemented economic reforms for more than a decade. Recently we successfully conducted elections at the highest level and managed a smooth handover of the reins of government from one party to another in an atmosphere of peace and calm. Strenuous efforts are still under way under the new Government’s “golden age of business” policy to ensure the full participation of the private sector in national economic management, a sine qua non for rapid development.
However, we should be frank and admit that, regrettably, many intra-State conflicts are still raging in Africa. Moreover, after years of painful economic reforms, only a few African countries have found in the post-liberalization period the expected sustained growth path. Consequently, our Governments do not have at their disposal sufficient resources to fund crucial social programmes, such as those in the spheres of health and education, which are deemed fundamental to any committed effort to tackle the pervasive problem of poverty, which is one of the many causes of conflict in the region. Our problems have been compounded by the scourge of HIV/AIDS and other endemic diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.
But we should also be realistic in recognizing that programmes for development in Africa are also affected by a number of external factors. These include non-remunerative prices for our export products, unfavourable terms of trade, the debt overhang and lack of access to the markets of the developed countries in an era of plummeting official development assistance.
Of particular concern to the international community, and indeed to the Council, have been conflicts fuelled by the easy availability of arms, which are often procured by non-State actors with the connivance of some Governments. Such conventional weapons have tended to exacerbate tensions unnecessarily and to prolong them, despite efforts to manage and resolve them. The Council itself held an open debate on that issue, in the wake of the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, to consider its role in the process. We look forward to further action on the matter, given its importance, particularly to Africa.
We feel that the international community must remain engaged in the important process of preventing and settling conflicts, as well as maintaining peace in Africa. The Security Council could spearhead such efforts, demonstrating the same urgency with which it deals with other priority issues.
In this regard, the Council should be guided by the Secretary-General’s report, issued in 1998, on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa. The Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on the Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa, established to monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the Secretary-General’s report, has already made some useful suggestions that, if carefully considered and implemented, would go a long way towards addressing the situation in Africa. The Security Council could complement the efforts of the General Assembly by galvanizing support for the implementation of the Secretary-General’s recommendations.
The current efforts in Africa to address issues of governance, conflict prevention, peace and security through the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) offer a common platform for the Security Council’s actions and approaches. That platform, based on a comprehensive treatment of the inter-linkages between peace and development and a recognition of Africa’s primary role in its own development, also reinforces the coherence in and coordination of the roles of the organs of the United Nations, including at the Secretariat level. We urge the Council to cooperate closely with the relevant bodies of NEPAD and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in order to increase the effectiveness and impact of United Nations support and its role in Africa.
On conflict prevention, management and resolution in general, we wish to state that we have observed that the Security Council is increasingly desirous, if not anxious, to pull out of conflict areas, especially in Africa, before situations actually stabilize, thereby endangering the whole peace process. There could hardly be a greater demonstration of the Council’s commitment than remaining fully engaged in all aspects of the process, especially in the post-conflict period — albeit on a much reduced scale — until durable peace is attained.
The international community has long recognized the cardinal importance of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in conflict resolution and peace-building. We share the view, however, that when it comes to the reintegration of ex-combatants, very often adequate resources are not provided, which may lead to a slide back into conflict. Here again, the Council should explore avenues for resource mobilization beyond voluntary pledges, whose discharge often lags far behind the needs of the programme on the implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.
We further wish to suggest that the Council continue to explore ways and means of using creative mechanisms like the appointment of special envoys and the sending of Security Council missions to conflict areas. It may be prudent for the Council to consider using some of these mechanisms in pre-emptive and proactive ways, before conflicts actually boil over.
A number of African countries have the political will to participate in peacekeeping operations but lack the capacity to do so. The Security Council may therefore wish to consider how to help such countries to build their capacity in this field so as to enable more African countries to participate in peacekeeping activities on the continent and elsewhere.
While we recognize the need for sanctions, and would like to see the strengthening of arms embargoes in some cases, the Security Council should ensure that innocent civilians and third-party States are not unduly affected. We would therefore urge the Council to consider the imposition of “smart sanctions”, as recommended by its own Committee on this issue.
We appreciate the importance of cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity on regional conflict prevention, since the latter has in place a Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution. We wish to appeal to the Security Council to continue to assist the OAU in its capacity-building so as to enable it play the role envisaged for it.
We would like to see more resolve in cooperation between the OAU and the United Nations. Now that the OAU is being transformed into the African Union, there may be some lessons to be learned from the institutional reform process of the United Nations itself and of other similar organizations, so that this relationship can be enhanced. In this regard, we note the presence of Mr. Javier Solana, the High Representative of the European Council, whose participation symbolizes the European Union’s firm ties with Africa. Given the historical links between Africa and Europe, we hope that the infant African Union will also be able to benefit from the experiences of the European Union.
The relevance of subregional organizations in dealing with conflicts, both within and among States, especially in Africa, has been recognized, given their proximity to conflict areas and their usefulness in consolidating overall efforts at conflict resolution in a particular region. The positive roles that have been played by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Community, in particular, are well known. The Council must consider how it can contribute to strengthening the capacity of these subregional bodies so as to enable them to discharge their responsibilities more effectively in conflict areas.
In this connection, we welcome the decision to establish a United Nations Office for West Africa and look forward to the early appointment of a special representative of the Secretary-General to coordinate United Nations efforts aimed at conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building. We recognize that this step acknowledges the relevance of a comprehensive approach that addresses the root causes of conflict and potential conflict, including political, economic and social factors. Ghana expects the special representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa to work in close cooperation and harmony with the leaders of the subregion, particularly the Executive Secretary of ECOWAS. The success of that subregional office would have useful lessons for other regions in Africa and beyond.
Finally, we believe that the time has come for the Security Council — after devoting about 60 per cent of its work to African issues over the past two years — to translate its ideas and decisions into reality and match its words with deeds. To this end, we urge the Council, drawing on its own best practices, to consider the setting up of a mechanism that will help it to coordinate and assist in the expeditious implementation of all programmes and decisions relating to Africa.
Before giving the floor to the next speaker, may I reiterate my appeal of yesterday for speakers to limit the duration of their statements as much as possible. At 5.30 p.m. we will be holding consultations on the Middle East, and I hope to complete the list of speakers before then.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Jamaica. I invite her to take a seat at the Council table and to make her statement.
Jamaica is pleased that Mauritius has convened this open debate on the situation in Africa. The fact that you, Mr. Foreign Minister, are presiding over this meeting is a further demonstration of your country’s commitment to promoting peace in Africa. I also wish to commend Ambassador Koonjul and his team for the excellent leadership provided to the Security Council during this month.
The participation in this debate of the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity and several Government Ministers — from members and non-members of the Security Council — as well as President of the Economic and Social Council, is testimony to the importance that the international community attaches to African issues.
Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette’s outline of the practical steps taken by the United Nations in implementing the report of the Secretary-General on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa confirms the role of the United Nations and the commitment of the Secretary-General to the cause of peace in Africa. The Secretary-General of the OAU, His Excellency Amara Essy, has given us his perspective on how the Security Council, in partnership with the OAU, can best assist in bringing about peace on the continent. This debate once again underscores the need for closer collaboration between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations — a matter of continuing interest to the Security Council in fulfilling its mandate for the preservation of international peace and security.
We believe that the practical steps outlined in the report of the Secretary-General on the causes of conflict in Africa could enhance the relationship between the United Nations and the OAU. To this end, Jamaica supports a call for the further strengthening of the United Nations office to the OAU in Addis Ababa.
We also support the suggestion made yesterday that the Council should explore ways of involving the OAU in the planning of its missions to areas of conflict. Further, the United Nations must provide assistance to African countries in examining ways in which regional and subregional integration organizations can be used to support economic discipline and sound economic policy, and in facilitating the establishment of solid institutional and confidence-building links between neighbouring countries. In this regard, we appreciate the steps taken to establish the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and hope that the Office will soon be fully operational.
While my delegation agrees that an integrated, holistic strategy involving Governments, the United Nations system and regional and subregional organizations is critical if we are to attain a sustained and lasting solution to the problems in Africa, equal emphasis must be placed on establishing an effective intergovernmental mechanism within the United Nations system which will help prevent the further emergence of conflicts, restore peace and security and promote economic and social development. It is in this context that Jamaica continues to stress the need for closer collaboration between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.
The international community must redouble its efforts to address the root causes that often underlie socio-economic and development constraints. It is increasingly evident that there is an intrinsic link between the proliferation of conflict, the persistent economic problems, the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and the flow of refugees and internally displaced in the continent. The United Nations system, including the funds, programmes and agencies, and the Bretton Woods institutions must work with the OAU and its successor, the African Union, and subregional organizations in addressing these concerns.
We also see as a complementary strategy the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), whose goal is to create conditions for the economic and social development of the continent.
In the past two years we have seen significant progress towards resolving a number of conflicts in Africa, particularly in Sierra Leone, Ethiopia/Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Security Council has also given its full support to the regional initiative on Burundi. On the other hand, we still need to determine how to address more effectively other, intractable conflicts, including the situations in Angola and Somalia.
It must also be emphasized that development assistance to countries for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants, including child soldiers, is critical to the success of various peace processes. In this context, ongoing rehabilitation and reconstruction processes, such as those in Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic, must be given the necessary resources to prevent the re-emergence of conflict.
The role of civil society, particularly that of women’s organizations, in conflict prevention and peace-building has been pivotal in initiating dialogue in many war-torn societies in Africa, for example, in the Mano River Union and Great Lakes regions. This positive dynamic must be encouraged by tangible support from the international community. We must see conflicts anywhere in Africa as affecting the future of the whole continent in realizing its potential for human security, economic development and lasting peace.
As we focus attention on resolving current conflicts — and while there have been some notable successes — the international community must recommit to devoting adequate resources to preventing the emergence of conflict in the first instance. There remains no lack of agreement on the root causes of conflict. Economic and social deprivation and abject poverty have been identified as primary causes. Last year, the Secretary-General, in his report on the prevention of armed conflict, offered a number of recommendations for action by the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the United Nations funds, programmes and agencies. We must ensure that these recommendations, which have been endorsed by all concerned, are implemented.
The Security Council, including through this debate, has taken a lead role in advancing this agenda. We must move forward in full partnership with the Economic and Social Council, which has significant responsibilities in this area. We trust that the participation of the President of the Economic and Social Council in this debate is a precursor to a closer relationship and cooperation between these two organs.
Our efforts to address conflict prevention and sustainable peace in Africa must not be defined merely by this debate. The commitment of the developed world must be demonstrated in tangible ways. The upcoming Monterrey summit on financing for development provides an opportunity for the developed world to commit to preventing armed conflict and sustaining peace in Africa and elsewhere. Commitment to sustainable development and poverty reduction must be the first step in eliminating the causes of conflict.
We recognize that the needs have dramatically increased in the last decade, while available resources are frozen in time. Resources once tied to the ideological battle of the cold-war era must now be freed for human development.
Minister O’Donnell of Ireland made the point early in this debate that the 2015 international development goals will not be achieved without ethical political leadership from developed countries. My delegation is gratified that Ireland and others are demonstrating such leadership in a tangible way.
The global community has demonstrated the political will necessary to deal with certain issues, not the least of which is the scourge of international terrorism. Our reaction to international terrorism in the past few months has been unprecedented. The international community must equally commit to removing the causes of conflict such as poverty and underdevelopment — proven breeding grounds for terrorism. Baroness Amos of the United Kingdom quite rightly made the linkages between conflict and terrorism.
It is beyond doubt that violent conflict in Africa is a threat to global security, providing opportunities for international criminal and terrorist activities. The Ministers of Ireland and Norway emphasized the importance of tackling the illicit flow of small arms and light weapons and the need to implement the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
Jamaica fully supports the cause of peace in Africa. It is our hope that this meeting will have sown the seeds for further cooperation, leading to lasting peace and sustainable development in Africa and to the creation of a better world for all.
I thank the representative of Jamaica for her kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker on my list is the representative of India. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I would like to express our appreciation to you, Sir, for calling an open meeting on this important issue. I would also like to extend to you a welcome to New York. It is indeed a great pleasure to see you presiding over this meeting. Your personal presence throughout this meeting is a testimony to the importance which you attach to the subject. In keeping with your direction, I shall abridge the statement which I was about to make.
India has an abiding connection and concern with Africa. With the waning of the colonial era, we did not regard the liberation of Asia as complete without the liberation of Africa, and we have fought for African causes since becoming a founding Member of the United Nations. For instance, the item of apartheid was inscribed by India on the agenda of the United Nations. Indeed, we have considered the destiny of independent nations of Asia and Africa as linked in the quest for an equitable world order. This focused debate in the Council, therefore, on a continent with which we have historic ties of solidarity and an emotional bond is one which we particularly welcome.
We would also like to thank Ambassador Koonjul for the guidelines prepared for this meeting to stimulate a more focused debate. While the questions posed in the list are all very pertinent, we will dwell upon only a few.
To Africa’s credit, within decades of gaining freedom, it has collectively endorsed the firm principle of participative governance, and the democratic norm has already been established in the continent. The dynamics and fundamental freedoms of democracy are the antidote to repression, injustice and social, economic and political marginalization. Democratic processes nurture a culture of reason and accommodation and work towards balance in resource allocation and distribution. They ensure openness and transparency in decision-making and impart a sense of all-embracing participation and ownership — and your country, Mr. President, is a shining example of this. They give a shared stake to all in a society’s future. It is a tribute to African leadership and wisdom that the continent has taken collective action to invest belief in this process, strengthen it and not allow any regression by deciding to stigmatize regimes usurping power through force and unconstitutional means. On this issue, Africa is leading by example. It is something that the United Nations should draw lessons from. The obligation is now on Africa’s partners to strengthen African resolve by their actions in every way and to ensure its success by supportiveness and an engagement of effective solidarity.
Mr. President, your question regarding the record of the international community in preventing intra-State instability and other conflicts in Africa is very pertinent. Some honest soul-searching would bear out that it is mixed at best. There have been some success stories, but we cannot seek solace in those. Even one failure is bad enough, and in Africa there have been many. In Angola, the conflict would not have taken place or continued with so much avoidable suffering and loss but for the misguided involvement of the international community. In Rwanda, it was clearly tragic neglect and the dereliction of a required course of determined action. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the engagement, as this Council was reminded in an earlier debate, is far short of what is required. One could add to these examples, but that would not be necessary. Clearly, there have been failures on the part of the international community. We need to draw lessons from them for future engagement.
There is a feeling among African countries, and shared by many others, that peacekeeping in Africa does not receive the priority it deserves. Often the response of the international community is a case of doing too little too late. A recent example is the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The United Nations has been extremely cautious in expanding the operations of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC). While a degree of caution is certainly justified, and indeed should infuse our decision-making, it is imperative that the international community dispel any misgivings regarding neglect of African needs, as compared to the promptness with which it can respond to crises in other parts of the world, of which Kosovo and East Timor are notable examples. The reluctance of developed countries to participate in any meaningful manner in operations such as MONUC gives further credence to such a view. The Council, by its resolution 1376 (2001) of 9 November 2001, had supported the Secretary-General’s recommendations regarding the launching of phase III of the deployment of MONUC. Almost three months down the road, Member States still await a revised concept of operations for phase III. Caution should not assume the aspect of neglect.
It is also argued that there is a limit to how much the international community can do. The fact is that, even in comparative terms, the quantum, speed and magnitude of the response of the international community to African crises has not been the same as for Kosovo or East Timor. This, too, is a sore point. An example: Kosovo has 40,000 peacekeepers; the Democratic Republic of the Congo, larger than Western Europe in area, has about 2,000. We should be chary of inviting the charge of “humanitarian favouritism”.
Much has been made of enhancing Africa’s peacekeeping capacity. While creditable efforts have been made at the bilateral level, there has unfortunately been little progress to report on the ambitious efforts initiated by the Secretariat in August 1998 in this regard. Such assistance should be carefully tailored to the requirements of Africa and be based on solutions articulated by the countries of the continent, rather than imposed from the outside as prescriptions.
In this context, we support the ongoing cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), as well as with subregional organizations in Africa. A number of African countries have emerged as major troop contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations, particularly in Africa. However, many lack the resources to provide fully equipped and self-sustained contingents. The General Assembly and its relevant bodies should expeditiously approve proposals by the Secretariat to build up strategic stocks at the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi to assist such troop contributors. Another important element is training, and in this regard, we are happy to note that the Secretariat has begun taking initiatives to qualitatively improve training standards in troop-contributing countries.
While on the face of it the idea of building an African peacekeeping capacity looks attractive, some caveats would be in order. First, it should not imply or lead to the onus for peacekeeping in Africa being left to Africans. The maintenance of international peace and security is first and foremost the responsibility of the United Nations through the Security Council. There should be no dilution of this by shifting the obligation to regional organizations or to coalitions of the willing. Within this framework, cooperation with the regional organizations should, of course, be welcome. Secondly, building peacekeeping capacity involves building military and related logistics capacities. These are expensive to build and maintain. It would also not easily be reconciled with the message received by African countries to reduce their defence expenditure.
The important role that regional and subregional organizations play with regard to conflict resolution, peacemaking and peacekeeping is widely acknowledged. Regional and subregional organizations indeed can and do play a useful role, as the OAU has done in Ethiopia and Eritrea or Burundi. We support encouraging their efforts and capacity-building. However, we notice a tendency, particularly evident in Africa, of the international community to transfer its responsibility and subcontract initiatives to regional and subregional organizations, which may not necessarily be prepared for them. This tendency needs to be arrested, and, in certain situations where regional and subregional organizations can play a meaningful role, they should be backed both politically and, more importantly, through an infusion of the resources required.
The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programmes are often an important ingredient in sustaining the peace. Experience has shown that for a DDR programme to be successful, there should be strong international peacekeeping deployment and adequate financial resources. The study by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research convincingly demonstrates that this was the lesson learned in Liberia, which, unfortunately, was ignored in neighbouring Sierra Leone and had to be relearned at a high cost later. We congratulate the Government of Sierra Leone on the successful conclusion of the disarmament programme earlier this month. We hope that the United Nations and the international community will distil lessons learned carefully from its various DDR programmes to avoid costly mistakes.
Much killing and wanton mayhem has been inflicted, often on innocent civilians, women and children, leading to the spread and exacerbation of conflicts, due to the easy and ready availability of small arms and weapons. But most of these arms and weapons are not manufactured in Africa and are often supplied illegally. On its own initiative, Africa is doing a great deal to address this problem. The Declaration of a Moratorium on the Importation, Exportation and Manufacture of Small Arms and Light Weapons in West Africa and the Declaration concerning Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials in the Southern African Development Community are some examples. But by itself, the action taken by African countries will not be enough. It needs to be reinforced and supported by matching restraint and action from the international community. We have two suggestions. First, as with conflict diamonds and drugs, the control should be exercised where it is most likely to work: at the source of production. It is therefore important that effective controls be exercised by the countries of the manufacturers and exporters of arms and weapons. Secondly, as is well known, once weapons enter the grey market, it is almost impossible to control their movement. It is therefore important that the international community accept an obligation not to supply weapons to non-State actors. This would ensure that the Savimbis and the Sankohs would be deprived of their means to wage wars.
Post-conflict peace-building in intra-State conflict, as is often the case in Africa, is by definition a multidisciplinary approach integrating, inter alia, institution-building, justice, economic progress and social development. While of pivotal importance, these fall outside the mandate of the Council. Furthermore, the Council is not equipped to handle such activities. These activities are the responsibility of the General Assembly, which is where these should be discussed and dealt with.
India has an unmatched record in peacekeeping operations in Africa, having participated in some capacity in each and every United Nations peacekeeping operation established in the continent, including in some of the most difficult ones, such as in the Congo, Somalia, Angola, Sierra Leone and now in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A large number of Indian soldiers have made the supreme sacrifice for the cause of peace in Africa, and there can be no better testimonial to our enduring commitment to peace in this brotherly continent.
This commitment has been further strengthened through bilateral cooperation programmes with individual African countries. A large number of African military personnel attend professional courses in staff colleges and other training institutions in India, including at the recently established Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping in New Delhi.
But more importantly, in keeping with our firm belief that a key ingredient of long-term solution to conflict is economic progress, we have attached the highest priority to technical and economic cooperation with Africa. About 15,000 foreign nominees, primarily from Africa, have received training in India in diverse fields. We provide around 1,350 training slots every year in some of our best educational institutions for foreign trainees, of which nearly 60 per cent are from Africa. Thousands of students from Africa receive heavily subsidized education in Indian universities every year. For us, cooperation with Africa is not just sound policy — it is an article of faith.
It is our sincere hope that today’s deliberations will contribute to crafting better solutions to Africa’s problems, but, more than that, that they will galvanize the Council and the international community’s will and determination to address the challenges to peace and security in Africa more resolutely and promptly and demonstrate effective solidarity with it. Africa deserves nothing less.
Mr. President, before concluding, let me place on record our deep appreciation of the outstanding contribution to the Council’s work by Ambassador Koonjul and his dedicated team.
I thank the representative of India for his kind words addressed to the Chair and to the team on the Security Council.
The next speaker on my list is the representative of Ukraine. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. President, the initiative of the delegation of Mauritius to convene this momentous debate receives our full support and appreciation. We are also pleased to see the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Mauritius presiding over this important meeting.
Ukraine considers this high-level Council discussion, with the participation of the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union, foreign ministers and many friends of Africa, to be a unique opportunity to refocus the attention and commitment of the international community towards strengthening peace and security in the region and supporting Africa’s endeavours to achieve long-term stability, prosperity and peace for its peoples.
There is no doubt that the conflicts in Africa today represent a major challenge to the continent, as well as to global security and stability. Despite some positive developments — for instance those in Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Eritrea — the continent continues to be ravaged by armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi, by instability in Somalia and Angola, and to be challenged by the problems of post-conflict peace-building in Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic. In the face of persistent violence, unspeakable loss of life, human suffering on the part of civilian populations, especially of women and children, millions of refugees, returnees and displaced persons, the international community cannot afford to be complacent.
During the past few years the United Nations Security Council has led the international front in addressing conflict situations in Africa. During the two years of Ukraine’s membership in the Council, a number of important issues pertaining to conflict situations in Africa were raised in the Council, among them the sources and driving forces of conflicts, approaches to prevent and address these conflicts and protect the victims, as well as various aspects of United Nations peacekeeping and sanctions.
I must mention the major milestones in the Council’s African agenda in recent years, which gave an opportunity to world leaders to exchange views and to bring greater international attention to the most burning issues of the continent — and here I mean, of course, the holding of “a month of Africa” in January 2000, a Council meeting held at the level of heads of State and Government on 7 September 2000 and a series of initiatives in November and December 2001. Today’s debate is another event of this kind, which, I hope, will add new impetus to international action in support of Africa.
Ukraine has always been determined to make a practical contribution to international peace efforts aimed at resolving conflicts in Africa. The participation of Ukrainian peacekeepers, which has sometimes resulted in the ultimate sacrifice in United Nations peacekeeping missions in Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia/Eritrea, testifies to that commitment.
The complex nature of conflict in Africa calls for a comprehensive integrated response and requires equally responsible action from others beyond the Council, i.e. on the part of other relevant bodies of the United Nations. In this context, we welcome the participation in this debate of the President of the Economic and Social Council. International assistance plays a critical part in Africa’s efforts to eradicate poverty and promote economic growth and development in order to abolish the culture of war and to promote the culture of peace and development.
Today’s debate draws particular attention to the importance of increased United Nations engagement in Africa and better coordination and dialogue with regional and subregional organizations. Ukraine places particular emphasis on the need to ensure the continued support of the international community for the efforts of the OAU, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other African subregional organizations that have conflict prevention, conflict management and peacemaking at the top of their agendas.
For its part, Ukraine has offered to collaborate with the OAU in development efforts within the continent. Our determination was reiterated during the January visit to Africa by Yuriy Sergeyev, the State Secretary of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, in his discussions with the Secretary-General of the OAU. Ukraine is prepared further to develop constructive partnership and comprehensive cooperation with the Organization of African Unity.
Ukraine pledges its continued support to efforts on the part of the international community, in solidarity with Africa, aimed at strengthening peace, cooperation and development in the continent. We believe that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), an OAU-backed initiative, with endorsements throughout the world, will move Africa’s regeneration forward.
Finally, I would like to quote the President of Ukraine, who confirmed at the Security Council Summit in September 2000 that “Ukraine looks forward to a century of African renaissance and stands ready to advance its arrival” (S/PV.4194, p. 13).
I thank the representative of Ukraine for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker on my list is the representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
At the outset, I should like, on behalf of my delegation, to thank you, Sir, and through you, your Government, your people, your mission here in New York and Ambassador Koonjul for your initiative to convene this meeting, which we welcome.
Secondly, I extend our sincere thanks to the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, who, among all officials of this international Organization, is the most interested in African issues. His many reports to the Security Council and other organs of the United Nations reflect that intense interest. I also thank the Deputy Secretary-General for the various practical points she made in her statement yesterday. I extend my sincere regards to the many African ambassadors who have come here specifically to participate in this debate. Moreover, I extend my thanks and best wishes to my brother, the Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity, Mr. Amara Essy, for his statement and for all his efforts on behalf of Africa. We are hopeful that his leadership and capabilities will help Africa achieve a better future.
The theme of our debate, “The situation in Africa”, is very clear. I would say that the situation is truly bad. We have suffered from conflicts, rivalries, debt, disease and external pressures; even nature is angry with the continent. We have witnessed extreme drought and desertification, which have caused much hunger and deprivation. We have witnessed floods and catastrophes of all sorts throughout Africa, including the eruption of volcanoes that have destroyed entire villages and towns.
With regard to conflict, we should not be surprised by what we have witnessed in Africa. From a purely historical point of view, it is easy to understand and interpret the grave social upheavals on the continent. The peoples and States that we now call the developed countries — at least in the material or cultural sense — have gone through much worse. They have been through numerous civil wars and foreign conflicts that have lasted centuries. They have also been involved in regional wars and in wars that took place not at home, but in the homelands of others, such as ours. Those they called “world wars”.
Historical evolution is governed not by decisions, but by time. As a result of colonization, we Africans, whether we live in tents in the desert or in occupied cities, are not very familiar with the kind of stability that has prevailed in other countries. Even today, stability is unknown is many corners of Africa. Thus, if we view this issue from the appropriate historical perspective, we must conclude that our present is a natural consequence of the past. I do not mean that we should accept it; rather, we must face up to it and make every possible effort to help Africa modernize and move on towards peace, stability, reconstruction and development.
How can we achieve this? When the Security Council assumes its responsibility, supports stability and peace and assists the Organization of African Unity and other regional organizations in their efforts, then we may possibly achieve our objective. We have yet to see such material support from the Council. The statement made by Ambassador Mahbubani yesterday will bear out that observation. The innumerable meetings held, statements made and hours spent here are not what Africa is waiting for. Africa expects serious work by the Security Council that will help it to heal its wounds. Are you going to be moved to action? This is what Africa expects of you.
My country not only calls on others to do so, but works continuously on these issues. We do not call on others while we ourselves do nothing. We do our share. In the interest of brevity, I will summarize the statement I had intended to make, but I will provide members of the Council with documentation demonstrating all the daily work we have done in my country for Africa. I do so not in order to boast, but to prove that we are being very practical and expect the same from others.
Libya launched an initiative — which later became a joint initiative with Egypt — to restore stability, reconciliation and peace in the Sudan. The Foreign Minister of the Sudan, before leaving my country yesterday, confirmed that the initiative had been successful, since it included all parts of his country, not just certain regions. The practical result of the initiative is that all the leaders of the opposition in the Sudan have come to the negotiating table and are working together politically. The initiative encompassed the entire country.
We have striven and have made tremendous efforts to reconcile brothers in the Sudan and Uganda and in Eritrea and the Sudan. We have undertaken visits to the Sudan; the Sudanese President has been to Uganda; the Ugandan President has been to the Sudan; diplomatic ties have been restored and reconciliation has prevailed.
As for Somalia, we have done a great deal from the very outset. We invited all the factions in Somalia to meet together in Libya; they did so and their Arta conference was a success. Last week, the Somali President came to Libya and our two countries agreed on the following steps. In the field of small arms and light weapons, the Somali Government is committed to disarming and demobilizing all combatants, a process which the Libyan Government will finance. We are doing so now, just as we have financed similar efforts in other African countries. The Government will collect these weapons and destroy them, as was done in Sierra Leone. Libya will also provide funding of $7.5 million, in a manner to be agreed by both parties, for the salaries of the military and the police for three months. We provide material assistance as well — scores of vehicles from Libya to be used by the civilian police, customs officers and even military officers. We also provide assistance in starting up power stations and generators in Mogadishu and contribute to the maritime fishing company established jointly by our country and Djibouti. We help that country in the agricultural sector as well.
Moreover, we have cooperated with Burundi and attended the Arusha meetings. We have worked with the countries of the Mano River Basin and other African nations such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which responded positively to our request for meetings and agreed with us on texts that will be included in the documents that I will provide to the Council. We have also worked for reconciliation between our brothers in Ethiopia and Eritrea. We have assisted our brothers in Sierra Leone, whose President visited my country to express his thanks. In addition, we sent a high-level emissary to attend the ceremonies in Sierra Leone, including the destruction of weapons that I mentioned earlier.
We recently informed the Council that, after an entire year of continuous effort, we have secured an agreement with our brothers in Chad, which sent its representatives to Libya and agreed to a proposal that we had previously sent to them. Now a ceasefire is in effect, the peace process is back on track and Libya is supervising the implementation of the various provisions of the agreement.
The Security Council is probably well aware of what Libya has done twice to stop the bloodshed in the Central African Republic and to contain the situation so that it does not extend beyond the country’s borders. We are pleased with our achievement in that regard, and the leader of the Libyan Revolution, Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi, has contacted the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, concerning cooperation and coordination efforts.
Furthermore, the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) recently attended a meeting with 17 African ministers. That meeting established a committee for conflict resolution in Africa, and the results of the meeting will be conveyed to the Council by the mission concerned.
I have spoken very briefly in order to show that Libya is engaged daily in working for Africa. As Africans, we would like to make the following requests of the Security Council.
First, Africa, a poor continent, cannot finance peacekeeping forces in all its regions. We request that the Security Council manage the situation in Africa the same way it has managed situations on other continents. Africa cannot provide the financing, but more important, the international community should supervise all peacekeeping operations. Libya is being asked to provide millions of dollars to finance these operations. We accept this responsibility, but we would request more involvement and engagement by other parties so that we can continue our support. Libya has spent $65 million in the past few years alone on peacekeeping operations carried out by the Organization of African Unity and other regional and subregional organizations on the continent. We would like the Security Council to support the requests made by African subregional organizations and the African Union. All we ask for from the Council is equal treatment.
Secondly, with regard to the economic situation, members will recall that at the inauguration ceremony of President Chavez of Venezuela as leader of the Group of 77 and China this year, Mr. Chavez stated that a decade ago the debt of the Latin American countries was $700 billion. Now they have paid off $700 billion, but they still owe $900 billion. This fact is unbelievable. How can a continent pay $700 billion and still be $900 billion in debt? These figures come from the International Monetary Fund and other development banks. If Africa continues in the same manner, it will not be able to pay its debts for centuries.
What we request is just and legitimate; we do not ask for charity. All those who participated in the pillaging of Africa’s resources, which reached the point where Africans were bought and sold and transported across oceans and seas — even the African name Kunta Kinte has been changed to a non-African name — should atone for their past mistakes by compensating Africa for the long years of bitter colonization and pillaging. A first step would be to forgive Africa’s debt so that it can return to the path of progress.
Even in the field of HIV/AIDS, we are cooperating with our brothers in Nigeria and Cuba, although we lack a pharmaceutical industry that is capable of producing the necessary medicines.
I thank the representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for his kind words addressed to the Chair.
The next speaker on my list is the representative of Malaysia. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I am aware of the constraints on our time, Mr. President, so I shall try to respond to your appeal and omit some portions of my prepared statement.
My delegation is pleased to see you, Sir, preside over this important meeting of the Council on the situation in Africa. We commend Mauritius for its initiative in convening this meeting of the Council to discuss this very important subject.
My delegation would like to thank the Deputy Secretary-General for her succinct, focused and useful remarks highlighting the work that has been done by the United Nations in addressing the problems of Africa, particularly as it relates to peacekeeping, conflict prevention and resolution and post-conflict peace-building, in close cooperation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and subregional organizations in Africa.
We appreciate the contribution made by the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity, Mr. Amara Essy, in this debate. He has given us the perspective of the African continent as seen from the vantage point of the OAU secretariat, which complements the views and perspectives given by member States of that organization.
I think everyone agrees with the analysis of the Secretary-General as to the root causes of conflict in Africa contained in his 1998 report on the subject. These include, inter alia, the legacies of colonialism; internal factors such as inter-ethnic conflict; weak State structures and institutions of governance; poverty and economic backwardness; and external factors, such as competition for political influence, especially during the cold war, and economic exploitation, resulting in the current parlous and marginalized State in which African countries find themselves today.
However, all these analyses of the causes of conflict in Africa should not be an academic exercise to be resorted to from time to time in the Council as a substitute for action. What is more important is for the Council, and the United Nations in general, to seriously and systematically address these root causes in ways that will, if not remove them once and for all, at least minimize their potential for further and more protracted conflict and instability on the African continent.
Many speakers have underscored the paramount role and responsibility of the Council in dealing with African conflicts. Malaysia, too, wishes to underscore that important point. The Council, in fulfilling its Charter-mandated responsibilities, must be at the forefront of international efforts to manage and resolve the various conflicts on the African continent through its peacekeeping missions, which now includes the very important components of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants (DDR).
Having been closely associated with the DDR initiative during Malaysia’s membership in the Council, I share the concern expressed by the Deputy Secretary-General yesterday about the continuing weakness of the DDR process, particularly as it relates to the reintegration of ex-combatants. The success of each and every component of the DDR process cannot be overemphasized if we are to ensure that there is no return to conflict. At the same time, the other relevant organs and agencies of the United Nations must fully partake in the post-conflict peace-building process, whose success is vitally important to the peace process as a whole.
Both Mr. Essy and Ms. Fréchette had pointed to the ongoing institutional linkages and mechanisms of cooperation and coordination between the two organizations, such as the regular high-level consultations between officials of the United Nations and the OAU, as well other important contacts and dialogues at functional levels. The presence of United Nations offices in a number of problem areas in Africa, such as West Africa, and the field missions undertaken by representatives of the Secretary-General and other United Nations officials, also contribute to more effective cooperation and coordination between the two organizations.
We encourage these activities and urge that they be further strengthened and given the necessary support so as to ensure that the United Nations and the OAU work together in tandem and in full appreciation of each other’s role and responsibility. Inasmuch as the United Nations should not wash its hands of regional conflicts, it should also not ignore the substantive contributions that could be made by regional and subregional organizations in the management or resolution of these conflicts. We hope that this partnership, which is essential, will be further strengthened.
In the context of the Council, my delegation strongly supports the practice of dispatching Council missions to conflict areas, not only to supplement the efforts undertaken by the Secretariat, but, more importantly, to enable Council members better to appreciate the situation on the ground and the complexities of the problems they are dealing with. We would also reiterate our earlier suggestion, made when we were in the Council, for more frequent informal exchanges of views between Council members and the Secretary-General and his staff on sensitive issues dealt with by the Council, including, of course, African issues, away from the glare of publicity. While it is not exactly the same thing, the idea of setting up a working group of the Security Council on African issues is a laudable proposal and should be supported.
Many speakers have drawn attention to the initiatives that have been taken at the regional and subregional levels in Africa and the modest successes they have achieved. In particular, they have highlighted the steps that have already been taken by Africa to establish institutions and mechanisms for conflict prevention and conflict management, and noted that they looked forward to the strong backing of, and partnership with, the United Nations as well as with the other members of the international community and their respective organizations.
We must commend and strongly support these efforts, which have been pursued by Africa in spite of the many constraints facing it. Inasmuch as African States themselves recognize their own responsibilities in dealing with African issues, including the management of their conflicts, it is incumbent upon the other members of the international community to do all they can to support these efforts, as insecurity and instability in Africa affect, directly or indirectly, the entire global community. In the interdependent world in which we live, the appeal by Africa must not only be heard but also responded to positively by the international community, including the United Nations and other relevant international organizations that have a role to play in helping out Africa, including the influential G-8.
We all know what the problems basically are in Africa, what ought to be done and where the responsibilities lie. What is important is the need for more serious follow-up actions on the part of all concerned, including the Council and members of the international community, to assist Africa in addressing the problems afflicting it. The key to this is political will on the part of members of the Council to take the necessary measures and to follow up on them. This political will to act and to deal with conflict situations should be demonstrated in an even-handed fashion regardless of where such conflicts occur, whether it be in Africa or elsewhere. Unless the will exists to act decisively, there is a real risk of inaction, indecisiveness and paralysis in the Council.
This would only increase scepticism and cynicism regarding the capacity of the Council to deal meaningfully with African issues. Therefore, in addressing such weighty issues as peace and security, members of the Council — particularly the permanent members, which can block a consensus — must put aside narrow political interests for the sake of the larger interests of the international community. Herein lies the real challenge before the Council in the months and years ahead as it continues to grapple with the problems of Africa, along with the other problems on its plate.
Of course, the political will within the Council must be matched by a willingness on the part of African States seriously to deal with the problems besetting them, that is, to put their house in good order. We are impressed with the incremental but tangible steps that have already been taken by Africa towards this end. The international community must play its part in supporting all of the efforts made by the United Nations and Africa in ways that will ensure their effectiveness and success, through a willingness to contribute troops or by giving financial and material support in addition to their political support.
These are the challenges facing all of us: members of the Council, the secretariats of both the United Nations and the OAU, and the other subregional organizations in Africa, as well as we members of the international community, who have a vital interest in seeing peace, security and prosperity in Africa. We look forward to the Council’s next full discussion on Africa during the presidency of the United Kingdom in July and in future sessions. We hope that future discussions will be action-oriented, building on the important ground we have covered at this Council meeting.
The situation in Africa demands more than platitudinous expressions of support and solidarity. We must go beyond lip service, as one African ambassador said yesterday. The message from Africa is clear and unambiguous. The sense of impatience is palpable, as we heard today from some African speakers. The people of Africa expect our action to match our words. We must not fail them, and in this regard, Mr. President, we thank you for injecting a sense of purpose and urgency into the debate on the African situation. As always, Malaysia will play its role in the process, within its capacity to do so.
The next speaker on my list is the representative of Kenya. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I am grateful for this opportunity to address the Council on such an important matter as the situation in Africa.
Mr. Minister, I should like to take this opportunity to heartily congratulate Mauritius on its assumption of the presidency, and I also welcome your presence here. I also extend my congratulations to the new members of the Council, and take this opportunity to welcome the presence of the Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Mr. Amara Essy, and the very important statement to the Council he made yesterday.
My delegation notes with great appreciation that, since Mauritius assumed the presidency, there has been more attention devoted to Africa, and it is hoped that today’s meeting will greatly help in refocusing attention on Africa, with the aim of achieving tangible results. This meeting will no doubt focus on achievements attained with regard to improved peace and the security situation in Sierra Leone. The United Nations peacekeepers have done a commendable job, and we look forward to the planned elections in Sierra Leone. We would be failing in our duty if we did not commend Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), the regional force that first answered to the call of distress. Their timely action saved many limbs and many lives.
Secondly, the cessation of hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea has been another success story. The signing of the ceasefire agreement in Algeria, followed by the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers, has put an end to hostilities between the two neighbours. It is hoped that the border issue will be settled soon.
On the other hand, we still have many problems, bottlenecks and shortcomings in many countries, such as Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia. Nevertheless, this meeting is a manifestation of the commitment of the Security Council and the United Nations in its entire membership to remain seized with the search for durable peace and sustainable development in Africa. It also affords us the opportunity to evaluate the efficacy and adequacy of the assistance rendered to the OAU by the United Nations.
The Millennium Declaration charged the world with the responsibility of paying special attention to Africa. One year and four months have passed since then, and Africa can boldly state that the specific goals and time frames that were set in the Declaration for addressing pressing problems — such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other diseases, poverty reduction and, not unrelated, the debt burden and the problem of small arms — all seem like a dream. Looking at this catalogue of problems, the only consistent thing about them is that they continue to grow worse. What has happened to the promise of special focus on Africa?
It is for this reason, Mr. President, that my delegation once again thanks you for rekindling concern about Africa in this very important debate. Permit me to observe, however, that one day is too short a period to do justice to the weighty and diverse matters of Africa. More time must be found to give Africa the attention it deserves.
We therefore welcome the proposal by Mauritius to establish a working group to coordinate relations between the United Nations and the OAU, especially in the implementation of important decisions and programmes. Also, closer working relations are called for between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council if we are to make headway in tackling the many problems facing Africa, as the distinction between the security aspects and economic aspects of these problems is more imaginary than real. They are two sides of the same coin.
In the same vein, the announcement by the United Kingdom that it intends to use its presidency in the Security Council in July to give further impetus to the focus on Africa is both timely and welcome. In between, however, the momentum generated by this meeting should be sustained.
Given the constraints of time, I wish to touch briefly on three important issues: the situation in Somalia, the Sudan peace talks, and the implementation of the Programme of Action of the United Nations Conference on the Illegal Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons.
On Somalia, I should like to inform the Council that in a meeting held in Nairobi from 13 to 24 December 2001, the Transitional National Government of Somalia signed agreements with the United Somali Congress/Somali Salvation Alliance, the Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council and the Somalia National Alliance. They undertook to establish an all-inclusive Government in Mogadishu, with equitable power sharing among Somali clans. They also agreed, upon the establishment of an all-inclusive Government, to embark on a programme of disarmament, rehabilitation and integration under the auspices of the United Nations. They agreed to renounce violence and, finally, to settle disputes through dialogue.
His Excellency President Daniel T. arap Moi of Kenya reported the above positive development to the summit meeting of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) held in Khartoum earlier this month. The IGAD summit decided that a reconciliation conference on Somalia would be held in Nairobi within two months, under President Moi as coordinator of the front-line States — Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. I wish to announce that a meeting of Foreign Ministers of IGAD is scheduled to take place in Nairobi on 14 February 2002.
It is encouraging that the IGAD peace process on Somalia is gaining momentum and building on the Arta process. Kenya is also grateful that the United Nations inter-agency visit to Somalia has taken place and that the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Africa, Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun, remains very actively engaged with the problem of Somalia. Together with the support of the OAU and all other international support and partners, a clear message of goodwill is being sent to Somalis themselves, urging them to put their house in order.
Throughout 2001, President Moi again, as Chairman of the IGAD Committee on the Sudan, spearheaded several initiatives aimed at moving the peace process forward. One of the most critical meetings was the Summit of the IGAD Committee on the Sudan held in Nairobi in June 2001 and attended by the Presidents of the Sudan, Uganda, Djibouti and Ethiopia and the Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. The meeting re-affirmed the commitment to the peace process on the Sudan on the basis of the Declaration of Principles. The meeting also commended the international community, particularly the IGAD Partners’ Forum, for continued diplomatic and financial support, especially for supporting the secretariat in Nairobi.
Following that ninth IGAD Summit, consultations were initiated to merge the Egypt-Libya initiative on the Sudan and the IGAD initiative. I have listened very carefully to the statement by my colleague, the Ambassador of Libya, and we hope that these initiatives will be put together and will not run parallel.
While the secretariat on peace in the Sudan continues to explore and facilitate contacts and agreements, President Moi, at the end of December, appointed an IGAD Special Envoy to the Sudan. On 17 January the Special Envoy delivered a special message to President Mubarak of Egypt on the merger. The response was extremely positive. The joint efforts that all of us are taking are bound to yield results soon.
Consultations are actively ongoing to reconvene negotiations between the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement. We have no doubt in our mind that the efforts that have been expended by regional leaders and the support rendered by the international community are bound to yield welcome results soon and to end many years of conflict and great loss of life and property in the Sudan.
Once again, the Government of Kenya highly appreciates the support of the OAU, the IGAD member States and the international community.
On the broader plane, Kenya is proud to have her sons and daughters deployed in several United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa, Europe and Asia and will continue to discharge her duties towards the goal of durable peace and security everywhere.
On the issue of the implementation of the Programme of Action adopted at the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, my delegation believes that the Programme contains recommendations that could yield far-reaching positive results; if implemented, these could ease persistent current conflicts in the Great Lakes region and in the Horn of Africa. However, as in the case of the Millennium Declaration, time has not revealed a serious impetus to implement it. The question of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa is at the heart of the continent’s future; without them, the fate of the Africans looks gloomy. The United Nations, including the Security Council, has in the past held several meetings that issued very good recommendations. It is time that these programmes of action were translated into tangible results.
The world recession is biting, and the gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Last June, the General Assembly met in special session on HIV/AIDS, and only last week the Preparatory Committee for the International Conference on Financing for Development worked hard as it tried to address the serious debt issue, official development assistance, poverty reduction and measures and targets set in the Millennium Declaration. On top of all that is the threat to international security, peace and order, which is in direct proportion to the despair of the poor. However, we have yet to translate all those declarations and promises into action that would achieve tangible results.
Finally, the Organization of African Unity is in transition to the African Union and is moving towards implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. This affords a good opportunity for the world community and for the United Nations to enter into a new partnership with Africa in all areas which have been weighing heavily on the continent. Humanity demands this.
I thank the representative of Kenya for the kind words he addressed to me.
The next speaker is the representative of Uganda. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Allow me on behalf of my delegation to congratulate you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of January. May I also thank your predecessor, the Permanent Representative of Mali, for his leadership during his presidency of the Council last month. We wish to congratulate and welcome the new Security Council members, two of which, Cameroon and Guinea, are from Africa.
My delegation attaches great importance to the subject of today’s meeting, the situation in Africa, and we are particularly pleased to see you, Mr. Minister, personally in the Chair. That testifies to the importance attached to the subject of the situation in Africa. It is significant that the continental concerns of Africa continue to be highlighted right at the beginning of the year and early in the new millennium so that the momentum to find solutions will not be lost.
My delegation expresses gratitude and appreciation to the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for his untiring personal commitment and his support for African issues and for the enhancement of Africa’s well-being. We are happy to see that His Excellency Mr. Amara Essy, Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), is participating in this meeting.
The dialogue between members of the Security Council and African ministers on issues that concern Africa is welcome because it demonstrates a willingness on both sides to seek solutions, no matter how hard and exacting they may be. This is very encouraging because it goes to the very reason for which the Security Council exists: to strive for peace and security.
Africa still faces many problems, of which HIV/AIDS, malaria and conflict are the most devastating. Others are inadequacies in education, the debt problem, trade imbalances, the persistence of absolute poverty, the digital divide, African’s inadequate infrastructure and the shortage of appropriate technologies. The list is long, but time is short. Therefore, I shall limit this intervention to questions of trade, regional unity and conflict.
Unity in Africa is progressing at a good pace. In the Great Lakes region, the partner States of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania have moved with speed to form the East African Community. I am pleased to inform the Council that Uganda is in the forefront of championing regional unity and integration in all their aspects. The East African Assembly was recently inaugurated at Kampala by His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni; a court of appeal for Eastern Africa has also been constituted, with judges from the three countries. Trade barriers are being eliminated, and there is absolute harmony among the member States.
On the issue of trade, my delegation believes that Africa needs to be clear on what it wants. We Africans must determine whether the continent should remain backward, pre-industrial and concentrating only on subsistence agriculture and the export of a few raw materials. The challenge for Africa is to take bold steps and opt for industrialization. Many African countries are bigger in both size and population than countries in Europe, but those African countries live in poverty because they have not industrialized. Among the problems that have hindered progress is that of conflicts, which must be stopped.
Nevertheless, it is important to emphasize that many African countries are peaceful. Africa has thus removed some of the impediments to investment and has created the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, which, we hope, will serve as a vehicle for a new relationship between Africa and the world. Through that process of integration Africa will continue to improve its infrastructure and its macro-economic framework. Regional unity will eventually overcome the excessive Balkanization of Africa’s 53 States, through economic blocs such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the East African Community itself.
What we do not generally hear about — and certainly not so loudly — are the equally important reforms that are needed in the developed countries to ensure that their domestic economic policies are consistent with their capacity to help Africa to help itself by exporting to developed-country markets, through making the markets of the developed countries accessible. That refers not just to market access but also to the issue of subsidies for domestic producers in the developed countries, particularly subsidies for agricultural production and the agricultural exports of developed countries.
That situation means that however much Uganda, for example, opens up its economy to the forces of globalization, Uganda’s — and Africa’s — poor farmers will have no chance to raise themselves out of poverty because globally there is no level playing field for agricultural production and agricultural trade. That is true for all of Africa, as it is for all developing countries.
We therefore call for an end to all protection, especially in the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. For that reason, Africa welcomes the African Growth and Opportunity Act; as President Museveni noted in his address to the General Assembly at its fifty-sixth session, other developed countries should emulate the United States here and should help African countries to trade under terms of equality.
As regards conflict, as I have already pointed out, many parts of the continent are peaceful. Where conflicts exist, efforts are under way to resolve them. In order to succeed in this endeavour, the Security Council should play a more active role — for example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it should speed up the full implementation of phase III of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The peace process in Burundi is on track, thanks to the determination of all parties under the chairmanship of President Museveni and the facilitation of President Mandela. We urge the Security Council to provide assistance to the second track of the Arusha peace and reconciliation process under the guidance of President Bongo and Deputy President Zuma, so that they can bring the remaining rebel factions into the process.
With regard to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Security Council is already involved, and Uganda believes that the Lusaka Agreement contains the solutions to the problems being experienced. However, Uganda is keen to see the Security Council continue to work with regional leaders to unblock the inter-Congolese dialogue and accelerate the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and resettlement or repatriation process.
Due to time constraints, I am going to cut my statement short. This meeting of the Security Council demonstrates the continuing interest of the international community in Africa. My delegation therefore appeals to the Council and to the international community to remain seized of the matter, because Africa still needs assistance to overcome its numerous problems.
I thank the representative of Uganda for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker on my list is Mr. Ibrahima Fall, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, who is going to make some remarks.
The discussion that we have been participating in since yesterday has been extremely informative. Generally speaking, four types of statement can be identified. In the first category were general statements on the situation in Africa — those pertaining to the continent as a whole or to particular regions, such as East Africa or the area covered by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development or the Mano River Union area. Along with that group of statements was a second set relating essentially to national policies with regard to Africa. A third category pertained to the action of the Security Council in Africa. Finally, there was a fourth series of statements containing proposals for initiatives for future Security Council action.
At this late hour, I am sure that the Council will understand that it is not possible for me to attempt to summarize all of these categories. For that reason, I will confine myself — in line with the guidelines provided beforehand by your delegation, Mr. President — to the conclusions containing specific proposals for the improvement of the Security Council’s action in Africa.
One could look at those conclusions from three different perspectives: the political, the institutional and the operational. With regard to the political dimension, the first conclusion that can be drawn is the unanimous agreement that has emerged calling for the speedy implementation of the conclusions and recommendations contained in the Millennium Declaration relating to Africa. Secondly, it has been proposed that the Security Council play a much more proactive role with regard to matters of peace and security in Africa — in particular, that it make a more resolute and timely commitment, without selectivity and based upon mandates that provide for forces and resources in keeping with reality, along the lines of the action that the Council undertakes elsewhere. Thirdly, it has been suggested that the present culture and policy of reaction be replaced by a policy of conflict prevention. Fourthly, it has been proposed that the Security Council adopt and put into practice a comprehensive, integrated approach to the problems of peace, security and development in Africa.
Fifthly, it has been proposed — again, at the political level — that the Security Council strengthen the multidisciplinary character of its peacekeeping operations in Africa. Sixthly, it has been requested that measures be taken to end the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and that active support be given to the application of the Bamako Declaration and the Moratorium on the Import, Export and Manufacture of Small Arms and Light Weapons, adopted by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Finally, at the political as well as the economic level, a clear majority has emerged requesting support for the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) — the most recent initiative, launched by Africans themselves, and one that the Group of Seven has already expressed willingness to support. At the political level, those are the main conclusions.
Turning now to institutional aspects, the first recommendation that I would like to note relates to the request that has been made that the framework for cooperation between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council should be strengthened at the institutional level. Secondly, there has been a call for the creation of a framework for consultative cooperation between the Security Council and the Central Organ of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution and between the Security Council and such organs as exist within the subregional organizations. Thirdly, it has been proposed that a focal point be established for coordination of the multisectoral activities of the United Nations system in Africa. Fourthly, it has been proposed that relations of cooperation be strengthened between the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions with regard to the problems of peace, security and development in Africa. Finally, at the institutional level, it has been recommended that the OAU and subregional organizations, particularly the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution be strengthened and provided institutional, financial and material support.
Following the political and institutional recommendations, there are, lastly, recommendations of an operational nature. Here I would echo those who have said that the time for action has come. The first recommendation is the prompt implementation of the declarations and resolutions already adopted by the Security Council at earlier meetings concerning operational cooperation between the United Nations and the OAU, particularly at its meeting of December 1999 and its Summit in September 2000.
The second operational recommendation is the establishment by the Security Council of a working group on Africa with a clear, action-oriented mandate.
The third recommendation is that there be more Security Council visits on the ground in connection with peacekeeping operations in Africa.
The fourth recommendation is the establishment of a standing mechanism for following up the application of sanctions adopted by the Security Council.
In fifth place, as an adjunct to the previous recommendation, the desire has been expressed that the sanctions decided on be targeted and effective but respectful of the physical and social well-being of civilian populations. In that regard, the desire has been expressed that the Security Council finalize the review that it has undertaken of sanctions and their collateral effects.
The sixth recommendation, at the operational level, was for the implementation of a structural cooperation mechanism between the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council and the OAU, pursuant to the Algiers Declaration on the prevention of and fight against terrorism.
Seventh, there was a wish for better coordination of peace efforts and initiatives in Africa, both within the United Nations system and with the OAU, regional organizations, subregional organizations and individual countries.
In the eighth place, at the operational level, it was noted that there was insufficient financing of disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation operations, particularly in respect of reintegration, reinsertion and reconstruction, and it was proposed that much more stable and viable resources be given to those operations to avoid the syndrome of Liberia and Guinea-Bissau.
In the ninth place, at the operational level, it was proposed that the United Nations Office in West Africa be made into an operational instrument to apply an integrated regional approach of the peace, security and development triad.
Finally, at the operational level, it was decided to welcome the creation by the Economic and Social Council of an advisory group on countries emerging from conflict.
That is an entirely free-form and unofficial attempt to summarize the principal political, institutional and operational conclusions.
I thank Mr. Fall for the quality of his summary.
I now call on the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity to make a few brief remarks.
I would like simply, in conclusion, to offer my sincerest thanks to you, Mr. President, for your commendable initiative to close out your mandate this month by dealing with African issues. I am gratified, because this meeting has allowed us all to draw attention to African issues. I think that through these discussions today, Asia, Latin America, every continent better understands African problems.
When I return to Addis Ababa I will have the opportunity to hold a brainstorming session on the results of this meeting. We have learned much, and I am glad to know that many countries now understand our problems. This is reassuring.
The message that I would like the members of the Council to come away from this meeting with is that Africa is a mature continent. Africa knows its problems and how to resolve them; it needs the means to resolve them. During the cold war era, a great statesman once said that the one who dominates Africa will dominate the world. But I can say today that if we find a solution to the problem of Africa, we will find a solution to the problems of the world. There is a link between all the conflicts of the world today. I think that the Council devotes 60 per cent of its activities to Africa, and if we can solve Africa’s problems, I believe that the Council could also breathe easier. This is why I believe that all other States understand that the African heads of State today have decided to take into their own hands the solution to the problem.
It is true that when one takes a close look at Africa today there are reasons for concern. Statistics show that in order for poverty to be reduced by half, African countries would need a growth rate of 7 to 8 per cent. But, as the Council knows, the growth rate is 3, 4 or 5 per cent, whereas the growth rate of the population is 4 per cent. Therefore, the prospects are truly bleak. This is why the fact that we associate the questions of peace with questions of development proves that we have understood that the best way to resolve the problem is to settle the question of development.
The African Union is the fruit of thinking that has been evolving for some time and is now becoming concrete with the Sirte Declaration. We are therefore going to South Africa with the creation of the African Union. For me, this is a source of great hope.
Europe has known enormous wars: the Hundred Years War, the Thirty Years War and the two world wars, and today all these States work together in the European Union. I think that the future of Africa will also proceed along these lines, where, tomorrow, with the Inga Dam in the Congo, we can have energy everywhere and combine our potential strengths. I think that this is the future of Africa. We should not despair. After 40 years of independence, I believe that we have the potential. We have the people. We have the heads of State.
The Secretary-General said that in fact, the problem of Africa is not a problem of AIDS or the price of raw materials. It is a problem of leadership. I think that we have a leadership that is sufficiently able to understand the problems. The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) is an illustration of this. We have had plans in Africa: we have had the Lagos Plan of Action; we have had the Abuja plan. Now we have NEPAD, and I think that past failures will allow us to better grasp the future with NEPAD.
Therefore, the only message that I would like to convey to one and all is that we truly attach much importance to the question of economic development. It is said that peace does not live happily with poverty, and as long as there is poverty there will never be peace. It is said that a person who is hungry has no ears. Therefore, I think that development questions must be effectively linked to questions of solutions to conflicts. I would therefore like to personally thank you, Sir, and all members of the Council for all the importance that they have given to this meeting.
Today, — and I have become aware of this since my arrival in Addis Ababa — the OAU has relations with all the continents. And all the OAU summits are attended by a large number of delegations that arrive from all locations to show their solidarity with Africa. I encourage them to continue to do so. We will make an effort in the African Union to see that the hopes placed in Africa are truly not in vain and that, 10 to 15 years from now, the Council will have fewer problems. The Council is extremely busy today. I remember that, 10 or 15 years ago, when a State held the presidency of the Security Council, the President would saunter over to the Delegates Lounge looking for conflicts because there was, in fact, nothing to do. There might be only a resolution on renewing peacekeeping in Cyprus. A month could go by without a meeting of the Security Council. It was almost tragic being president of the Security Council and not have a conflict to resolve. But today, the Council is overburdened. You are all very busy, but I hope that in a few years the Council will have fewer problems, that there will be fewer African issues and that we will find an Africa that is at peace. That is truly our most important wish. I would like to thank all of you. I am leaving with much hope and I do not despair because I definitely think that Africa today has all the potential to succeed.
I thank the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Mr. Amara Essy, for his remarks. I hope that in the future it will be possible to have an imaginative format for collaboration between the OAU and the United Nations.
There are no further speakers on my list. The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Security Council will remain seized of the matter.
Before I adjourn the meeting, I would like to make two remarks. First, I would like to request Mr. Ibrahim Fall to circulate the summary he has given, on a without-prejudice basis, to all the members who have participated in the debate.
Before I adjourn the meeting, I think it is my duty to express my sincere thanks to all the Ministers and to Mr. Amara Essy, who have travelled all the way to New York to participate in this debate. I think the debate has been enriching, and that we are all going to leave New York with a better sense of what Africa needs and how we are going to solve the problems of Africa. I would also like to thank all the other Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives who have participated in the debate. I would like to thank them specially for the quality of their statements. There is no other business.