Calling for a more comprehensive United Nations response to the challenges in Africa, the Security Council, in a ministerial meeting this morning, requested the Secretary-General to submit, by February 1998, concrete recommendations on the sources of conflict in Africa, ways to prevent and address those conflicts and how to lay the foundation for durable peace and economic growth following their resolution.
In a statement read out by its President, Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State for the United States, the Council stated that because the report might be beyond the purview of the Council, the Secretary-General should also submit it to the General Assembly and other relevant bodies of the United Nations for action, in accordance with the United Nations Charter.
The Council expressed grave concern over the number and intensity of armed conflicts in Africa and welcomed the contributions of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and subregional arrangements in preventing and solving them. It looked forward to a stronger partnership between the United Nations and those organizations, in conformity with Chapter VIII of the Charter.
Addressing the Council, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, who is the current Chairman of the OAU, stated that "what Africa is asking for is not charity, but a new partnership which is mutually beneficial". Often in the past, he added, Africa had been dictated to, and had never had the opportunity to define, its own priorities. Africans wanted their partners to become committed to a new partnership based on sovereign equality and mutual benefit. A politically stable, prosperous and vibrant Africa was the best place to contribute to greater global peace and security. The need for investment in infrastructural development was critical. Regimes which had assumed power through undemocratic and unconstitutional means could no longer be tolerated or recognized, he stressed.
"Now is the time for action", said Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The international community should support the OAU in its efforts to strengthen its capacity for preventive diplomacy. The crucial need was for security in the lives of ordinary people in the form of access to health, education, clean
Security Council - 1a - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
water and a decent standard of living. He stood ready "to take whatever action the Council may require of me". Africa was showing the way. "Let us work together in response", he said, adding, "Let us not only pledge, but also act, to work better together, with Africa, and for Africa."
The Secretary-General of the OAU, Salim Ahmed Salim, said that while socio-economic development was a fundamental objective, there could be no meaningful progress in an environment devoid of peace, security and stability. The international community must not only strive towards the elimination of the root causes of humanitarian crises resulting in the displacement of millions of civilians, but also address the legitimate problems and concerns of the countries of asylum. He emphasized the importance of providing the OAU with the logistic and technical assistance needed to enhance its capacity to respond to conflict situations.
Statements were also made by the Foreign Minister of Chile, Jose Miguel Insulza; China's Vice-Premier and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Qian Qichen; the Minister for External Relations and Worship of Costa Rica, Fernando Naranjo-Villalobos; and the Foreign Minister of Egypt, Amre Moussa.
The Foreign Minister of France, Hubert Vedrine, also spoke; as did the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Guinea-Bissau, Delfim da Silva; the Foreign Minister of Japan, Keizo Obuchi; the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Kenya, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka; and the Foreign Minister of Poland, Dariusz Rosati.
Also speaking were the Foreign Minister of Portugal, Jaime Gama; the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea, Chong Ha Yoo; the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Yevgeny M. Primakov; and the Foreign Minister of Sweden, Lena Hjelm-Wallen. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom, Robin Cook, and Mrs. Albright, in her capacity as Secretary of State of the United States, also made statements.
During the meeting, the Council President expressed condolences on behalf of the Council to the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, Abdus Samad Azad, upon the death of his wife yesterday.
The Council has met at the Head of State and Government and/or Minister in three previous occasions, as follows: 26 September 1985, on the occasion of the United Nations fortieth anniversary; 31 January 1992, the first meeting of the Council at the level of Head of State or Government; and on 26 September 1995, on the occasion of the United Nations fiftieth anniversary.
Today's meeting was called to order at 9:13 a.m. and adjourned at 12:13 p.m.
Security Council - 1b - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
The full text of the presidential statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1997/46, reads as follows:
"The Security Council met on 25 September 1997, at the level of Foreign Ministers, to consider the need for a concerted international effort to promote peace and security in Africa.
"The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to Africa in keeping with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The Council also reaffirms the principles of political independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of all Member States.
"The Security Council notes that African States have made significant strides towards democratization, economic reform, and respect for and protection of human rights in order to achieve political stability, peace, and sustainable economic and social development.
"Despite these positive developments, the Security Council remains gravely concerned by the number and intensity of armed conflicts on the continent. Such conflicts threaten regional peace, cause massive human dislocation and suffering, perpetuate instability and divert resources from long-term development.
"The Security Council reaffirms the responsibility of all Member States to settle their international disputes by peaceful means and its own primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
"The Security Council welcomes the important contributions of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), including through its Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, and Resolution, as well as those of subregional arrangements, in preventing and resolving conflicts in Africa, and looks forward to a stronger partnership between the United Nations and the OAU, as well as subregional arrangements, in conformity with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations. The Council supports enhancement of the capacity of African States to contribute to peacekeeping operations, including in Africa, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. The Council highlights the important contribution of the African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty to international peace and security.
"The Security Council fully supports the engagement of the United Nations in Africa through its diplomatic, peacekeeping, humanitarian, economic development and other activities, which are often undertaken in cooperation with regional and subregional organizations. The United Nations makes an important contribution to the efforts of Africa to construct a future of
Security Council - 1c - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
peace, democracy, justice, and prosperity. The Council underlines the importance of the commitment of the United Nations through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other humanitarian organizations to assist the efforts of African States to address humanitarian and refugee crises in accordance with international humanitarian law.
"The Security Council considers that the challenges in Africa demand a more comprehensive response. To this end, the Council requests the Secretary- General to submit a report containing concrete recommendations to the Council by February 1998 regarding the sources of conflict in Africa, ways to prevent and address these conflicts, and how to lay the foundation for durable peace and economic growth following their resolution. Because the scope of this report may extend beyond the purview of the Security Council, the Council invites the Secretary-General to submit his report to the General Assembly and other relevant bodies of the United Nations for action as they deem appropriate, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
"The Security Council affirms its intention to review promptly the recommendations of the Secretary-General with a view to taking steps consistent with its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations."
Security Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this morning at the ministerial level to consider the situation in Africa.
ROBERT G. MUGABE, President of Zimbabwe and current Chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), said the OAU placed a premium on the establishment and maintenance of peace and security at the national, regional and continental levels for the achievement of sustainable economic growth and development. But peace and security could not be attained in conditions of abject poverty as was prevalent in Africa today. A politically stable, prosperous and vibrant Africa was the best place to contribute to greater global peace and security. Through subregional groupings, as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Africans had activated subregional mechanisms in the search for solutions to subregional crises.
The OAU itself, through its Mechanism for Conflict Prevention Management and Resolution, had endeavoured to play its part in those efforts. International support to those efforts, including in the area of capacity- building, was needed.
Recalling the phenomenal increase in African countries that had adopted economic and political reforms, he stressed that the need for investment in infrastructural development was critical. The success of those policies would be greatly enhanced by improved support from international financial institutions and the donor community. Since 1990, more than 20 African countries had held free and fair elections, but they had not proved to be the panacea that some had hoped they would. That was largely due to the prevailing economic conditions of underdevelopment.
The OAU had taken an unequivocal stand against military governments or those who assumed power through undemocratic and unconstitutional means, he said. Such regimes could no longer be tolerated. He called on the international community to stand solidly behind the OAU in denying legitimacy and recognition to such regimes and in its efforts to restore democracy and good governance. In such countries as Sierra Leone and Burundi, the newly established democracies were thwarted militarily and thus failed to be sustainable. It was imperative that the United Nations and the international community assisted African countries in ensuring that democracy became an irreversible process. The present trends towards democratic governance and the rule of law needed to be buttressed economically if African countries were to enjoy the peace dividend following the end of the cold war.
Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
He pointed to the need to find a solution to the dispute between Libya, the United States and the United Kingdom over the Lockerbie tragedy and said that many innocent people continued to suffer as a result of the sanctions imposed on Libya. The OAU felt that Libya's offer to have the two accused Libyans tried under Scottish law, by Scottish Judges in a third country or at the International Court of Justice, should receive serious consideration. The OAU stood ready to assist in trying to break the present impasse, he added.
Today's initiative must spur the international community to improve on previous United Nations initiatives on Africa, which had foundered and collapsed for lack of requisite resources in their implementation, he said. Because Africa's economic and social conditions remained desperate, particularly in the 33 countries classified by the United Nations as least developed, there was need to develop realistic programmes that yielded tangible results. He noted that out of sub-Saharan Africa's approximate population of over 500 million people, about 262 million lived on less than $1 a day; 290 million were illiterate; 200 million were without access to health services, while 274 million had no access to safe water. "This is absolute poverty", he said.
The credibility of international cooperation was at stake in the face of such damning and distressing statistics, he said. Similarly, the international community's assertions of true partnership with Africa, in the face of failing official development assistance (ODA) and impossible debt repayments, to mention just two major constraints, might soon sound hollow unless that partnership manifested itself in concrete programmes of action. Debt relief was, therefore, urgently called for.
He said Africa had defined its priorities as the establishment of the African Economic Community by way of regional and subregional integration; the maintenance of conditions of peace and stability; human resources development; eradication of poverty; promotion of human rights; improvement of the condition of women and children; consolidation of democracy; and good governance. Often in the past, Africa had been dictated to, and had never had the opportunity to, define its own priorities. Africans wanted their partners to become committed to a new partnership based on sovereign equality and mutual benefit.
"What Africa is asking for is not charity, but a new partnership which is mutually beneficial", he said.
KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that, according to a Swahili proverb, "you cannot turn the wind, so turn the sail". Africans were working with the winds of change blowing around the globe, and they were beginning to reap the benefits. There was a consensus that the primary responsibility for the solution of Africa's problems rested with Africans themselves. That called for a re-evaluation of the role of the
Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
international community in support of Africa's goals and placed responsibility on the shoulders of governments outside of Africa as well. In place of interventionism, it promised a mature relationship based on mutual support and trust. In place of papers, studies and documents, it offered the prospect of targeted assistance and support based on common goals and shared analysis.
He said the challenges of development were formidable. Africa was the only region in the world where poverty was expected to increase in the next century. "Now is the time for action", he said. The international community must respond to Africa's call. Preventive diplomacy was not an option, but a vital necessity. He called on the international community to support the OAU in its efforts to strengthen its capacity for preventive diplomacy. There was scope for enhanced partnership between regional organizations and the United Nations in African peacekeeping.
In that context, he welcomed the initiatives of interested Member States to strengthen Africa's peacekeeping capacity.
Referring to peace-building, he said the crucial underlying need was for security in the lives of ordinary people in the form of access to health, education, clean water and a decent standard of living. True security was built on a firm foundation of sustainable development. The pursuit of peace and security and the building of societies based on justice, democracy and human rights were mutually supportive and reinforcing. "Without peace, development is not possible; without development, peace is not durable", he said.
He urged the international community to increase ODA to African countries and stressed that external financing would be of vital importance for years to come. Only a comprehensive approach -- combining poverty eradication and equitably distribute growth -- would succeed. To that end, development assistance should be directed to rural areas. More assistance should be given to African countries to help create an enabling environment that would release the creative and entrepreneurial energies of their citizens, their non-governmental organizations, the private sector and society at large.
Another urgent priority, he said, was to relieve African countries of their heavy debt-service burden.
The Secretary-General said he stood ready "to take whatever action the Council may require of me". Africa was showing the way. Today the international community was being called to action. "Let us work together in response", he said, adding, "Let us not only pledge, but also act, to work better together, with Africa, and for Africa."
Security Council - 5 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
SALIM AHMED SALIM, Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), said the issues of peace, security and stability and the problems of economic development in Africa should be addressed simultaneously as they were mutually reinforcing. While socio-economic development was the fundamental objective, there could not be meaningful progress in an environment devoid of peace, security and stability. In that spirit, Africa was presently involved in the implementation process of the Abuja Treaty on the establishment of the African Economic Community; the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution; as well as other collective undertakings in human and social development endeavours.
He said the existing conflicts in Africa had far-reaching implications for the peace, security and stability of the continent as a whole. They had caused irreparable loss, damage and destruction, as well as acute humanitarian tragedies, forcing millions into exile as refugees. Due to the burden created by the massive influx of refugees to countries of asylum, the environmental degradation generated and the frustrations and resentment raised among local populations, there had been a decline in the traditional African compassion and hospitality towards refugees. That had been exacerbated by the eruption of the phenomenon of armed refugees. He affirmed the need for compassion and respect for humanitarian principles, including the principles of asylum and non-refoulement. The international community must not only strive towards the elimination of the root causes of those humanitarian crises, but also address the legitimate problems and concerns of the countries of asylum.
He said the international community should recommit itself to pooling its resources and energy and working closely together in order to address the scourge of conflicts afflicting the African continent and to promote a climate of peace, security, stability and understanding. It should also aim at finding lasting and peaceful solutions to disputes, such as the dispute between Libya, the United States and the United Kingdom over the Lockerbie issue. The OAU had consistently expressed its concern over the continued sanctions imposed on that country with their humanitarian consequences on the ordinary people, and called for a fair trial of the suspects according to acceptable requirements of justice and international law. The Council might wish to give serious consideration to the proposal jointly presented by the OAU and the League of Arab States aimed at seeking a just and equitable solution to the crisis. He said the international community should learn from the failure to anticipate and effectively prevent the crime of genocide in Rwanda and from the inability of the Security Council to respond appropriately to the call by African leaders to deal with the crisis in the eastern part of former Zaire. While Africa had the responsibility to address its own problems as a matter of priority, the United Nations could not exonerate itself from its Charter responsibilities towards the continent. Member States should recommit themselves to an enhanced cooperation and coordination between the United Nations and African institutions.
Security Council - 6 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
Due consideration, he said, should be given by the United Nations to the positions of the continent as articulated by the OAU and its leaders. For example, many failed to understand why despite the request made by the Chairman of the International Mediation Committee on Congo, President Omar Bongo of Gabon, for the deployment of a peacekeeping force, the Security Council had not to date been able to take decisive action. The United Nations and the OAU, should aim at building a new partnership in keeping with the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter and the Agenda for Peace on the role of the regional organizations in the maintenance of peace and international security.
He reiterated the OAU's disposition to continue working closely with the Secretary-General of the United Nations towards that end. Such cooperation should, as a matter of urgency, focus on addressing the current outbreaks of violence and conflicts in the continent. But it should pay more attention to preventive diplomacy, preventive action and preventive deployment, and aim at reorienting cooperation towards building a joint capacity for post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building.
He emphasized the importance of providing the OAU with the logistic and technical assistance needed to enhance its capacity to respond to conflict situations. There was also the need to support the capacity of the individual Member States and their subregional mechanisms to enable them to meet their responsibilities in conflict prevention, management and resolution. He welcomed the recent initiatives taken by some external partners to support Africa's capacity in peacekeeping. He hoped that the symbolic and political manifestation of interest and concern inherent in the holding of the ministerial meeting of the Council would be followed by a more active and committed involvement of the Security Council and the United Nations as a whole in dealing with African problems, especially those relating to peace, security and stability.
JOSE MIGUEL INSULZA, Foreign Minister of Chile, said today's meeting highlighted the political priority the international community gave to Africa. The meeting acknowledged the progress made and the will of African leaders to resolve tensions in their countries. The meeting symbolized the intention to increase international cooperation to address the problems in Africa according to the needs of those countries.
Peace required development and security in Africa, he said. The political machinery being developed by African countries should guide the international community as it made decisions relating to Africa. Noting the activities of regional groups and subregional schemes, he said their positive role must be strengthened. The international community must respect the specific aspects of each situation in Africa, as self-styled experts on Africa were often wrong. There was no substitute for the commitment of political leaders to peace.
Security Council - 7 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
Humanitarian atrocities had been committed in Africa, he said. He appealed to the governments and people of Africa to respect human beings and allow the United Nations and non-governmental organizations to work under the full respect for humanitarian and international law. The world could now create wealth, but the benefit must be shared by all. Chile did not want a world of "ins" and "outs", but wanted peace and security for all.
QIAN QICHEN, Vice-Premier and Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, said that, in recent years, the overall situation in Africa had been moving towards relaxation. The economy was beginning to pick up; people had increasingly realized the importance of getting stronger through unity; and the economic integration process had gained momentum. With the relentless efforts of African countries, the OAU and other regional organizations, some of the hot spots or conflicts on the African continent had been eliminated or eased.
However, owing to historical reasons and various complex internal and external factors, the situation in Africa remained fluid, he said. Since the beginning of the year, local turmoil and conflicts had occurred from time to time. Without stability, there could be no development; and without development, stability could not last long. The international community, developed countries in particular, while concerning themselves with the stability in Africa, should pay more attention to its development. They should help African countries lift themselves out of poverty and achieve a sustained economic growth. There were over 50 countries in Africa, accounting for about 50 per cent of the Non-Aligned Movement members and one third of the Member States of the United Nations, he continued. With abundant natural resources and great potential for economic development, Africa was an integral part of the world economy. There could be no world peace without stability in Africa, nor could there be prosperity in the world without the development of Africa.
While China heartily rejoiced over the positive changes in Africa, it was deeply concerned about the local turmoil and conflicts which had caused economic losses and suffering to its people, he said. China appealed to the parties in those African countries caught in civil strifes to focus on the fundamental interests of their countries and people, and settle the conflicts and disputes through peaceful consultation. All ethnic groups and tribes in Africa should strengthen their solidarity and work together for peace and development in their respective countries.
China supported African countries in choosing their own political system and their road to development, and oppose any external interference in the internal affairs of African countries, he said. It also supported the efforts made by African countries, the OAU, the Arab League and other regional organizations in Africa to solve regional conflicts through peaceful means. The international community, the United Nations included, should pay attention
Security Council - 8 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
to the African issue. Reasonable propositions and demands of African countries, including those of the OAU, the Arab League and other regional organizations, should be considered. The international community should support and coordinate with African countries in their efforts to safeguard regional peace and security, and fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of African countries. China supported the request for the Secretary-General to submit a report on resolving the problems now facing Africa.
China called for an early establishment of a just and equitable new international political and economic order, which created a good external environment for the stability and sustained development in Africa and ensured a lasting peace and development there, he said. As a permanent member of the Council, China had long attached importance to Africa. It had supported African countries in their just struggle for the maintenance of national independence, State sovereignty and territorial integrity, and in their efforts for economic rejuvenation and social progress. It had stood for the settlement of differences and conflicts within Africa through peaceful consultation, believing that African countries were fully capable of resolving their internal conflicts and disputes. China and African countries had made considerable progress in their friendly relations and cooperation. In the years to come, China would continue to unswervingly support the just propositions and reasonable demands of African countries, strengthen its friendly relations and cooperation with them and make its contribution to peace, stability and development in Africa.
FERNANDO NARANJO-VILLALOBOS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, said that his Government placed the utmost importance on the need to ensure the defence and promotion of all human rights. The Council should speak clearly and bluntly on that matter. Ideology, religion, disputes for political power or ethnic, racial, cultural or gender specificities should not be invoked as excuses to justify the violation of human rights and perpetuate impunity.
Despite progress in individual African countries, it was still disheartening to see the persistence of severe economic, social and political asymmetries in the continent, he said. Those asymmetries would not be overcome without the will of political leaders and the decisive support of the international community. That support must be offered unconditionally and with greater emphasis wherever it was needed for humanitarian reasons. In order to stimulate democratic consolidation and further greater participation of civil society in the decision-making processes, the international community should increase its support to those African countries that continued to make substantial progress in the respect of all human rights, in the war against public and private corruption, and in the processes of demilitarization and disarmament.
Security Council - 9 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
He reminded Members of measures that had been suggested by several international organs such as for the enhancement of the United Nations Registry of Conventional Arms, the prohibition to export weapons to those countries which did not declare their transfer to the United Nations, the prohibition on the sale of weapons to those countries which had not endorsed the main human rights, international humanitarian and disarmament treaties, and the prohibition on the provision of material, personnel, training, financial or logistical support to those countries whose military or security forces had participated or contributed to the violation of human rights.
Weapon-producing countries should be invited to exercise greater control of their exports to Africa. If the international community demanded a concerted strategy aimed at destroying the roots of drug trafficking in their countries of origin so as to lessen its impact in consuming societies, was it not morally imperative that the weapon producers and sellers, which were ultimately co-responsible for the instruments of death that every year killed or irreparably maim tens of thousands of innocent Africans, be called upon to exercise similar restraints? he asked.
The report of the Secretary-General on Africa expected in the coming months should be provided to the Assembly and other organs of the United Nations system, as well as private humanitarian organizations, he said. Only with such an integral and comprehensive perspective would it be possible to establish an effective strategy for the support of the African peoples and nations by the international community. To achieve the consolidation of peace in Africa, there must be a broad and deep programme of social and economic reconstruction, with the wide support of the international community, integrating the contribution of the non-governmental organizations.
AMRE MOUSSA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, said that at its present juncture Africa would benefit from the strengthening of security and stability and the promotion of peaceful resolution of African conflicts. Also urgently needed was a solution to the problem of refugees. Further required were the achievement of economic and social development and the enhancement of integration. The promotion of grass-roots participation in the democratization of African communities and respect for human rights were also needed.
Steps had already been taken in Africa, including the establishment of the OAU Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, he said. African subregional groups had made contributions in that regard. Indeed, African efforts had frequently preceded international endeavours to address several crises in Africa. Such developments made it imperative that the international community enhanced the role of the OAU. The OAU must be given political support, and material and technical capability to contribute to the resolution of conflicts and problems within the African context. Cooperation between the United Nations and the OAU must be fostered.
Security Council - 10 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
Noting initiatives of the United States, France and the United Kingdom to strengthen Africa's peacekeeping ability, he said that the primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security was that of the international community as represented by the Security Council. A partnership to enhance African countries participation in the shaping of a stable world order was needed; a partnership which addressed the root causes of crises and which focused on development.
Although African nations had enacted economic reform and structural adjustment programmes, Africa still suffered from increasing external debt, receding living standards, low-level health care and diminishing foreign investments, he said. Steps had been taken to establish the African Economic Community. However, a favourable international environment was needed for Africa's efforts to succeed. Mechanisms to implement and coordinate the existing initiatives of the international community were needed. Also, resources to implement existing initiatives must be mobilized. Africa was committed to democracy and respect for human rights. However, Africa needed support in its political, economic and social reform processes.
In seeking democracy at the international level, African nations supported the reform of the Security Council which would result in a more just representation of all regions, including Africa, as both permanent and non- permanent members, he said. Addressing the question of the sanctions against Libya, he called for an agreeable solution which would bring the suspects to trial while preserving the legitimacy of the Council.
HUBERT VEDRINE, Foreign Minister of France, reviewing the current situation on the African continent, said the pattern of reduction of international assistance to Africa was present at a time when Africa was engaged in the implementation of structural adjustment programmes. A continued reduction in the flow of international aid could exacerbate the tensions and crises in Africa. France would continue to express its long-time commitment to providing financial assistance to Africa.
While recent tragedies in Africa had produced great human suffering, some signs of hope could be seen, he continued. African nations had demonstrated their determination to prevent and settle conflicts in their countries. Regional groups, such as the OAU, continued to make valuable contributions, as did subregional organization. Those positive developments must be encouraged. Mechanisms must be put in place to enable the international community as a whole to coordinate its aid to African States and organizations for the strengthening of their peacekeeping capacity. In that spirit, the United States, United Kingdom and France had agreed to cooperate to strengthen African peacekeeping capacity.
However, helping Africa better resolve crises did not mean the international community should concurrently relinquish its responsibilities
Security Council - 11 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
with regard to the African continent, he said. The international community must become involved by more than declarations and must intervene immediately in crisis situations when there were conditions for an effective presence. France was working unremittingly to help prevent crises. More and more, his country favoured a multilateral approach to questions of security on the Africa continent. While maintaining the defence agreements which linked it to certain countries, it had refused to allow itself to be drawn into internal conflicts or to interfere in the internal affairs of its African partners.
The French policy was to support the rule of law, to support democracy and good governance, he said. Also, France was committed to supporting development, the key to stability and peace in Africa. France shared the policy expressed by the European Union, which was by far Africa's leading partner. France was adapting and modernizing its African policy, but it would not back out of its political commitments.
DELFIM DA SILVA, Foreign Minister and Minister for Cooperation of Guinea-Bissau, said major global changes had led to changes in Africa, which reflected the aspirations of its people to greater freedom and democracy. However, upheavals in Africa had led to tragic consequence and some African leaders had refused to comply with the rules of democracy and good governance. The principles of tolerance and respect for the rights of individuals were not yet firmly imbedded in the hearts and mind of all Africans. Serious problems facing the continent needed to be addressed seriously.
Noting consequences of recent conflicts in Africa, he asked why Africans must endure such hardships and atrocities. The international community must seek to understand the reasons for those problems and seek solutions. He called upon the Council to attempt to place the same value on each and every life and not to accept that suffering in Africa was inevitable.
The Security Council, with its responsibility for maintaining peace and security, had at times given the impression that it did not grasp the seriousness of a crisis in Africa and that it had not acted swiftly enough. Although the Council was empowered to impose coercive measures, such actions should have a time limit and should come under periodic review. Specifically, he called for a review of the situation in Libya.
First and foremost, it was up to African nations to protect the rights of its people, to protect democracy and to create conditions for economic development, he said. A lack of the state of law and economic development should be addressed by the international community, which should also encourage the emergence of pluralistic political systems.
Today's meeting confirmed the agreement on the seriousness of problems facing Africa, he said. Innovations were needed to create a machinery which would increase the capacity of African countries to settle conflicts. Above
Security Council - 12 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
all, Africa must be given the means to prevent conflicts through support of the OAU and subregional organizations. It was important to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to protect refugees and ensure their voluntary return. The rights of the individual must be respected and African countries must be encouraged to undertake economic reforms which would benefit their people.
KEIZO OBUCHI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said "how well we succeed in resolving the African problem will be a test of the effectiveness of the Security Council as the principal organ of the United Nations primarily responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security". The Council should more proactively involve itself in carrying out its role and assist in the endeavours of the African countries to prevent and resolve the conflicts in Africa. In that context, the reform of the Council, aimed at making it a more legitimate and effective organ to deal with those conflicts was urgent. It was essential that the Council sought close cooperative relations with regional and subregional organizations, such as the OAU.
It was with that in mind that Japan, in January of next year, would convene in Tokyo the International Conference on Preventive Strategy, focusing in particular on Africa, he said. He hoped that concrete recommendations might come out of the Conference for strengthening such cooperative relationships. He emphasized the importance of humanitarian assistance for refugees, displaced persons and others in the context of conflicts and renewed his Government's appeal that the parties involved fully respect the principles of international humanitarian law and ensure the safety of all personnel engaged in humanitarian activities.
Japan had taken the initiative for a "new development strategy" which was to be based on the recognition of ownership of the countries involved as well as a "genuine partnership" between them and industrialized countries, he said. It was a comprehensive strategy, to be carried out by donor countries including Japan, developing countries, the United Nations, the World Bank and all other partners on development issues. It sought to achieve development through an organic combination of ODA, trade, human resources development and other means. Japan would co-organize in the autumn of 1998, together with the United Nations and the Global Coalition for Africa (GCA), the Second Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD II), in which the participation of all of the African countries was anticipated at the ministerial level. The Conference would explore concrete ways in which the "new development strategy" could be applied to Africa.
He said the Council should give more attention to the interrelationship between conflict resolution and development. It should also explore a comprehensive approach to the conflicts in Africa to address issues relating to humanitarian assistance, as well as post-conflict reconstruction. That would require greater cooperation between the Council and other organs. He
Security Council - 13 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
hoped the Secretary-General would make concrete proposals soon on those matters. Based on those proposals, Japan would actively explore concrete ways to contribute to conflict resolution.
STEPHEN KALONZO MUSYOKA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Kenya, said African issues constituted about 65 per cent of the current work of the Council. The scourge of conflicts in Africa constituted the most urgent socio-political problems facing the continent. African governments recognized the dangers of those conflicts and had taken collective measures in the search for solutions. In so doing, they recognized the important role that the international community must play. African efforts had achieved some measure of success in Liberia, thanks to the support and cooperation of the international community. Africans would continue to rely on the support of the Council, which must be seen to play the leading role assigned to it in resolving conflicts the world over. The Council should adopt the same standard of urgency in reacting to conflicts in Africa as it did in other parts of the world.
He said the socio-economic situation in Africa has remained precarious despite the efforts of African countries to improve their people's lives. The situation was characterized by poverty and underdevelopment by all indicators. Per capita incomes were the lowest in the world and they continue to fall year by year. It is the only continent that was unable to feed its rising population without support from outside.
Despite its problems, African countries were making serious efforts to lay a solid foundation for their development, he said. At the regional level, a treaty for the economic integration of African economies had entered into force and the integration process was under way. At the same time, many governments were in the final stages of implementing far-reaching economic reforms. Those efforts required the support of the international community. Urgent and comprehensive action by the international community must be taken to address the serious socio-economic issues affecting Africa. Africa's relationship with the key players in the current economic world order must be redefined, including the Bretton Woods institutions which should re-examine their policies on Africa.
The relevance of the implementation of important decisions that have previously been made at United Nations conferences, could not be overemphasized, he said. He was concerned at the lack of compliance by developed countries with commitments previously made. Any attempts to implement the outcome of those commitments selectively or outside the framework within which they had been agreed upon should be avoided. The cooperation beween the United Nations and the OAU could be enhanced. Assembly resolutions on cooperation between the two organizations should be re-examined with a view to improving their implementation. The OAU resolutions on African issues need to be respected, he said.
Security Council - 14 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
DARIUSZ ROSATI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland, said the complex nature of African conflicts reduced the effectiveness of the measures applied by the United Nations and the OAU in their efforts to resolve them. The unique character of African crises called for the development of a concept of international assistance which would address their underlying causes. The Secretary-General's recommendations aimed at devising a plan to terminate civil wars in Africa should be based on the precise identification of the sources of conflict. The recommendations should also include a specific outline of modes of international assistance in the comprehensive reconstruction and rehabilitation of the destroyed administrative, economic and social infrastructure of countries affected by conflicts.
First and foremost what was needed was a vision of normality, which should be worked out primarily by the peoples of Africa themselves, he said. They would be well-advised to build on well-tested solutions, enriched with their specific local experience and traditions, bearing in mind that the respect for universally recognized standards of democracy, rule of law and basic human rights lay at the centre of contemporary international relations.
His Government welcomed the ongoing efforts to develop cooperation between the United Nations and the OAU, he continued. Regional and subregional efforts aimed at defusing tensions and terminating conflicts in Africa were also indispensable for the peaceful future of the continent. Regional actors were uniquely placed to provide countries and nations in trouble with timely advice and assistance. The peacekeeping capacity of African countries was one of the most important aspects of the regional potential to deal with conflicts and should be comprehensively developed. In addition, more should be made of the thorough observations contained in documents relating to African peacekeeping forces submitted to the Security Council by the Secretary-General and his predecessor.
Hopefully, the debate would give momentum to the process of freeing Africa of current conflicts and removing the potential for future ones, he said. That was necessary if many other vital problems of Africa were to be efficiently tackled. His Government believed that the presidential statement to be adopted at the conclusion of the meeting would significantly enhance prospects for terminating conflicts in Africa.
JAIME GAMA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Portugal, said his country had proposed at the European Union the holding of a Euro-African summit to establish, for the first time, a political dialogue at the highest level between the two continents. The main goal was to place Africa at the top of the international agenda as a continent whose dimension and economic potential deserved a new model of relations. Portugal, which had been taking part in several United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa, had founded with Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, and
Security Council - 15 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
Brazil a community of Portuguese-speaking States of 200 million, intended to increase cooperation.
The main priorities of the international community, he continued, should be to support initiatives aimed at preventing emerging conflicts in Africa as well as creating mechanisms that would establish the conditions necessary for their peaceful resolution. In so doing, certain elements should orient the international community's action. First, it was necessary to have the active association of African countries -- and their bodies such as the OAU -- in developing doctrines and concepts on which the initiatives would be based, and in implementing those mechanisms. In that context, the concept of "Africa ownership" was particularly suitable. But such a concept should not be used as a pretext to disengage from that continent. Rather, it should be used to help its nations acquire the means to play more effective roles in resolving their problems. That would help avoid "recourse to external solutions which have often brought to bear negative effects".
Second, he said, the Security Council should continue exercising fully its Charter responsibilities with regard to peacekeeping operations in cooperation with other United Nations organs and agencies. Third, the debate on African security, which had centred on technical and operational aspects, should be widened to include the question of peace-building. A formal peace, guaranteed by military forces, should be complemented by conditions that sustained material peace, freely accepted by the interested parties.
CHONG-HA YOO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, said conflict resolution in Africa required a comprehensive approach that took into account the complex range of causes and consequences of conflict in that region. Further efforts should be made to enhance coordination between the United Nations and the OAU, as well as with subregional organizations and arrangements. Such cooperation would enable the Council to draw on regional organizations'local expertise and resources. The Council should take into account the views of regional organizations regarding situations where they had a direct interest. The United Nations and regional arrangements should also concentrate more on crisis prevention. The international community also needed to continue helping regional organizations to strengthen their capacity for peacekeeping.
He said it was virtually impossible to provide effective relief and protection to refugees and internally displaced persons in an environment where the parties to conflict refused to respect the basic norms of international humanitarian law. He emphasized the importance of the ongoing efforts to establish an international criminal court. He looked forward to the study by the Secretary-General on how the international community could protect humanitarian assistance to refugees in conflict situations.
Security Council - 16 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
The international community should make a more resolute effort to stanch arms flows into conflict areas which increased humanitarian suffering and hinder conflict resolution, he said. In particular, it needed to ensure stricter compliance with the arms embargoes imposed by the Security Council vis-a-vis conflict areas in Africa. It should explore the possibility of creating a concrete mechanism to encourage the cooperation of neighbouring countries in the implementation of embargoes and the passage of domestic legislation to that end.
Consolidation of peace after conflicts have been resolved should be given high priority, he said. Post-conflict peace-building stood little chance of success if it was not supported by the continued monitoring and vigilance by the Council. The international community should emphatically support democracy whenever it was established, and highlight the importance of channelling ethnic and other differences into the democratic process. Regional efforts in the socio-economic fields deserved full support. He called for the creation of an enabling external environment by enhancing trade opportunities through improved market access, fostering greater domestic and foreign investment, and alleviating the debt burden. The Bretton Woods institutions could facilitate that effort by encouraging sound economic policy management and the construction of basic infrastructure.
He said the Republic of Korea had consistently and earnestly worked for peace and prosperity in Africa, both through its participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations in the region and through its contributions to humanitarian and development programmes, and would continue to do so.
YEVGENI PRIMAKOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said the Council's meeting proved the urgent need for a coordinated strategy to maintain peace and stability in Africa. The international community should admit that it had not yet reached the required level of effective response to conflicts of a new generation. Although such conflicts were mainly "internal" they could jeopardize regional peace and security. Moreover, in that sphere, there had been a negative experience of the international community's interference, as in the case of Somalia. Africans' readiness to resolve those internal conflicts should be supported by the international community.
The international community should think of how it could strengthen the role of African regional organizations, such as the OAU, both in peacemaking efforts and in preventive diplomacy, he said. It should consolidate interaction between the United Nations and the OAU. In that context, he welcomed the creation of mechanisms of collective action and mediation within the OAU and individual African regions. It was time, also, to discuss proposals on setting up a joint African force and other inter-State peacekeeping structures. To ensure the effectiveness of the nascent system,
Security Council - 17 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
its formation should follow a pattern that could be acceptable to Africans and the world community at large.
While it was important to consider the specific character of African problems, processes, traditions and customs, the international legal basis for peacemaking, including in Africa, should remain the Charter, Security Council decisions and relevant bilateral and multilateral agreements, he said. "No coercive actions -- neither sanctions, nor, certainly, military force -- should be taken by regional structures unless authorized by the Security Council", he continued. The Council, for its part could rely more on a coordinated opinion of Africans themselves in its search for solutions to the continent's problems. That referred, particularly, to the OAU documents concerning the situation around Libya. "I believe the OAU proposal on the Lockerbie case deserves attention", he said.
The Russian Federation, he said, approached the issues of cooperation with Africa and in Africa from the position of "open, equal and mutually beneficial partnership without diktat, ideological stereotypes or national bias". While the Russian Federation was ready to participate in international efforts to promote Africa's peacekeeping capability, "external assistance should complement rather than replace the steps to be taken by African States themselves".
LENA HJELM-WALLEN (Sweden) said Africans wanted equal treatment and not special treatment. That meant access to markets, cooperation with investors, exchange of experiences and cultural interaction. Her Government was preparing a new policy for Africa, based on partnership. In contrast to the international trend, Sweden's aid budget would increase substantially over the next three years, and its largest portion was allocated to Africa. Aid, among a series of instruments, should be used to enable African peoples to become masters of their own destiny.
An important part of the United Nation's role in Africa was to help countries to maintain and restore peace and human security, she said. Greater efforts must be directed at preventing armed conflicts. Conflict prevention should involve long-term measures to build an environment where disputes -- both between and within States -- were resolved peacefully. Essential factors of such a strategy included sustainable economic and social development, eradication of poverty, good governance, democracy and the respect for human rights. African governments shared with the rest of the world the responsibility to abide by international agreements, including those on matters such as humanitarian law and the respect for human rights.
The international community, including the Security Council, had an obvious responsibility in African crises, as it had in other parts of the world, she continued. The United Nations should study how its instruments, in cooperation with regional organizations, could be used more effectively to
Security Council - 18 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
prevent and solve conflicts. Only the Security Council could legally authorize the use of force, except for cases of self-defence. Her Government welcomed the joint efforts of the United Nations and the OAU in the Great Lakes region, particularly the nomination of joint Special Envoy Mohammed Sahnoun. Sweden was also pleased to see contacts between the UNHCR and the OAU on a new humanitarian framework for the Great Lakes region.
ROBIN COOK, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, said democracy was spreading in Africa and good government was taking strong root. However, the changes should not hide the real problems from the international community. Africa was the only continent where there had been no increase in per capita income. The truth was that Africa was the continent which would benefit least from the global economy. Indeed, some analysts claimed that sub-Saharan Africa would be a net loser under the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). It was no surprise that the continent with the least economic progress had produced the greatest conflicts.
All shared the same shock at the appalling atrocities that were occurring nightly in Algeria, he said. All roundly condemned such terrorism and called for improvement in the security of the lives of the ordinary people. It also must be acknowledged that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) package over the decade in Algeria had the effect of reducing the standard of living of many of its people. The war against terrorism must be fought on three points: better security; political mediation; and economic development.
There were also three ways in which the international community could be of help to Africa, he said. Africa needed international aid. The new Government in the United Kingdom was committed to reversing the decline in his country's aid. All bilateral donors, as members of the United Nations and international financial institutions must use all the instruments at their disposal to promote development in Africa.
The United Kingdom was pleased by the new determination of the OAU to tackle Africa's problems in conjunction with the United Nations, he said. The tragic recent history in the Great Lakes region had revealed how important and also how difficult it was to tackle those problems. The international community could not be complacent about the United Nations records. Historians would ask why the international community had not separated refugees from armed militia and allowed refugee camps to become bases for military adventures. The only answer which could be offered was that the international community would never again stand back in the face of genocide, nor should the international community ever condone mass murder. The bomb on the plane which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, had been intended to commit mass murder. As all in the Security Council travelled by air, that group above all people should not let airplanes become a vehicle for terrorism.
Security Council - 19 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
The two Libyan nationals must be brought to trial, he said. The United Kingdom welcomed the statement made by President Mugabe of Zimbabwe earlier in the meeting that the two suspects should be tried under Scottish law. But, the only place they could be tried under Scottish law was in Scotland. There was no legal authority for a court in the Netherlands to use Scottish law. Justice must be seen to be done. Justice will be carried out and the two would get a fair trial in Scotland. The charge sheet against the two Libyans was damning.
The compelling lesson from the recent history of Africa was that honest, open and democratic government was crucial to success, he said. Nigeria and the former Zaire had many resources. The main reason why their people lived in poverty was because of poor governance and self-interest on the part of those who had ruled those countries over the past years. He welcomed the growing pressure within Africa in support of human rights. The international community must work to ensure that the declarations of the United Nations, the OAU and the Commonwealth were observed by all. There were major challenges ahead. But with a genuine partnership, with the commitment of African governments and with the international community playing its part, the future could be bright for Africa.
MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT, Secretary of State of the United States, said in many African nations, difficult reforms were producing economic growth and progress towards democracy. New African leaders were quietly emerging with intense determination to create new African realities. They were determined "to replace autocracy and internal strife with democracy, stability and the rule of law; to battle poverty, corruption and despair instead of domestic rivals or hostile neighbours; to become engines of growth rather than outposts of isolation; and to stand before the international community not as supplicants, but as true equals".
The international community had a supporting role to play and must listen carefully to what African leaders and African citizens had to say about the challenges they faced and the solutions they favoured. The Security Council must be clear about what its own interests were, and about what it was prepared to do to help Africans to guide change in directions that created new opportunities for their people. The Council was requesting that the Secretary-General report on how the international community could better identify sources of conflict, prevent or resolve them, and help Africans lay the groundwork for peace and prosperity. The United States urged support for the Secretary-General's reform proposals, which provide an important opportunity for the United Nations to better use its resources to address security, humanitarian and development needs in Africa, she continued. The starting point was peace and security, the Council's traditional responsibility, but it should take the current opportunity to look at the broad picture of its interactions with Africa. Today, the greatest threats to peace in Africa were posed by civil strife caused by ethnic tensions or by a
Security Council - 20 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
straightforward competition for resources and power. Those threats were aggravated by the lack, in some societies, of strong and representative institutions of government and by economic prospects so poor that hope was starved and desperation fed. In that environment, a security strategy must include political, economic an humanitarian components. But to implement those components, a climate of relative safety must be established and maintained. The United Nations was central to meeting those challenges through its peacekeeping operations, good-offices missions, and emergency relief programmes. Throughout Africa, she continued, the United States supported the OAU's role in preventing and responding to crises, and was assisting its plan to build a conflict-management centre and improve its ability to react quickly to emergencies. She urged the Secretary-General to strengthen the ties between the United Nations, the OAU and Africa's regional security organizations in recognition of the work they are doing. The United States was also working, in partnership with Africans and donors, to enhance the ability of African nations to respond when peacekeeping was needed. this was a capacity-building initiative, with long-term goals, openly conducted and aimed solely at preventing, ending and alleviating the consequences of conflict. The United States would welcome the Secretary-General's ideas on improving the overall response of the international community to complex humanitarian emergencies in Africa, including the transition from crisis to development.
She said the international community should pay special attention to lessons learned during the past four years in the Great Lakes region and consider steps for ensuring that refugee camps were not used as a safe haven for war criminals or as a base for military operations; and for achieving justice and accountability in the aftermath of large-scale violations of human rights. The Secretary-General should outline a comprehensive approach for the issues still confronting the Great Lakes: preventing further conflict and promoting human rights, democratization and reconstruction. In shaping his ideas, the United States urged the Secretary-General to consult closely with leaders in the region and to encourage a spirit of mutual respect and mutual responsibility. There could be no compromise on the situation regarding Libya, she said.
In the case of PAN AM 103, the responsibility for the impact of the Council's decisions on the Libyan people did not rest with the Security Council but instead with the Libyan Government. The international community must be in full compliance with the terms of the relevant Security Council resolutions.
The primary impetus for economic growth must come from the private sector, requiring strategies to make indigenous investment rewarding and foreign investment welcome. It required privatization, more open markets and regulatory and financial reform. It required efforts to improve education, training and health care, so that all people, men and women, may reach their
Security Council - 21 - Press Release SC/6420 3819th Meeting (AM) 25 September 1997
potential. Last year, the United States contributed more than $1.5 billion in direct humanitarian and development aid, plus another $1 billion through multilateral organizations, such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank. It was no accident that Africa's current economic upturn was paralleled by a growing embrace of democratic principles.
Today, more than half of the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa had leaders chosen in elections that were deemed by international observers to have been free and fair, she said. That was important politically and economically, because development depended on people. Free elections were a necessary part of democracy, but they were not sufficient in themselves. The United States was committed to working with Africa and the international community to help develop durable and effective democratic institutions, such as legislative assemblies, judiciaries and an independent press.
In closing, she announced her plans to visit the African continent before the end of the year, to meet with its leaders and people and to demonstrate America's commitment to stand with Africans as they realized long-delayed aspirations for true freedom, growing prosperity and simple human dignity.
* *** *