Security Council meeting 5084

Date19 November 2004
S-PV-5084 2004-11-19 17:05 19 November 2004 [[19 November]] [[2004]] /

Institutional relationship with the African Union

The meeting was called to order at 5.05 p.m.

Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.

Institutional relationship with the African Union

The President

I invite the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, Mr. Aminu B. Wali, representative of the chairmanship of the African Union, to take the floor in accordance with rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.

Mr. Wali (Nigeria)

I should like to thank you once again, Sir, for presiding over this historic meeting here in Nairobi, which reflects the importance of this particular item of the agenda.

The African Union welcomes this opportunity to make a statement on the cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union. I would recall that the Security Council, in its presidential statement of 20 July 2004, reaffirmed the importance of a stronger relationship between the United Nations and the regional organizations. This is consistent with articles 52 and 53 of the United Nations Charter.

In that connection, we are truly delighted with the decision of the Security Council to convene this meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. This is a confirmation of the importance that the members of the Council attach to African issues.

Over time, cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union has covered areas such as conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peacekeeping and peace-building, as well as the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants. Other areas include the field of development, with particular attention to poverty eradication and disease control, particularly the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, tuberculosis and malaria. We welcome the increasing assistance provided by the United Nations to Africa.

Also of particular significance is the assistance to the African Union and the establishment of the Peace and Security Council, the Military Staff Committee, the African Standby Force and the early warning system in Africa. We hope that the cooperation for capacity-building in Africa will be further enhanced in all these areas. The success so far recorded in this area has resulted in the better coordination of the efforts of the African Union in its response to the situation in Darfur. Indeed, the United Nations played the lead role in planning for all aspects of the African mission in the Sudan.

We note with satisfaction the cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union regarding the resolution of the crises in Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as the ongoing situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Côte d’Ivoire. We hope that our already existing cooperative relationship will be further strengthened through the provision of additional and new resources as well as logistical support for the African Union Commission, which is the institutional and executive organ of the African Union.

The determination of African leaders to effectively cope with the challenges of peace and development led to the establishment of the African Union and its various institutions, including the African Union Commission. It also inspired the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which has provided a solid platform in the pursuit of the well-being of the African people.

We laud the support so far provided to the AU Commission and to NEPAD, but let me emphasize that we have taken only the first few steps of a long journey. The presence of the Security Council here in Nairobi indeed represents our mutual resolve to also deepen our institutional relationship, strengthen the African Union and ensure that the NEPAD initiative has a positive impact on Africa’s efforts in the area of conflict resolution and the development of the African continent.

In conclusion, we reaffirm the commitment of the African Union to continue to play a strong role in the continent in the area of conflict resolution, sustainable peace and development, and we expect continuous complementary efforts from the Security Council, which, after all, has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, as provided for under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter.

Mr. Adechi (Benin)

Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, which is aimed at the peaceful settlement of conflicts and the maintenance of international peace and security, is more important today than ever before. The establishment of the African Union fully conforms with the objective of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter. It signals a new commitment by the heads of State and Government of the continent to assume a greater role in the international community’s efforts to find appropriate solutions for the many conflicts afflicting several African countries at a time when Africa needs all its resources to promote sustainable development.

The African Union’s mandate in the area of international peace and security fits perfectly with the spirit and the letter of the Charter, which in paragraph 2 of Article 52 states that Member States entering into arrangements or constituting agencies shall make every effort to achieve pacific settlement of local disputes before referring them to the Security Council.

The creation of the Peace and Security Council and the decision to establish an African rapid reaction stand-by force and an early-warning system have created a new structural dynamic, making the African Union a partner of the United Nations in resolving the problems faced by Africa in matters of international peace and security. In light of the fact that there are a number of African issues before the Security Council, the appearance of a new actor on the African continent as effective as the African Union constitutes an important asset, of which the Council should fully take advantage to advance peace processes in Africa.

In the draft presidential statement on the Council’s institutional relationship with the African Union, the Council takes that situation into account and draws the correct conclusions. It is completely right that the Council should reinforce cooperation with the African Union in order to optimize interventions on the ground by means of efforts to rapidly counter the new threats to peace and security through rapid responses to crisis situations, as was the case in Darfur.

Darfur has demonstrated that peacekeeping operations are a particularly complex and burdensome undertaking for the African Union and should receive logistic and financial support. That is why we believe that Darfur — which has been for the African Union a first test case for large-scale operations — provides an opportunity to help the African Union to develop a critical mass of technical and logistic capacities, including with respect to military planning.

The draft presidential statement stresses the need for the United Nations and the African Union to find new ways to strengthen cooperation. We therefore urgently call on the international community to contribute to strengthening the operational and management capacities of the African Union in the areas of conflict prevention and peacekeeping. We invite the Secretary-General, in consultation with the President of the African Union Commission, to explore new ways of cooperation with the African Union, taking into account the broadest mandate and the new organs of the African Union.

Sir Emyr Jones Parry (United Kingdom)

The African Union has made rapid strides in a very short time. Indeed, looking back, it is difficult to believe that it is such a recent creation. The African Union’s Peace and Security Council is far-reaching. It even recognizes the principle — which no one outside Africa has done — that an intervention in a territory may be permissible if a Government is not protecting its own citizens, or if the situation in that country affects neighbouring countries; and that intervention, if necessary, can be made against the wishes of the country concerned. That is immensely far-reaching. It is incumbent on the Council to give every support to that acceptance of responsibility.

In the mission that went to West Africa in June, we saw first-hand the contribution of the Economic Community of West African States, a regional body through which the African Union is making its contribution. That is the role of the African Union itself. It is increasingly helpful in promoting cooperation for avoiding conflict across the continent.

In Darfur, we know how important it is to have monitors on the ground. It is actually the African Union that is doing the job for the Council. That demand upon the African Union, it seems, will increase, and we have to be ready to play our part in helping it.

Carrying out the sort of operation that the African Union is undertaking in Darfur is actually not easy; quite the opposite — that is a British understatement — because they are doing so without the capabilities, without the means of communication and, especially, without a real planning capability to actually mount an operation. Look at the difficulty of what we expect of them, and yet, that is what they are doing on the ground.

Hence the significance today of a draft presidential statement that recognizes the need to help the African Union develop its capabilities — including, I would hope, a rapid-reaction capability — and that states that the Council should do everything possible to strengthen practical cooperation with the African Union.

The Council should do so for a number of reasons. Because of the value of what the African Union does. Because it is our responsibility for international peace and security to help those that are sharing and shouldering the burden with the Council. Because of the actual African Union contribution; and because it is especially necessary to demonstrate our support when Africans are finding their own solutions to African problems. All that, justified by the regional cooperative arrangements set out in the Charter, explains why the Council should be doing as much as possible to support the African Union.

I completed a little count when I was asked to make this intervention. The Security Council has adopted 53 resolutions this year, 26 of which — or 49 per cent — bear directly on African issues. That is an example of the extent of the shared interest between the Council and the African Union; so, our cooperation seems natural to me. I would hope that this cooperation would become even wider and that it would become even more obvious what the African Union and the United Nations can do together.

I would also like to see the European Union helping in this respect. I would like to see other entities prepared to join in, because it has become fairly obvious that the problems we all confront are just about the same. It is the optic through which we address the problem that may be different. But the scope for cooperation, the fact that the African Union in Darfur is being financed by the European Union, are part of a collective responsibility and part of taking that responsibility seriously.

The need to do that now and next year is even greater. We have a high-level panel report on threats, challenges and change being issued in two weeks’ time. Above all, next year, for the Millennium Development Goals summit of the General Assembly, we have to pull all these issues together. The fact is that if the Millennium Development Goals are to be missed anywhere, they will be missed in Africa. Asia and China will actually contribute on the positive side to many of the Goals, but the Goals will not be achieved in Africa because of the problems that Africa faces.

My conclusion is that United Nations responsibility to work with the African Union to address African issues — as the Group of Eight will do next year as a priority — is actually very substantial. Hence the value of the Council’s draft presidential statement. I here pay tribute to our colleague from Benin for what he has done to place the text of the statement directly before the Council.

The President

Following consultations among members of the Security Council, I have been authorized to make the following statement on behalf of the Council:

“The Security Council reiterates its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and recalls that cooperation with regional and subregional organizations in matters relating to the maintenance of peace and security is an important pillar of the system of collective security established by the Charter of the United Nations, as provided for in its Chapter VIII.

“The Security Council reaffirms its statement of 20 July 2004 (S/PRST/2004/27) which underscores the importance of a stronger relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations consistent with the principles laid down in Articles 52 and 53 of the United Nations Charter.

“The Security Council at its meeting on 19 November 2004 in Nairobi addressed the institutional relationship between the United Nations and the African Union, including their collective efforts to resolve African conflicts and to promote sustainable peace, development and stability.

“The Security Council, referring to the Constitutive Act of the African Union, welcomes the establishment of the African Union Peace and Security Council and expresses its support for early ratification of the Peace and Security Protocol by all African States and the establishment of an African Standby Force and an early warning system in Africa. The completion of these efforts will allow for better coordination of regional mechanisms to foster peace and security, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty in Africa, as set forth in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

“The Security Council recognizes the importance of strengthening cooperation with the African Union in order to help build its capacity to deal with collective security challenges, including through the African Union’s undertaking of rapid and appropriate responses to emerging crisis situations, and the development of effective strategies for conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peace-building.

“The Security Council welcomes in this regard the provision by the United Nations and donors of technical, logistical as well as military planning support to the African Union in the establishment of African Union peace and security mechanisms and operations.

“The Security Council particularly welcomes the leading role of the African Union in efforts to settle crises in the African continent and expresses its full support for the peace initiatives conducted by the African Union, and through subregional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and other regional agreements committed to the peaceful settlement of disputes in Africa. The Security Council underlines the importance of being kept fully informed, consistent with Article 54 of the Charter of the United Nations.

“The Security Council also welcomes the strengthening of practical cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, as demonstrated in the case of the African Mission in Sudan (AMIS II) and the African Mission in Burundi (AMIB), to support and enhance the management and operational capacities of the African Union in the field of peacekeeping and peace-building.

“The Security Council calls on the international community to support the African Union’s efforts to strengthen its capacities for peacekeeping, conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction, through the provision of information, training, expertise and resources, as well as to support the activities of the United Nations and its agencies in this regard.

“The Security Council further invites the Secretary-General to explore, in close consultation with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, new means of cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, especially taking into consideration the expanded mandate and the new organs of the African Union.”

This statement will be issued as a document of the Security Council under the symbol S/PRST/2004/44.

The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.

Before adjourning our final meeting in Nairobi, I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the members of the Security Council, to express warm thanks to the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), Mr. Klaus Toepfer, and the entire staff of the Office, for having hosted these four meetings of the Security Council.

I would like in particular to pay tribute to the Division of Conference Services at UNON and its Chief, Mr. Rudy van Dijck, who has facilitated the very smooth conduct of our work.

Our meetings in Nairobi during these two days — 32 years after meeting in Addis Ababa — mark the first occasion since 1972 that the members of the Security Council have gathered on African soil. Our meeting at the largest United Nations outpost in Africa once more underlines the importance that the United Nations and, in particular, the Security Council, attach to the need to resolve the conflicts ravaging the African continent.

I would also like take this opportunity to wish the Permanent Representative of France, Ambassador De La Sablière, success in leading the mission of the Security Council to Central Africa after leaving Nairobi. I wish all the members of the mission a safe and successful trip.

Mr. Baja (Philippines)

As this historic meeting in Nairobi draws to a close, I would like, on behalf of the members of the Council, to thank you, Mr. President, and your delegation for your vision and leadership in bringing us here to Nairobi. The seeds of your initiative have been planted today. Tomorrow, we will harvest the fruits. Our meetings in Nairobi will be one of the highlights of your presidency, in particular, and of the work of the Security Council in general. I would like to invite my colleagues to give you and your delegation a big hand for a very successful two days of meetings in Nairobi.

The President

I thank Ambassador Baja for his very gracious statement made on behalf of the members of the Council. I greatly appreciate it.

Mr. De La Sablière (France)

I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for having referred to our forthcoming trip to Central Africa. We leave on Sunday for Kigali, Kinshasa, Bukavu, Bujumbura and Entebbe, energized and eager to continue the course that you have set in organizing these very successful meetings here in Nairobi and to follow up the good work the Security Council has done this week to promote peace and security on the African continent.

The President

I hope I have done this previously, but I want once again to thank the Government of Kenya for its hospitality. They have been absolutely superb and very warm in their welcome, and we certainly thank the Government of Kenya.

The meeting rose at 5.35 p.m.
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