|Date||31 May 2006|
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Briefing by the Chairman of the African Union
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Wang Guangya
|Mr. De La Sablière
|Mr. De Rivero
|Sir Emyr Jones Parry
Adoption of the agenda
Briefing by the Chairman of the African Union
On behalf of the Council, I welcome the presence among us of His Excellency Mr. Edward Ngoyayi Lowassa, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
At this meeting the Security Council will hear a briefing by His Excellency Mr. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo, in his capacity as current Chairman of the African Union, under rule 39 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
I request the Chief of Protocol to escort the President of the Republic of the Congo to a seat at the Council table.
I give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo.
I would like first of all to thank the Security Council for this opportunity to address the Council today on an issue which without question forms a major part of its agenda: armed conflict in Africa. I am doing so on behalf of the African Union, an institution which will always express deep gratitude to the Security Council for its tireless efforts and for the determination it is demonstrating in its initiatives to support peace and security on our continent, which for too long has been buffeted and threatened. The stabilizing action that the Council is taking and the partnership that has been established between the Security Council and the African Union are to be welcomed and encouraged, particularly since today’s meeting is taking place on the eve of the missions that the Council will undertake next week in Africa.
Fortunate coincidence has it that my country, which is chairing the African Union this year, currently occupies a seat on the Council and is able to play its modest part in the Council’s initiatives for Africa and hence to provide a link between these two bodies whose actions must always be undertaken in harmony. Harmonization of our undertakings is a goal towards which, fortunately, we all striving. This requires effectiveness and credibility in our approaches. It justifies the regular consultations that we conduct between our two bodies. The way in which we together manage such complex issues as Côte d’Ivoire and Darfur is eloquent testimony to the relevance of that vision.
The partnership that has been established between the United Nations and the African Union is based upon a vision which clearly establishes that there can be no peace without development and there can be no development without peace. The report of the Secretary-General on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (S/1998/318) remains relevant today. It provides the basis for a broad strategy of prevention which takes account of all the dimensions of the violent crises which are shaking the African continent.
Here, Security Council resolutions 1170 (1998), 1196 (1998), 1208 (1998) and 1209 (1998) continue to be relevant and remain a subject of our attention since they stress
“the close linkage between international peace and security and sustainable development and the need for the international community to respond to the challenge of illicit arms flows to and in Africa in a comprehensive manner, encompassing not only the field of security but that of social and economic development”. (resolution 1209 (1998), sixth preambular paragraph)
That means that, because they are so closely linked, we must deal appropriately with issues of economic and social development, poverty elimination, national reconciliation, good governance, social justice and others. Ultimately, the goal is to create viable and stable societies.
The creation within the African Union of the Peer Review Mechanism responds to the need to be aware of the multidimensional aspect of these conflicts. Participation in the Mechanism reflects the commitment of African leaders who are determined to establish modern States. This vision and the practices that arise from it enable Africa today to see the prospect of a brighter future. We see this today in the economic area, where the indicators seem to suggest that there is movement towards consolidation in the direction of more sustained growth. We see it also in the area of peace and security, the subject of my remarks. Yes, Africa is going in the right direction, even if the line is not a straight one and if progress remains fragile. Nevertheless, we embrace the positive signs, of which there are many examples.
Most of the current conflicts are at least three years old: these are not new crises. The tragic case of Somalia, the situation between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the crisis in northern Uganda and the situation in Western Sahara are conflicts that, unfortunately, have lasted because they have not been dealt with appropriately. Nor have there been commitment or mutual confidence on the part of the principal protagonists.
Some conflicts that ranked among the worst in the continent have now been settled in an encouraging way — for instance, the civil war in Angola, which is now but a bad memory, and the crises in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and, recently, Burundi. In the management of some of these post-conflict situations, we appeal for sustained, long-term international support that could avoid a relapse or return to the previous state of affairs. Hence, we welcome the recently created Peacebuilding Commission, which in Africa will find a place for appropriate experimentation.
Concerning certain other conflicts now taking place, the international community possesses scenarios for emerging from crises; these should allow us to see the light at the end of the tunnel before the end of this year. Such is the case with the situations in Côte d’Ivoire, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Darfur. In the first two cases, road maps exist with clear timetables that must be respected. In this respect, particular responsibility lies with the national actors, whose efforts we are determined to support. In the case of Darfur, following the agreement reached on 5 May 2006 in Abuja, which needs to be strengthened and implemented, we have at our disposal a framework that allows us to prepare for the transition towards a United Nations operation of a strong African nature, in close cooperation with all the parties, particularly the Government of National Unity of the Sudan.
We must now continue to strive to strengthen the partnership between the United Nations, the African Union and the subregional communities. In this regard, we welcome the adoption by the Security Council on 14 September 2005 of resolution 1625 (2005) on enhancing the effectiveness of its role in conflict prevention, particularly in Africa. Our continent has the appropriate tools to implement this partnership. I am referring in particular to the Protocol relating to the creation of the African Union Peace and Security Council and the African Union Non-Aggression and Common Defence Pact, adopted in Abuja in January 2005.
In closing these general comments, I would like to emphasize our common will to put an end to these intolerable situations that continue in Africa by making best use of all the means that international cooperation provides, particularly in the framework of the partnership that has been established between our two organizations. To be sure, we still have a long way to go, but I like to say that the longest journey always begins with the first step. Patience and extended effort are extremely valuable friends. I therefore hope that the path that we have been following together for so long will lead us in the end to more promising horizons, because nowhere is it written that tragedy has to remain at the heart of Africa’s future.
I thank His Excellency President Denis Sassou Nguesso for his statement.
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, I should now like to invite Council members to a private meeting to continue our discussion of the subject.