Security Council meeting 5462

Date15 June 2006
S-PV-5462 2006-06-15 10:10 15 June 2006 [[15 June]] [[2006]] /

The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.

Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.

Security Council mission

Briefing by the Security Council mission to the Sudan, Chad and the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa
The President

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 Council will hear briefings by His Excellency Sir Emyr Jones Parry, Head of the Security Council mission to the Sudan and Chad, His Excellency Mr. Jean-Marc de La Sablière, who jointly led the Chad leg of the Council mission, and His Excellency Mr. Augustine Mahiga, a member of the Council mission.

I would like to welcome the return of the members of the Council and of the Secretariat who took part in the mission to the Sudan and Chad.

I now give the floor to His Excellency Sir Emyr Jones Parry, Head of the Security Council mission to the Sudan and Chad.

Sir Emyr Jones Parry (United Kingdom)

May I begin by thanking all members of the Council who participated in this mission. Their commitment and solidarity made it a particularly useful and timely visit. I am also grateful to the Secretariat for its assistance and participation.

The report which follows is made under my own responsibility.

It is now almost three years since the Council first began to debate whether the Sudan was an appropriate subject for its agenda. Grave problems had emerged in Darfur, and relations between Khartoum and the periphery were increasingly difficult. Much has happened since then. To date the Council has adopted seven resolutions on the Sudan and two presidential statements. Those of us who visited the region can be in no doubt as to the appropriateness of the Council’s attention to the Sudan and the wider region. For me, the question is not whether we should be involved in the Sudan and Darfur, but, rather, whether we have been able to do as much as we ought. That view was reinforced by the visit to Chad.

The Sudan, the biggest country in Africa, is very complex. Darfur has rightly seized the attention of the world, but the situation there is very complicated. During its visit, the mission found that the conflict was not fully understood by the international community. It found, for example, that the terms “Government”, “rebel”, “Arab” and “African” were often oversimplifications of a more complex situation on the ground, where alliances between tribes and groups often shift. The porous — or non-existent — border with Chad exacerbates this. A number of the Council’s interlocutors described the situation in Darfur as a traditional conflict between herdsmen and farmers over limited national resources. They outlined the challenging nature of governing a region with its particular and peculiar tribal complexities and lack of public services.

A lasting solution to the problem in Darfur can be found only on the basis of the traditions and the customs of the peoples of the region. Indeed, the Government of the Sudan’s support for an African Union (AU) rather than a United Nations force in Darfur is partly motivated by its belief that African States possess a similar heritage to that of the people of Darfur. We will need to continue to stress to the Government of the Sudan that any United Nations force in Darfur must have a strong African participation and character.

In the north-south context, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement marked the cessation of hostilities, but the Government of National Unity is still a young body.

It was important that the mission begin its work in Khartoum and emphasize its respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Sudan. We stressed that the Security Council wishes to work in partnership with the Government and the other main actors in the Sudan to help tackle the range of problems which the country faces. That assistance today is expressed in the United Nations peacekeeping Mission in the south — the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) — by the work of Special Representative Jan Pronk, which I commend, and by the huge involvement of the United Nations agencies delivering support to the people of the Sudan. But if it is the Security Council’s role to promote international peace and security, correspondingly it is the obligation of the Government of the Sudan to protect its citizens and to respond positively to the offers of help from us and from others.

The situation in Darfur has deteriorated this year. Humanitarian access has not been consistent and has diminished. Attacks on individuals, particularly women, have increased. The Wali of north Darfur told the mission that there are 129,000 internally displaced persons in camps in north Darfur, with another 279,000 internally displaced persons outside them. A further 622,000 people have been affected by that conflict, bringing the overall total affected by the conflict in Darfur to 1.31 million people. On a positive note, the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) has been on the ground for 12 months, and its peace troops have been delivering improved security to the people of Darfur in exceptionally difficult circumstances. Thanks in particular to the African Union, and with the support of others, the Darfur Peace Agreement was signed in Abuja on 5 May. Support for that Agreement is not homogeneous among the different groupings in Darfur, nor is opposition consistent among those parties that have declined to sign the Agreement.

Two truths seemed clear to the mission: first, the Agreement needs to be sold urgently to those living in the region and those displaced elsewhere; and, secondly, its implementation is key to peace in Darfur, peace in the Sudan, and peace in the wider region. We heard many interlocutors describe what was wrong with the accord. It is not perfect, but it is the only agreement that we have, and, in the view of the mission, it needs to be implemented robustly. We encouraged those who had not joined the Agreement to do so as soon as possible.

In support of the Agreement, the United Nations family, particularly the World Food Programme, has now the largest food support operation in the world in Darfur. Hundreds of tonnes of food are delivered daily by convoys coming all the way from Port Sudan and up from the south, much of the time on unmade roads — the line of white trucks visibly delivering life-saving relief.

In Addis Ababa, the mission found itself in full agreement with the African Union that, at the earliest opportunity, the United Nations should take over the peacekeeping role in Darfur. President Konaré and the Peace and Security Commissioner, Mr. Djinnit, emphasized that this was the wish of the African Union. The AU, for its part, has done a very good job, starting from scratch in difficult circumstances. We emphasized that fact in our meetings with the Commander of AMIS in Darfur. But sustaining such a force; rotating its troops; providing the necessary capacities, including command, control and communications; delivering financing; implementing the more robust post-Abuja mandate — they are all difficult challenges. Hence the agreement that it was time for the wider international community to share the burden and provide a United Nations force in Darfur.

A primary purpose of our visit and of our discussions was to persuade the Sudanese Government that this was the best option for Darfur and for the country. In Khartoum, we found many hostile perceptions of a United Nations deployment, fuelled in part by concern at the adoption of resolution 1679 (2006) under Chapter VII. That Chapter is clearly a major irritant for the Government, the President and parliamentarians in Khartoum.

For our part, we explained that Chapter VII was a technical, not a political, issue. A Chapter VII mandate is likely to be required for any United Nations force in Darfur, to enable the force to give the necessary protection to civilians and to itself. Chapter VII would help the United Nations implement the Darfur Peace Agreement, which is what the Government wants. Chapter VII would only mean that the United Nations mission in Darfur has the same mandate as nearly all United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa, including, at the moment, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — which the Council visited after the Sudan — Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia.

It was always likely that the Government of the Sudan would not agree during the visit that this transfer should take place. But the mission had an important role in explaining why we thought this was in the interests of the Sudan and encouraging them to take on our view.

The process to get agreement from the Government of the Sudan may be tortuous. By the end of our visit, the mission felt we had edged further towards the probability of the Government of the Sudan accepting such a deployment.

Under-Secretary-General Guéhenno and his colleagues from the African Union are now in Khartoum and in the region as a technical assessment mission. Our mission considers that they should have two objectives. First, to secure the agreement of the Government of the Sudan to strengthening the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) so that it is better able to implement the Darfur Peace Agreement and thus protect civilians until a United Nations force is deployed. And secondly, to then identify with the Government of the Sudan the transition arrangements if AMIS is to be gradually replaced by a United Nations force. That is the intention, and in my view it is crucial that it be agreed upon very quickly and the necessary planning completed urgently.

Security in Darfur must be quickly improved in order to cope with the present array of attacks. Civilians must be afforded protection, their rights assured and impunity for abusers ended. That is why we need to implement the Darfur Peace Agreement and quickly strengthen the role of AMIS. To secure the agreement of the Government to the transfer, I assume that the AMIS mandate must first be strengthened to reflect the need to implement the Darfur Peace Agreement, and that the United Nations should then take over that same mandate. If that is agreed, then it will be for the Council to draft and agree the necessary resolution to provide the mandate for the United Nations force.

President Bashir made it clear that he did not think external troops should be mandated to attack Sudanese. He therefore accepted that control of the Janjaweed — long sought by the Council and a precondition for the security of persons in Darfur — was the responsibility of his Government. We look to them to fulfil that responsibility now.

But while the international community’s attention is rightly focused on the problems of Darfur, the mission left with a clear sense that we should not lose sight of the wider problems in the Sudan, in particular in the south. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which marked the cessation of hostilities, is being taken forward. But the mission found that implementation is slow. International donations to the South are also drying up.

In one of the more sobering comments made, a member of the southern Sudan parliament reminded the mission that were southern Sudan a country, it would be the poorest in the world. Yet Darfur’s future is inexorably linked to that of the south and the south’s to that of Darfur. A holistic solution is required, that addresses all of the countries problems through a coordinated response of the range of bodies in the United Nations family. Security is of paramount importance. But it cannot be viewed in isolation from the humanitarian or social initiatives.

The Council, in November 2004, travelled to Nairobi, and in its work there contributed to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement concluded in January 2005. Our mission was united in pressing for the implementation of the Agreement. We visited the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and were impressed by the work it carries out on the ground. We met with President Kiir of southern Sudan — who is also Vice-President of Sudan — and with his ministerial colleagues, and discussed implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

It was clear that the Agreement remains fragile, and that there is a continuing risk to civilians outside the main towns. President Kiir also stated clearly that implementation of the Agreement was essential. Without it, there would be no Agreement, and, with no Agreement, war would be probable. Those were the words of the President of southern Sudan: a stark warning of the crucial importance of moving forward on the full implementation of the Agreement. As we left Juba, we paid our respects at the tomb of Mr. John Garang, who negotiated the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, whose death has been such a loss to the peace process and to southern Sudan.

In the south, we also discussed the problems caused in the region by the attacks launched by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). That scourge is present in southern Sudan, and also in the Garamba Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as affecting northern Uganda. Its activities over 19 years have led to more than 1.7 million internally displaced persons and to many deaths. The need to overcome this small group of people who are causing such havoc throughout the region is only too obvious. The Government in the south is making overtures to the LRA, hoping that it can persuade them to negotiate peace with the Government of Uganda. Clearly, there is a need for a political process to entice the bulk of LRA members away from the leadership and to try to reintegrate them into their societies. But there must be real doubt about the extent to which Kony and the other indictees are in any way prepared to work for peace and to put aside their appalling record.

In my view, they need to face justice in The Hague. I have separately asked the Secretary-General, in following up the mandate in resolutions 1653 (2006) and 1663 (2006), to provide the Council with a written report on the regional dimension of the LRA, because we need to put in place a comprehensive response by the international community, given the obvious threat to regional peace and security which the LRA still poses.

In Addis Ababa, we had a full exchange, not just on Darfur, AMIS and a United Nations peacekeeping operation, but on wider issues. President Konare set out his deep concern about the situation in Somalia and described the African Union approach to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to Côte d’Ivoire, in both cases in terms very similar to those of the Security Council.

But we also noted the importance of the wider relations between the United Nations and the African Union. With foresight, Chapter VIII of the Charter addresses the role of regional organizations. Our cooperation with the African Union is a positive and timely development which has many possibilities. Peacekeeping and demobilization, destabilization and reintegration and security-sector reform are obvious candidates for cooperation. I think the United Nations has a particular responsibility to seek to help develop the capacities of the African Union and of its regional manifestations. But that responsibility goes wider. I hope that other regional groupings can increase the support that they are already giving, and that the bilateral donors will also help develop essential capacity. It is crucial in its own right, but it is particularly important that we help African initiatives to tackle African problems. Indeed, more widely, the entire United Nations family should develop closer relationships with the African Union and its various components.

We were able to have four meetings with representatives of non-governmental organizations working in the Sudan and in Chad. I would like to pay tribute to their immense contributions. They, the United Nations agencies and the peacekeepers, are carrying the burden for us today in Africa. They are tackling humanitarian concerns, providing water and sanitation, delivering medical assistance and educational support and providing an essential basis for longer-term development.

Nowhere was this more apparent than in the work being done with women. We could only admire the courage of women confronting the immense burdens of life in Darfur and in the camps of Chad. With quiet dignity, they have to carry water, search for firewood, face attack and violation — not just from the Janjaweed — and, at the same time, bring up families, often without male support. Our resolution 1325 (2000) was much quoted, and so it should be. It was a landmark resolution which addressed the role of women as the particular victims of conflict, suffering disproportionately from attacks and from HIV/AIDS, often wrongly disowned by their families and with little access to medical assistance, counselling, and so on. At the same time, they lack the empowerment to play the role in political life which is not only their right but would introduce a degree of sanity into much of the activity in the region.

Thus, the need for full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) seems to me obvious. That requires a comprehensive strategy to secure the rights of women, to provide them with relief, assistance and, above all, with security, and to empower them to play their just role in society. For their part, Sudanese women have already identified a series of actions to help achieve these goals, which include urgent political, economic and social legislative reform; access to and ownership of property and land; full involvement in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) processes; the protection of women and girls from gender-based violence, and the prosecution of the perpetrators; and the establishment of women’s resource centres for refugee and internally displaced women. Responding to these priorities is, in my view, essential if we are to achieve sustainable peace in the Sudan. I hope that the United Nations family, and not just in Darfur and Chad, can better play its part in working with host Governments to develop strategies which deliver these goals. Then, as effectively as possible and without duplication, the individual agencies should work to secure implementation of that strategy.

It was right that we should end our visit in Chad. After Darfur we flew to N’Djamena and then on 10 June back eastwards to the Sudanese border, where we visited the camps at Goz Beïda. The scale of the camps is huge and President Deby said that he thought that 700,000 Chadians had been displaced due to the raids being undertaken daily from Darfur.

That is the scale of the challenge, which must be met in extremely hostile climate conditions. The mission was immensely moved by the dedication of United Nations workers and non-governmental organizations as they tackle that massive task of bringing relief and assistance to so many people. Worryingly, despite being in camps, individuals, particularly women, are at risk of attack. Within the camps, we were alarmed to learn that recruitment and intimidation of persons are regularly carried out by rebel groups.

Yet the local community has embraced displaced persons and refugees as guests. It is a stark reminder of the poverty of the region to discover that local people visit camps in order to receive some medical attention, particularly to give birth, and to be guaranteed food. That is the scale of the challenge in that part of Africa.

The Security Council has primary responsibility for international peace and security. Our visit demonstrated the importance of Council action on the ground in the Sudan and in the region. But it also reminded us of the wider United Nations interest in Africa. The year 2005 was a good one for development assistance. Substantial additional resources were pledged. The Sudan and Chad underline why these resources are so desperately needed, why the Millennium Development Goals are crucial, and how their implementation is so far behind schedule today. The need to move from humanitarian to longer-term assistance is all too apparent. But Chad is the seventh-poorest country in the world. Delivering the Goals and ensuring a partnership with the international community and an accountable relationship between donor and recipient are basic to the development contract. With it goes governance, the rule of law and essential rights for the people of the region, rights which must include the protection of women and the right to development.

This was a successful visit by a united Council. We delivered messages of support and partnership but did not shirk the tougher arguments where those were necessary. The Sudan demands an integrated approach to secure the implementation of the two agreements and then to move on to tackle other issues, such as eastern Sudan. But the Sudan cannot be considered alone. It needs to be seen in a regional context. Its relationships with Chad and the situation there should be of particular concern to the Council. Of course, the Governments concerned have overall responsibility for the security and protection of their people. But it is all too apparent that the United Nations will have to strengthen its assistance, not just for security, and be prepared to do this for some time, if fragile agreements are to be implemented. Peace in Darfur is closely related to peace in the Sudan, and in turn is vital for regional peace and security.

That means that the United Nations must be prepared to provide essential support until sustainable peace and development are achieved.

The President

I now give the floor to Ambassador De La Sablière.

Mr. De La Sablière (France)

First, I would like to say to our colleague, Ambassador Jones Parry, how greatly I appreciate the way in which he led our mission: intelligently, skilfully and effectively. I was pleased to work with him in jointly leading the mission in Chad.

I think it was important that we went to Chad. From their previous discussions with President Konaré at Addis Ababa, members of the Council could already appreciate the risks that the destabilization of Chad would present to the entire region. Moreover, by visiting the Goz Beïda camps not far from Abéché — camps housing refugees from Darfur and camps for persons displaced following attacks by Janjaweed from the Sudan — we were able to see how much the Darfur conflict has affected Chad. The Council must take this link between Darfur and Chad into account.

We had a long visit with President Deby. We recalled the statements issued by the Security Council and our condemnation of the 13 April attack against N’Djamena. We raised all the points that we wanted to raise within our terms of reference. All of that will be in the written record. But today I would like to stress three points.

First, as regards Darfur, President Deby reaffirmed his steadfast support for the Darfur Peace Agreement and informed us about the contacts that he had had to try to get the non-signatories to sign it. That is important, because so much depends on the Agreement, which is fragile and which must absolutely be strengthened.

Secondly, the relationship between the Sudan and Chad has deteriorated greatly. We have heard accusations from both sides, in Khartoum and in N’Djamena. When he gave us a report on the attack of 13 April, President Deby told us that his country had been the victim of aggression by the Sudan and that he would be complaining about it to the Security Council.

In accordance with our terms of reference, we stressed the importance of both countries implementing the confidence-building measures of the Tripoli Agreement. I think that the African Union can certainly be of major assistance in that area.

Thirdly, with regard to the camps, it seems that the international community is faced with two problems. At the humanitarian level, there are 300,000 refugees in Chad and 50,000 displaced persons in camps there. That is a lot of people in a very poor country, and international assistance is insufficient. Jan Egeland said as much to us. I believe that we need to help mobilize donors with a view to increasing international humanitarian assistance. The second problem relates to the protection of the camps. The camps have been politicized; we saw that for ourselves from the demonstrations that greeted us. It is said that the camp that we visited is opposed to the Peace Agreement. There was obvious manipulation. Politicization is thus a major factor, and the problem of forced recruitment is serious.

Lastly, humanitarian workers are being attacked and are very worried. President Deby expressed his concerns about that, as well as telling us that he was unable to deal with the problem — his army must first protect the borders. He would therefore like the international community to take responsibility for protecting the camps and the humanitarian workers who have to move from one camp to another.

I believe that if nothing is done in that area, we might see a serious deterioration in the situation in all respects. It would be appropriate for the Secretary-General to consider the question of international protection for the camps and to make recommendations to us. I can see only advantages to Jean-Marie Guéhenno’s visiting Chad, since he is already in the region.

The President

I now give the floor to Ambassador Augustine Mahiga of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Mr. Mahiga (Tanzania)

On behalf of my African colleagues in the Council and all the members who participated in the recent Council mission to Africa, I would like to thank our team leaders, Ambassador Jones Parry and Ambassador De La Sablière, for their intrepid leadership during the mission. They were firm in conveying the Council’s central objectives while extending the hand of partnership to our hosts. They kept the team focused and united, despite a gruelling timetable and the fact that we were dealing with politically sensitive issues.

We should also like to thank the representatives of the Secretary-General and their teams in the field for the excellent preparations they made for our visit, as well as the Secretariat staff who accompanied us. The interpreters had to endure unusually long hours, while the security personnel left no detail to chance. On behalf of the Council, I thank all of them.

Overall, our mission advanced to new levels the objectives that we set ourselves in the places that we visited. Our challenge is to retain the initiative and accomplish the objectives within very tight time lines. The Sudan in general and Darfur in particular will remain the most difficult areas. The visit took place against the background of an uneasy relationship with the Security Council, as we adopted tougher resolutions to protect civilians, address impunity, facilitate humanitarian assistance in Darfur and push the peace negotiations in Abuja. The unanimous adoption, just before the mission took place, of resolution 1679 (2006), with its necessary but perhaps premature reference to Chapter VII, set a difficult stage for our mission. It provided an excuse for the Sudan Government to take a harder line on the proposed transition from the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) to a United Nations peacekeeping force in Darfur in implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement.

There is open resistance to the transition, and negative perceptions have been created among the general public regarding the intentions of the Security Council. On the other hand, the Government of the Sudan needs the Darfur Peace Agreement, with a weak implementation mechanism in the form of AMIS, which, following its initial but limited success, is unable to undertake, alone, added responsibilities.

The Security Council team conveyed to the Sudanese authorities — and tried to convince them — that transition from AMIS to a United Nations force is not an option, but an obligation. The invocation of Chapter VII is not against the Government of the Sudan and its people, but is a necessary reserve option to implement the Darfur Peace Agreement, especially in the disarmament of entities like the Janjaweed and rebel groups, to ensure the protection of civilians and to maintain unimpeded humanitarian access.

We should continue to explain and justify Chapter VII beyond the need to maintain credibility before the international community. The Government of the Sudan maintains that it cannot yield its obligation to disarm the Janjaweed under the Darfur Peace Agreement and should not be treated as a failed State. Given that atmosphere of suspicion, a number of steps should be taken.

The talking and consultations at the diplomatic level should continue as the assessment mission continues. The operational necessities of the assessment team will demonstrate the necessity of an additional United Nations presence. The African Union should be making the case for a more robust mandate and predictable funding and the political case for partnership through the Security Council. The operational success of AMIS, with implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement, would create incremental confidence in the United Nations presence in the Sudan.

The planned visit of President Konaré after the assessment mission and before the African Union summit should be used to push further the case for international burden-sharing in implementing the Darfur Peace Agreement. The same message should come out of the Banjul summit.

In the days to come, it will be necessary for the Security Council to ensure the continuing implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in the south. That is of paramount importance, because as we succeed in deploying and in working with the Sudanese Government and the southern Sudanese government, we are creating an atmosphere of confidence and mutual trust between the Security Council and the United Nations on the one hand, and the authorities in Khartoum and Juba on the other. The implementation of the Abuja Peace Agreement will very much depend on the success of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in the south.

It should also be taken into account that the implementation of the Agreement is very much behind schedule. That is not because of the problems associated with the United Nations, but because of the internal constraints within the Sudanese Government and the southern Sudanese government. Nonetheless, I should highlight the following areas, which are of critical importance in sustaining the viability of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

The first area is the need for expeditious demarcation of the boundaries that define the south. The second is the speedy negotiation and resolution of the controversial status of Abie, where oil resources are the centre of the controversy. The third is the clear demobilization and redeployment of forces, as set out in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The Sudan is a unique case under the Agreement, because it is going to retain three armies: the armed forces of the Sudan, the remnants of the Sudan Liberation Army and the integrated army. I should add that in addition to those three recognized armies, there are still militias in the South whose status remains controversial and needs to be defined if the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is to be stabilized.

Among the militias that are creating concern is the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Although it has crossed borders to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, it has only made the problem regional and has in no way helped the people of southern Sudan. We continued to receive reports of civilian atrocities, which are of great concern to the government and the people of southern Sudan.

When we were in Juba, we were told that a delegation of the LRA was there and that a delegation from Uganda was being awaited for negotiations under the auspices of the government of southern Sudan. We were curious, wanting to know the status of the five indicted leaders and whether they would be part of the negotiations. The leadership was careful to make a distinction between negotiations for peace with the LRA and the culpability of the five indicted leaders. Although we were unable to obtain definite positions on what would happen, they agreed in principle on the need to apprehend the indictees and to hand them over to the International Criminal Court.

Ambassador Jones Parry has outlined our visit to Addis Ababa in great detail. Let me emphasize the following.

We had the first meeting ever between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council. That offers an opportunity for continued partnership between the two organs of the organizations under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter.

Secondly, the African Union has gone well beyond endorsing in principle the transition from AMIS to the United Nations; it is actually urging a more expeditious United Nations deployment. President Konaré has even written to NATO to ask for logistical support to strengthen the African Union forces in Darfur without actual ground deployment of NATO, only as an intermediary step while waiting for an expeditious transition to the United Nations peacekeeping force.

We were also encouraged by the African Union not only to continue working on the political and operational aspects in the partnership with the United Nations Security Council, but also with regard to the need to stabilize hard-won peace and peacekeeping initiatives and especially the role of the Peacebuilding Commission in subsequent cases in various parts of the continent.

As Ambassador Jones Parry pointed out, the issue of Somalia was drawn to our attention as fighting was raging in Mogadishu and beyond.

At this stage, the hope for moving the Abuja peace process forward resides with the African Union. We hope that there will be positive outcomes from the assessment mission and that President Konaré’s visit to Khartoum before the summit in Banjul will push the Sudanese forward and convince them of the need for a greater United Nations presence.

As Ambassador de La Sablière pointed out, our visit to Darfur and across to Chad was important in three main respects. The first is the presence of Darfur refugees in Chad, whose loyalty is reflected in the kind of leadership that was participating in Abuja. In the camps that we visited, we saw the contradictory position of demonstrating against the Abuja process and the Abuja Peace Agreement because of the compensation component — which was lacking — and, at the same time, demanding a United Nations presence in Darfur. It should be noted that that can come about only if the United Nations is allowed to participate in the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement.

The second challenge is related to the civilian and humanitarian character of the camps. It was scarcely 15 years ago that the Security Council faced a similar situation in the Great Lakes region. Although the situation has not reached that level of insecurity, reports of recruitment and of frequent attacks from across the border make a strong case for serious consideration of how to strengthen the civilian and humanitarian character of these refugee camps in a very volatile situation. President Deby himself has admitted that he is unable to provide the necessary security to the humanitarian staff and the refugees in the camps.

Third is the tension developing between Chad and the Sudan. President Deby expressed his intention to register his concerns with the Security Council in writing. This is going to be a difficult issue in an already complicated environment, which the Council must continue to follow.

Ambassador de La Sablière took us to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This case is probably one of the most difficult United Nations operations, but could also turn out to be one of the most successful. The parties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are united on the date of 30 June for the elections. There are concerns about campaigning and access to the media for small parties, but there was almost unanimous agreement that there should be adequate consultations in the next few weeks before the elections so that the issues of access and intimidation are appropriately addressed. The presence of the 17,000-strong force of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), a European force and the African Union’s panel of wise men will be powerful factors in maintaining stability during the elections and during the interim period between the first and second rounds of elections.

There are still concerns about the professionalism and the competence of the newly integrated brigades of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but we were encouraged by the firm commitment of a number of countries and partners in the international community to build a viable national army.

There is still a lot to be desired, especially in the management and governance of the military establishment, particularly the payment of salaries, but this was eloquently brought to the attention of the authorities, and it will continue to be an issue on the agenda well beyond the election period.

We had fruitful discussions with international monetary institutions, in particular the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, on issues of governance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The issue is on the agenda, but we are dealing with a deeply entrenched culture of non-transparency and opaque administration.

In our discussions, we were confident that, after the elections, these issues would continue to be addressed. We were gratified by the great confidence shown in the Security Council and by the fact that the support that the Security Council is receiving from neighbouring countries is bringing about a unique opportunity for a peaceful transition and the stabilization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

To sum up, I would say that this mission, covering several countries in a very few days, did indeed advance our objectives, and the challenge before us would be to catalyse bilateral diplomatic initiatives in connection with the United Nations and the African Union, to see how the Abuja peace process can be moved forward and also to ensure that the transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo goes according to schedule.

The President

I thank Ambassador Mahiga for his statement.

There are no more speakers on the list.

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

The meeting rose at 11.05 a.m.
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