Security Council mission Briefings by Heads of the Security Council mission to Africa
|President:||Mr. De Gucht
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Members:||Mr. Wang Guangya
|Mr. De La Sablière
|Sir Emyr Jones Parry
Adoption of the agenda
Security Council mission
Briefings by Heads of the Security Council mission to Africa
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 a briefing by the four ambassadors who led the Security Council mission to Africa: Mr. Dumisani Kumalo, Permanent Representative of South Africa, and Sir Emyr Jones Parry, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, who together led the mission to Addis Ababa, Khartoum and Accra; Mr. Jorge Voto-Bernales, Permanent Representative of Peru, who led the mission to Abidjan; and Mr. Jean-Marc de La Sablière, Permanent Representative of France, who led the mission to Kinshasa.
Allow me, before I give the floor to the Heads of the Security Council mission, to say a few words.
Belgium welcomes the fact that the Security Council mission to Africa took place during the month of its presidency. My country, as the Council is aware, attaches particular importance to the African continent. Belgium is thus very pleased to note that its interest in Africa is shared by the Council and is reflected in its work.
I now give the floor to His Excellency, Mr. Dumisani Kumalo, who, along with Ambassador Jones Parry, led the Security Council mission to Addis Ababa, Khartoum and Accra.
It is an especially great honour for me, Mr. Minister, that you are presiding over this meeting today, because I know how much Belgium has been assisting us on the African continent.
My task today is to very briefly and informally recall the mission that I had the honour to lead, together with the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom. There will be a report that will give all the necessary details about what happened. But I thought that I could perhaps take a few minutes to give the Council my own impressions of what took place.
One of the most useful things — something that is always useful when it happens — was the fact that we had significant time with the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa. We had meetings with Commissioner Djinnit, and an even longer meeting with President Konaré, Chairman of the Commission, and exchanged views in detail on issues that are before the Council. Speaking on behalf of my colleagues, I must say that we found their advice very useful in determining how they viewed some of the issues that they deal with on a day-by-day basis.
We also had a formal working meeting between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council. That in itself was also very significant, because we were able to exchange views on a variety of issues that come before the Security Council and that also come before the African Union Council in Addis Ababa. At the end of that meeting, we agreed on an outcome. We will very soon write to you, Mr. President, to ask that that outcome be reproduced as an official document of the Security Council so that it can be referred to in the future.
Two things stand out in that agreement. One was the desire of both Councils to see the exchange of views between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council happen every year, because of the issues that come before the Security Council that most of the time, originate from Addis Ababa. We therefore felt that it would be very useful if we could have a meeting together once a year.
The other thing that was important for those of us in Africa was an understanding that on peace and security matters the African Union always acts on behalf of the international community. It is therefore important that there should be an exchange of views between the two Councils to make sure that whatever Africa is engaging in is to the benefit and within the intentions of the international community, in particular the Security Council.
The other issue that we discussed was one that arose during the South African presidency in March, namely, a way to explore how the United Nations could, on a case-by-case basis, which was the phrase that was used, be able to assist with resources, in particular in cases where the African Union is acting on behalf of the Security Council. That is a very difficult issue because it involves rules that are not set in the Security Council, but rather next door in the General Assembly, about how assessed contributions can be handled or used. But we thought that the fact that we have begun to engage on this issue was extremely important.
There were a few things that we wanted to follow up concerning that issue. One thing which I must mention is that there was talk during our visit to Addis Ababa about the fact that the mandate of the Africa Union Mission in the Sudan would expire at the end of this week. I saw yesterday that in fact, as promised by the African Union Peace and Security Council, the Union’s mandate in the Sudan has been extended for another six months. That shows that some of the issues that we discussed and thought should be followed up have indeed been taken up.
We then proceeded to Khartoum, where we of course met with the Foreign Minister and senior officials, including the three governors of the Darfur province. Again, in my personal view, I found the senior officials in the Sudan to be very forthcoming and unambiguous in their acceptance of the hybrid force. They were also willing to engage and exchange views. We felt that was a very important positive step with regard to the situation in Darfur. Indeed, President Al-Bashir himself confirmed the same thing to us when we met with him later in our visit. We therefore felt that this was at least a major breakthrough, in that the issue that is now left as a challenge for us is implementation.
I would like to raise an idea that we informally talked about on the plane, namely, that we now need a timeline about who is going to do what. As I said, the AU has already followed up on one of their responsibilities. But we need a timeline that spells out what the Security Council will do, what the AU will do and what the Department of Peacekeeping Operations will do. I hope that this issue will be visited at an appropriate time.
Finally, we also visited Accra, where we met with President Kufuor of Ghana, Chairman of the African Union. We were very honoured that the Foreign Minister of Ghana spent a long time with us engaging on the details of the issues and offering the views of the African Union. They also affirmed to us that they viewed the agreement on the hybrid mission in the Sudan to be a very positive thing for the African Union as a whole. They hope to take up that issue this weekend when the African Union Summit meets again in Ghana. The President of Ghana was also pleased to meet with us. We also got his views on the issues.
All in all, I must say two things. For me as the representative of South Africa, it was a tremendous honour to work with my colleague the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom as co-leader. I will always value this experience, especially as someone who is in the Council temporarily. This is one of those things that I will take away when I leave here.
The other thing is that I also want to pay tribute to our Secretariat friends who accompanied us. I am in awe of what they did. They woke up long before I did, and they interpreted for me where the language was very difficult. I just want to be on the record to say that we are in awe of the help that they gave us. We thank them very much. It made our trip very nice.
I thank Ambassador Kumalo for his briefing.
I now give the floor to His Excellency Sir Emyr Jones Parry.
Thank you for being with us again, Mr. Minister. My thanks go also to my colleagues for allowing Ambassador Kumalo and me to act as co-leaders. I would like to say what a pleasure it was to do that.
I would like to situate my comments, first, in the context of Africa, a continent which has really been neglected, in part, by the international community, and which takes up 60 per cent of our time in the Council. For the United Nations as a whole, it is a major opportunity and a major challenge. Our remit, of course, is specifically security and the maintenance of international peace and security.
To start with, I should like to present two impressions of the role of the Council. The first is that, increasingly, the Council will have to look to regional actors — as it already does — to help us actually maintain international peace and security. It follows, as night follows day, that if the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) is delivering better peace and security in Africa, it helps us in terms of our remit. I believe that the African Union accepts that it is we who have the overall responsibility, but working together on shared objectives is absolutely vital. And that is not just with the African Union; it is with every regional body or other body which might have a role to play.
There is also a need to have coherence across all the matters which are relevant to peace and security. And that is not just within a narrow focus — peacekeeping — it is conflict prevention, stopping conflict, trying to build peace, looking after DDR — demobilization, demilitarization and reinsertion into society — and security sector reform. All those are basic to how you achieve security. And, of course, there are key interests of the Council, but there are key interests of other bodies too, and rightly so. However, I believe that the need to try to achieve greater coherence across those interventions, by the actors who are working there, was reaffirmed to me on this mission.
With specific regard to the African Union, as Ambassador Kumalo said, the sheer number of issues in which we have a commonality of interests and a common purpose in what we are trying to do demonstrates why the joint declaration of the African Union Peace and Security Council and the Security Council was so important. I hope that it will not be treated as just another piece of paper. Without going into detail, I will say that what Ambassador Kumalo and I will do is write to the President of the Security Council asking that it become a formal document of the Council. It must then be a document that is acted upon day by day by our Secretariat, by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and by the Council as a whole.
The document contains some important points, including that before either body decides to take action in the African theatre, it should try to be cognizant of what the other thinks. That has to be an improvement. And the whole question of financing and maintaining financing for AU operations — which we have seen in the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) in Darfur — is so sensitive but so necessary. Actually, all of us are going to have to try to see how we can better maintain the financing of African Union operations.
In the discussion of individual countries and areas of concern, Darfur, of course, took up a major part of the time. I thought that the discussions we had with President Konaré, with Commissioner Djinnit and with the Peace and Security Council were very helpful. We all agreed on the need for rapid deployment of the hybrid operation and the details pertaining to its operation. But we also stressed the importance of revitalizing the political process in Darfur and ensuring that humanitarian relief is delivered. The fact that the AMIS mandate has been renewed just means that we must also concentrate on the question of how that mission should be financed for the duration of its time, until it makes the transition to the hybrid operation.
With regard to Somalia, there was lots of discussion and, obviously, a keen wish to see political reconciliation in the country and an end to the present state of affairs. And that simply means, I think, three things: first, that the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) needs to be strengthened and security delivered in Somalia; secondly, that humanitarian relief has to be delivered; and thirdly, that in the very small window available, the Transitional Federal Government has to reach out to parties in Somalia and try to achieve a broader agreement so that there can be a political track to accompany the security track. That is essential if the Security Council is then going to move on to what the United Kingdom would like: to discuss seriously whether we can create, or have created, the conditions for a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Somalia and how we should do that. But those are very difficult issues.
As the Security Council, we also briefed the AU Peace and Security Council on our approach to the Ethiopia-Eritrea border dispute and to the issue of the Lord’s Resistance Army. In turn, we heard how the Peace and Security Council sees the African Union’s efforts to resolve the political crisis in the Comoros.
We then moved on, as Ambassador Kumalo said, to the Sudan, where it was encouraging that, with all the questions put to them, both the Foreign Minister and the President implicitly confirmed total unconditional acceptance of the hybrid operation. That is very welcome. And I have to say that the tone of the discussions in Khartoum was so much better than on our mission last year: so far, so good.
I cannot stress too much, however, that we have arrived at where we are through sustained pressure and argument for what we need to do in Darfur and that, in my view, the Government of the Sudan has come to the present cooperation only because of all the international pressure that has been put upon it. Experience suggests that the Security Council, and individual countries on the Council, will have to be vigilant not only in working together cooperatively, but also in maintaining that wish and that pressure so that the Government of the Sudan now does what it needs to do. At the same time, we are, quite rightly, chastised by that Government because we do not put enough pressure on the rebels, who at this stage bear as heavy, if not heavier, responsibility. The need to put pressure on them and criticize them is all too obvious. That means that bringing both sides to an accord in the shortest possible time scale is the best way of providing long-term security and peace in Darfur.
Accra was what we expected: tremendous development compared with where we were three years ago. The whole city vibrates with the progress that Ghana is making. Both the President and the Foreign Minister were very generous with their time. I thought they were very close to the Council in terms of commonality of purpose, that they had a political determination to deliver the same set of objectives and that their aspirations for Africa were very positive indeed.
I, too, should like to conclude by thanking my colleagues for their participation and their contributions during the mission. My thanks go also to the Secretariat for all its support and, indeed, to our host Governments and all those who made it possible for the mission to function as well as it did.
I now give the floor to Mr. Enrique Chávez, who will speak on behalf of His Excellency Mr. Jorge Voto-Bernales, who led the Security Council mission to Abidjan.
Permit me, before reading out Ambassador Voto-Bernales’s statement, to welcome your presence here, Mr. Minister, as you lead the work of the Security Council. I also wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the delegation of Belgium on its excellent leadership of our work during the month of June.
I will now read Ambassador Voto-Bernales’s statement.
“After its visit to Accra, the Security Council mission went to Abidjan on 18 and 19 June. As is well known, the terms of reference of the mission were essentially to welcome the ownership of the peace process by the Ivorian parties, in the context of the Ouagadougou Peace Agreement, to encourage the parties to continue resolutely with this process, and to examine with the parties the consequences of the Agreement as regards the role of the United Nations in the next few months.
“The mission therefore met with Mr. Djibrill Bassolé, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Burkina Faso, representative of the Facilitator of the Agreement, President Blaise Compaoré: with Mr. Guillaume Soro, the new Prime Minister of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire; and with Mr. Laurent Gbagbo, President of the Republic.
“In addition, the mission had a working meeting with the Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Abou Moussa, the commanding Generals of the military component of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and the French forces that support it, the main civil officials of UNOCI and the United Nations team in Côte d’Ivoire.
“Thanks to these meetings, the mission observed certain matters that I will now bring to the Council’s attention. I must state that the terms in which these preliminary observations are drafted are entirely my responsibility.
“The political Agreement of Ouagadougou has created a new atmosphere in Côte d’Ivoire that all our interlocutors highlighted. It is true that the Agreement has not immediately resolved the problems of substance that are at the very heart of the Côte d’Ivoire crisis, but it has unleashed a new dynamic to resolve those problems at the initiative of the parties themselves. Both President Gbagbo and Prime Minister Soro sought to emphasize that delays in the past two months were due exclusively to technical reasons. The negotiators of the Agreement had underestimated the time it would take to set up a new Government. However, at the political level, the determination of the parties to apply the agreement remained intact.
“The mission’s interlocutors also appealed to the United Nations to continue assisting Côte d’Ivoire and to extend UNOCI through the period leading up to the elections. The process needs to be continued. Technical assistance and support in the field of security must be provided; international assistance for Côte d’Ivoire must be mobilized; and the certification of the electoral process must be carried out. I will refer specifically to this latter process in a moment.
“As regards security, the mission’s interlocutors pointed to a very meaningful improvement of the situation, which has remained fairly calm since the Ouagadougou Agreement was signed. The commanders of the neutral forces estimate that the risk of a return to hostilities is minimal. Indeed, since the elimination of the confidence zone on 16 April, there has not been a single significant armed incident in that sector.
“But there are still elements of concern. The first is in the west of the country, where there are still active militias. The second has to do with criminality, which, though stable, remains high. In this respect, the commanders of the neutral forces have confirmed that there are still many illegal control posts on the roads, particularly in the eastern part of the country, and even inside Abidjan. The third factor of concern relates to the process of disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, disarmament of the militias and the reform of the security forces. The commanders of the neutral forces have pointed out that there has been very little progress in this area. They did, however, welcome that the Facilitator is presently trying to resolve the problem of ranks and quotas in the army, because if that were solved the process could be reinitiated.
“In reply to our questions about President Compaoré’s request addressed to the Security Council for a partial lifting of the arms embargo, Mr. Bassolé confirmed that the request sought to endow the police forces and the gendarmes with the tools suitable for maintaining law and order. He clarified that in presenting this request to the Council, the Facilitator had merely transmitted a request from the parties. Several members of the mission expressed doubts about a partial lifting of the embargo, as disarmament and reforming the security sector were still pending. Some courses of action were outlined to bring these contradictory concerns into convergence, but I must note that on this score, the mission did not have a mandate to adopt a stance, since it was confined to pointing out that the Council would ‘examine the sanctions regime in order to contribute to the peace process, taking into account the peaceful implementation of the Ouagadougou Agreement’.
“Among the problems of substance to be resolved in order to find a lasting solution to the crisis, the Prime Minister emphasized the importance of identification. The representative of the Facilitator also recognized that identification was at the heart of the concerns of Côte d’Ivoire’s citizens. He highlighted that the prefects had been appointed to deploy the administration in the northern part of the country, and the judges in charge of holding court had already been appointed. The main matter still to be resolved has to do with the appointment of the technical private operator. The bidding process had been carried out, and it was not felt that there was any need to re-do it. The President of the Republic expressed optimism about the possibility of moving ahead rapidly in the identification process, in parallel with voter registration.
“As to the electoral process, the parties agreed with the mission on the importance of securing the credibility of the process overall. We saw that there is consensus about the need for certification of the electoral process to be carried out by the United Nations at each stage. The request to terminate the High Representative for the elections — which had been made last April to the Secretariat’s technical evaluation mission, should not be seen as any sort of reservation in respect of the certification, which was considered necessary. As for the institutional model to be established in the new resolution on the UNOCI mandate, Prime Minister Soro encouraged the mission to go along with the opinion of the Facilitator. The mission assured Mr. Bassolé that the Facilitator’s opinion would duly be taken into account at the time of preparing the draft resolution.
“In conclusion, on behalf of the members of the mission, I would like to thank Mr. Abou Moussa and his team in UNOCI for their assistance, but more importantly for their daily activities in the service of peace in Côte d’Ivoire. The mission left Abidjan encouraged by the new dynamics it had noted, but also convinced that the international community had to continue accompanying this process resolutely. We have given assurances to Burkina Faso about the Council’s support for its role as a Facilitator. We have exhorted the parties to persevere along the path they set out on in Ouagadougou. And finally, I would like to place on record my personal gratitude to the French delegation and, in particular, to Mr. Clément Leclerc, for the support he gave me in carrying out the responsibility that the Council was kind enough to entrust to me.”
I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Jean-Marc de La Sablière, who led the Council mission to Kinshasa.
The last leg of the Security Council’s mission was in Kinshasa on 20 June, and I had the honour to lead it. It was the Council’s eighth visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but this visit had a particular nature because it came in the new context following the elections, which were successful. One can say that the page has been turned, in terms of the transition. Thus, this visit took place in a new context.
The mission took place following the adoption of resolution 1756 (2007), in which the Council decided to extend the presence of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) by adapting its mandate to the post-transitional period. We were thus able to reaffirm to the new Congolese authorities the commitment of the United Nations to help them consolidate peace, democratic institutions and the rule of law during that period, while reviewing with them the chief challenges still facing the country.
After meeting with Bill Swing and his team, we met the President of the Republic, several members of the Government together with the acting Prime Minister, the Conference of Presidents of the Senate and the Conference of Presidents of the National Assembly. We had two thematic meetings with Congolese officials on key subjects — one on security sector reform and the other on the region of the Kivus.
I believe that the mission was very useful; I will address the chief issues dealt with by the mission and give the Council my assessment.
First, we welcomed the adoption of the Government’s programme and encouraged the authorities to implement it rapidly, in particular the good governance contract it contains, so that the populations may receive peace dividends. There is a legitimate impatience among the Congolese, and the authorities assured us of their determination to make rapid progress, although the Government had been in power only for three months. The Government stressed that it was beginning to work on each of the five priority areas it had identified, as could be seen in the budget adopted by the National Assembly, which will soon be considered by the Senate. A road map for local elections has been drawn up. It seems to me a good omen that, we were told, relations were good between donors and the Democratic Republic of the Congo authorities, which is important for the smooth implementation of the Government’s programme.
We raised with the new authorities the question of regular political dialogue which could be established between the Congolese authorities and the main international partners, taking fully into account the new situation arising from the establishment of democratically elected institutions. I am informing Council members that President Kabila said that he was open to such a dialogue, while indicating that whether to make it formal or informal was merely a technical question.
I now come to a subject which is a source of concern for everyone we spoke with: the situation in the Kivus. The instability in the Kivus due to activities of the troops of Laurent Nkunda and members of the former Rwandan Armed Forces (ex-FAR) and Interahamwe was raised at each of our meetings. I believe I can say again — in any case that is how I felt — that this is currently the most pressing concern of the Congolese authorities. President Kabila informed us of his intention to seek a solution preferably through political and diplomatic means, without, however, completely excluding recourse to the selective use of military action against some groups, given the unacceptable nature of the continuing violence.
At the political level, the authorities were planning to organize a round table, in order to involve the entire population of the Kivus in finding a solution. At the diplomatic level, the countries of the region have been increasingly working together, but it seemed to me that clarifications and greater trust are necessary. The Congolese authorities stated they were in favour of pursuing the process. The relations between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda in particular are key in order to fully resolve the problems in the east. Parliamentarians with whom the mission met expressed their full support for an approach that stressed the political and diplomatic paths. They noted that the impatience of a population that has been sorely tested might lead to quick solutions, but that in reality the military option had shown its limitations.
With regard to the brigades operating in North Kivu, the mission left — and it is my belief — convinced that only brassage was an option, and not mixage, which is a harmful method of circumventing the process of army integration.
That leads me to my second point, which was at the heart of our discussion: security sector reform. The general view, mentioned by everyone we spoke with, was that this must remain a priority. That is also the opinion of the Security Council. At that point, it appeared to us that more progress had been made to date with respect to the police than with respect to the army, even though, as Council members know, a number of integrated brigades had already been established. We stated that we thought it necessary to immediately consolidate the gains and to add to that initial effort in order to build a truly professional army. So that the international community could organize in order to help the Congolese authorities, we asked those authorities to formulate a plan defining the size and type of army that country needs and that matches its resources.
We also called on our interlocutors to take the necessary measures to put an end to the abuses committed by elements of the national security forces; the Congolese authorities, including President Kabila, assured us of their determination to address that problem by taking action at all levels of the military hierarchy. In more general terms I think we all noted with interest the commitment of the authorities, starting with the President of the Republic, to combating impunity and reforming the judiciary.
In accordance with our terms of reference, we also raised the question of the relationship with the opposition: the importance of respecting the space and the role conferred on opposition parties by the constitution and the need for all political parties to remain committed to the political process and to national reconciliation, with full respect for the constitutional framework and the rule of law. Those were subjects we raised with all of our interlocutors. We noted that the opposition played a significant role in the parliament and that the National Assembly had just adopted a draft law on the status of the political opposition, which has now been transmitted to the Senate.
I wish finally to take this opportunity to thank, before the Council, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Bill Swing, and all of the personnel of MONUC for their tireless efforts in the field to help the Congolese people. Now that the transition has concluded, it is important to stress that the relationship between the United Nations and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a partnership. The scale of the challenges will come as no surprise to the Council, since it recently decided to maintain MONUC at full capacity; that Mission remains the largest peacekeeping operation currently deployed by the United Nations.
But I think that what we can draw from the mission is, above all, the determination to act expressed by the Congolese authorities. That determination is in response to the high expectations of the population. The Council should thus continue to give the Congolese authorities its unstinting encouragement and support, with full respect for Congolese sovereignty.
In conclusion, I should like, on behalf of all the members of the Council, to thank President Kabila and the Congolese authorities for the warm welcome we received at Kinshasa.
I thank Ambassador De La Sablière for his briefing.
On behalf of the Council, I should like to express gratitude and appreciation to all the members of the Security Council mission, which was so very ably led by Ambassadors Kumalo, Jones Parry, Voto-Bernales and De La Sablière, for the manner in which they discharged their important responsibilities on behalf of the Council.
The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.
The date of a meeting to discuss the written report of the mission will be fixed in consultations among the members of the Security Council.