15 December 1999


Press Release
SC/6771



FIFTY SPEAKERS, INCLUDING SECRETARY-GENERAL, ADDRESS SECURITY COUNCIL DURING DAY-LONG OPEN MEETING ON SITUATION IN AFRICA

19991215

Secretary-General Calls for More Effective Engagement, Better Coordination Between Council, African Regional Organizations

The Security Council should avoid the appearance of sporadic or rhetorical reactions to crises in Africa without follow-up, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said this morning, during an open Council debate on the situation in that continent. After adopting a resolution, the Council must remain fully engaged and support its implementation, he said.

The first of 50 speakers in the day-long meeting, Mr. Annan said that, although the United Nations could hardly be more broadly engaged in Africa, it needed to be engaged more effectively. In a statement that was echoed by many subsequent speakers, he said better coordination was needed between the Council and African regional and subregional organizations. Although peacekeeping had acquired a strong regional dimension, it was not fair to ask Africans to carry out peacekeeping tasks without help. Further, the Council should consider as a matter of urgency how regional operations could be more efficiently financed. The United Nations itself had difficulties financing its own peacekeeping operations through voluntary contributions. It should be one of the Council's highest priorities to find better ways of funding peacekeeping operations.

The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, Peter Hains, who was also President of the Council at today’s meeting, said the Council should create a mechanism to study how to achieve better coordination between the Council and the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The Secretary-General and his team must have full political support with the right resources to deliver quick and efficient action. Furthermore, resolutions must be enforceable, he said.

The representative of China voiced the concern of several delegates that the purposes and principles of the Charter be followed in any Council action. The representative of France added that finances should not constrain an operation. The cost of a peacekeeping operation should be a result, not a prerequisite.


Security Council - 1a - Press Release SC/6771 4081st Meeting (AM & PM) 15 December 1999

The representative of Zambia said the parties affected by decisions under consideration by the Council needed to be involved in its consultations. He hoped meetings such as today's were not symbolic, but that the Council would listen to what was being said by visitors.

Many speakers focused on what they perceived as the Council's hesitancy to act in resolving crises in Africa, as opposed to its actions in other parts of the world. Prompt action was critical, they said. The representative of South Africa said the Council's action in the Democratic Republic of the Congo would be a litmus test. If the Congo fell apart, he said, it would not be an African failure; it would be an international failure.

Rwanda's representative said the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was a legacy of the international community's failure to intervene in Rwanda. The Council should intervene now and get the Lusaka Agreement implemented. When the international community came to terms with its past failures, it would be able to prevent the occurrence of future conflicts.

In his summation of the meeting, the Council President said the views expressed today, particularly those of African Members, had sent a clear message. Many speakers had stressed the crucial importance of preventative action to address root causes of conflict. There were calls for a greater focus on AIDS, economic development, and the need to ensure the rights of minorities and genuine power sharing in divided societies to prevent conflict.

Also speaking in today's meeting were the representatives of the United States, Canada, Argentina, Netherlands, Malaysia, Bahrain, Gabon, Gambia, Russian Federation, Brazil, Namibia, Slovenia, Algeria, Cameroon, Finland (for the European Union and associated States), Libya, Republic of Korea, Nigeria, Japan, Ukraine, Egypt, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bangladesh, India, New Zealand, Bahamas, Kenya, Colombia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Norway, Indonesia, Sweden, Ireland, Belgium, Portugal, Italy and Spain.

The meeting began at 10:21 a.m., suspended at 1:20 p.m., resumed at 3 p.m. and adjourned at 6:17 p.m.


Council Work Programme

The Security Council met this morning for an open debate on the situation in Africa.

The Council last met on the item on 30 September, when it concluded a two- day debate on the implementation of recommendations made by the Secretary- General in his report on the causes of conflict and the promotion of a durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (document S/1998/318). In the course of that debate, the Council heard from 54 speakers, including the Secretaries- General of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Speakers expressed concern that the Council used a double standard when addressing the situation in Africa, spending significantly more on quelling disputes and taking care of refugees in the Balkans, than on war and its victims in Africa.

Also, a number of speakers expressed the concern that the development of African peacekeeping capacities should not be an excuse for the Council to abdicate its responsibilities. Other issues addressed included: the perceived neglect of scientific and technological research in the areas of health; foreign debt servicing; poverty; falling commodity prices; increasing protectionism; and declining official development assistance (ODA). Many speakers emphasized that peace and development were inextricably linked.

In May 1998, the Council established an ad hoc working group to study the Secretary-General's recommendations and submit proposals. On 16 September of that year, acting on the working group's proposals, the Council encouraged Member States to consider adopting legislation making the violations of arms embargoes established by the Council a criminal offence (resolution 1196 (1998)).

Two days later the Council urged the Secretary-General to assist in establishing an early-warning system in the OAU and strengthening that body's conflict management centre (resolution 1197 (1998)). It also urged him to help establish a "Council of Elders" within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Mechanism for the Prevention, Management of Conflict, Peacekeeping and Security to facilitate mediations efforts. In resolution 1209 (1998), the Council encouraged African States to enact legislation on the domestic use of arms, to implement such laws and to implement import and export controls.

In September of this year, The President of Zambia, who had chaired a year-long regional mediation effort to achieve a ceasefire agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, briefed the Council on the situation in Africa. He reiterated the perception that the United Nations, and in particular the Security Council, was usually slow and reluctant to support peace efforts in Africa.

Statements

PETER HAIN, the President of the Council and Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, said the Secretary-General's report last year had analysed the problems of Africa. Today's focus should be on practical responses, examining how African peacekeeping could be carried out more effectively; and what additional instruments the Council could bring to bear to help solve and, where possible, prevent conflicts in Africa.

Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN said the United Nations could hardly be more broadly engaged in Africa. What was needed now was for it to be engaged more effectively. Better coordination was needed between the Council and regional and subregional organizations, particularly in peacekeeping. Peacekeeping had in the past decade acquired a strong regional dimension, but it was not fair to expect Africans to carry out peacekeeping tasks without help. Africa was entitled to expect help in strengthening its regional and subregional institutions.

The Secretariat was doing what it could, he said. It had strengthened its cooperation with the OAU, and was working especially closely with them in helping to implement the Lusaka Accord in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If the results had been disappointing, it was partly lack of will and also a question of resources. Thus, one of the most immediate and practical decisions he sought from the Council was to act promptly in the case of the Democratic Republic before the fragile ceasefire was eroded further. It was no less urgent that the necessary resources be made available to the Joint Military Commission, so that it could to play the role envisaged for it under the Lusaka Accord.

The Council should consider as a matter of urgency how regional operations could be more fairly and efficiently financed, he said. Wherever responsibility was assigned, it was crucial that adequate resources also be provided. Regional and subregional organizations in Africa simply did not have those resources at present. They were obliged to finance their peacekeeping through trust funds, and those did not attract donations to the extent needed. The United Nations itself was not much better placed when it was told to finance its operations through voluntary contributions. Increasing resort to that practice was contrary to the Charter. It should be one of the Council’s highest priorities to find better ways of funding peacekeeping operations.

The Council should avoid giving the appearance of sporadic or rhetorical reactions to crises in Africa without follow-up, he continued. The Council, upon adopting a resolution, must remain fully engaged in following up and supporting its implementation. One way to do that would be to use contact groups of interested members, who would undertake to follow through on proposed action on specific conflicts. At times it might be appropriate to establish a joint working group, bringing together members of the Council, the Secretariat and the relevant regional or subregional organizations. That would be particularly appropriate in cases where there was need to ensure that decisions, such as the deployment of peacekeeping troops, were implemented with minimum delays. Another working group which could be useful was one that brought together members interested in a particular aspect of conflict prevention.

The Council could also consider holding meetings, perhaps alternately at Headquarters and in Africa, to establish closer and more regular contact between it and the chiefs and staff of various regional and subregional organizations, he said. Also, many of the ideas that had emerged from last month’s debate on conflict prevention might be particularly useful in Africa, such as missions with clear goals undertaken by the Council itself.

While the above suggestions were not dramatic, they could -– implemented consistently over time -– make a real and perceptible difference in the quality of the United Nations work for peace and security in Africa, he said.

Mr. HAIN, the President of the Council and Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of his country, said a better partnership between the United Nations and the OAU was needed. Also, regular consultations between the Security Council, and the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the OAU were necessary. There should be better coordination between the Council and the office of the OAU, both in New York and in Addis Abbaba. He proposed that the Council create a mechanism to study how to achieve such coordination.

Continuing, he said there needed to be better prevention, so that African problems did not turn into conflicts. The Council also needed to enhance its ability to monitor trouble spots and consider what more could be done to enhance OAU conflict prevention mechanisms.

He said the international community needed better peacekeeping operations when prevention failed. Why did it take six months to get the United Nations moving in Sierra Leone? he asked. The Secretary-General and his team must have full political support, with the right resources. The Secretariat must be able to deliver quick and efficient action. Moreover, resolutions must be enforceable. The United Nations had failed to enforce agreed sanctions resolutions in Angola. Now was the time to make sanctions bite. Far too many government officials were corrupt and benefiting from illegal diamond trades. He urged diamond companies to follow the example of De Beers.

QIN HUASUN (China) said the Council should take more concrete action to support African regional organizations. Moreover, the Council could invite the permanent representative of the Chairman of the month of the OAU to brief the Council, as appropriate, on a monthly basis.

The general principle to be observed was obvious; that was that the purposes and principles of the Charter should be followed, he said. In contemplating peacekeeping operations in Africa, the views of the countries concerned should be sought before taking a decision. Lack of security on the ground was not an excuse for a negative approach. Further, the lack of sufficient funds should not be a factor. He called on the countries who were in arrears for assessed peacekeeping contributions to pay in a prompt, full and unconditional manner.

Referring to peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone, he said Security Council action had not been prompt. The Council had also been hesitant in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, thus giving rise to suspicions about a double standard. Greater political will was needed. He recalled that the Council had dispatched a mission to East Timor to study the situation on the ground. That effort had been well received by all concerned. He suggested that the Council dispatch similar missions to Africa.

He went on to say that the Council must find a new means to improve its work and to make further efforts to tap existing resources. The methods of the Chairman of the Sanctions Committee on Angola merited attention and study. The course of African conflicts was complex. Attempts to study roots and causes should be examined in a balanced manner. The Council should strengthen its exchanges and cooperation with other organs of the United Nations.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE (United States) said a central problem was the spread of HIV/AIDS. The Secretary-General had been stressing the issue for years. It was more than a health issue; it was a security issue, an economic issue, and a problem that would not go away. It was a legitimate part of the Council’s discussions. The destigmatization of AIDS must be focused on. Of the 10 countries he had visited recently, only Uganda was fully on board in that regard.

On the wars of Africa, he said he would comment on the Democratic Republic of the Congo tomorrow. He was delighted that Nelson Mandela was taking over on Burundi. On Angola, the United States was going to redouble its efforts on sanctions. The Secretary-General had said more attention was needed by the Council on Africa. The United States would use next month, when it was President of the Council, to emphasize Africa. It would build on the meetings of today and tomorrow to have an intense series of public and private Council meetings that would focus heavily on the problems of the region. He hoped that high-level representatives from capitals would join those discussions next month, and that real achievements would result.

ROBERT FOWLER (Canada) welcomed the call for specific and focused action. As President of the Angolan Sanctions Committee, he intended to have the report of the expert group presented to the Council by March or April. He hoped it would contain recommendations for specific actions. While Africa absorbed much of the Council’s time, little had been achieved in terms of concrete results. There had been devolution of responsibility for conflict mediation and resolution to the OAU and subregional organizations, often with little regard for their real capacity. The Council must focus on effective partnerships based on a realistic understanding of strengths and weaknesses, and effective sharing of the burdens.

Given the growing importance of the OAU’s work on peace and security, there should be closer cooperation with it, he said. That could include closer contact between the Council President and the Secretary-General of the OAU. He welcomed Mr. Annan’s initiatives aimed at increasing cooperation between the two bodies, particularly regarding information exchange, and encouraged the two Secretaries-General to continue such cooperation. But, no amount of United Nations collaboration with other entities would make peace possible in the absence of will on the part of the parties themselves, he added.

The United Nations’ capacity to plan, deploy and manage peacekeeping must be improved, he said. Canada had been working for six years towards that goal without success. Also, mandates must be sufficiently supported with resources, and be robust enough to be successful. Voluntary trust funds for such purposes did not work. Multinational forces were not equitable in the burden they placed on countries. There was a system that worked -– assessing for peacekeeping -– and it should be used. The Council should give careful consideration to early warning indicators and be prepared to act before war broke out. The challenge was not so much one of seeking new instruments; rather, it was to make the existing ones work more efficiently. The multiplicity of factors must be considered in a timely fashion. The Council must also explore deterrent measures. Existing sanctions must be made to work.

ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said there must be improved relations between the Council and regional and subregional organizations in Africa. Part of the difficulty was that people turned to the Council at a late stage of a problem and the Council was not sufficiently prepared to act. The Council should invite regional representatives for consultations at key stages. That applied in particular to the Secretary-General of the OAU. What had been done for the Economic Community of West African States’ Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG) in Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau had not been enough. Preference should be given to peacekeeping organizations, to make financing obligatory, rather than voluntary.

He said a first priority was to train regional units, so that they were prepared for peacekeeping operations. In addition, the United Nations itself must be prepared to act quickly. By its resolution on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Council had asked the Secretariat to be prepared in advance. It should continue along those lines. The international community could not continue to deplore a lack of action and then deny any innovation.

The financial dimension should not constrain an operation, he said. The cost should be a result and not a prerequisite. The best way to end a conflict was to prevent it. In the political sphere, power-sharing should be encouraged, so that the rights of minorities were protected. Everyone should send the same message about power-sharing. It was a fact that 75 per cent of the least developed countries were located in Africa. They must be helped. He agreed that the campaign against AIDS required assistance and solidarity.

All of the efforts being discussed must be acted on in concrete cases, he added. Decisions in the weeks to come, particularly regarding the Democratic Republic of the Congo, would demonstrate if the Council really intended to follow up on its resolutions.

FERNANDO ENRIQUE PETRELLA (Argentina) said it was essential to maintain regular dialogue between the secretariats of the United Nations and of the OAU in terms of decision-making and preparation. That could be done through a number of means, including private and open briefings and meetings. It would be positive to have the presence of Nelson Mandela with respect to Burundi. All positive applications of Chapter VIII of the Charter should be explored.

The lack of resources was an important issue, he said. Voluntary contributions were important, but could not replace regular funding, which was needed for consistency and predictability. On the issue of conflict prevention, there were instruments the Council could keep in mind, including the application of sanctions, if necessary, when a conflict was in the early stages. But the civilian population, which was the primary victim in conflicts, should not be victimized by sanctions as well. Fact-finding missions were another possible useful instrument, but no diplomatic instrument would be effective if the roots of conflicts -– social and economic problems -– were not recognized. The end of the cold war created conditions conducive to economic development, but the economic was global and politics were local. There was need for coordination in peacekeeping, and peace-building and in prevention among the Council, the Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Bretton Woods institutions.

PETER VAN WALSUM (Netherlands) said that while some African delegations would welcome an open meeting on Africa, others would be bound to regard it as a sham, a substitute for the effective involvement that Africa so desperately needed. Plenty of statements to that effect had been made during the informal consultations. The notorious double standard was a big problem. For its part, his country “puts its money where its mouth is”. The money on Kosovo had not affected its total contribution to Africa. Nor had there been any slackening in its involvement in African projects, such as contributions to ECOMOG in Sierra Leone and to the Arusha process in Burundi.

Continuing, he said his country should not be blamed for its involvement in Kosovo, as the former Yugoslavia was its backyard and its security was at stake in that part of the world. Now, because of globalization, ever more Dutchmen were beginning to view Africa as their region as well. The days that humanitarian catastrophes in Africa had been viewed as faraway occurrences were over, and those who claimed that the international community stood ready to intervene in Kosovo and East Timor while ignoring the African continent had overlooked certain facts.

The United Nations had deployed more peacekeeping operations in Africa than in any other single region, he said. Of the 32 operations launched between 1989 and 1998, 13 were deployed there. Yet, many in the room might argue that 13 peacekeeping operations could not match the scale, speed and cost of the actions in Kosovo and East Timor, and that actions of that magnitude were apparently only possible in Europe or in Asia. Those were exceptional circumstances, however, and had been far from the norm for collective action in both Europe and Asia.

The air strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had been launched without a specific Security Council mandate. Even the countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s had hoped that such actions could have been avoided. On the other hand, it was hard to imagine that their parliaments would have approved the strikes if they had not witnessed eight years of ethnic cleansing at the hands of Slobodan Milosevic, first in Krajina and East Slavonia, then in Bosnia and finally, in Kosovo. The situation in East Timor had also not been typical. After a long stalemate, the international community had been greatly relieved at a negotiated settlement.

In Africa, certain circumstances had made such actions more difficult, he said, including the absence of a central authority or inter-ethnic strife. Ethnic rivalry was an exceptionally intractable problem. The historic decision of the OAU in 1963 to accept the boundaries inherited from the colonial authorities had left Africa with secure borders, but also with ethnically heterogeneous States. A logical sequel to that decision might be to devise workable African models of multi-ethnicity. Such help need not interfere in a country’s domestic affairs, but could complement the inviolability of borders -- a legitimate suggestion since most of the conflicts in Africa raged within sovereign States

HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said he agreed with what he had heard so far. Much of it had been said before. What was needed was more follow-up by the Council, the Secretariat and the OAU. Some questions had been raised by Council members, which should be aired here. Was there sufficient flow of information between the United Nations and the OAU? he asked. Some Council members had the notion that the Council did not know exactly what Africa wanted from it. It was unclear whether the Council was lagging or was being too intrusive. Further, there was the perception of selectivity and lack of interest in African affairs. Some Council members believed the Council did not intervene equitably. Was that due to the number of conflicts in Africa, or because they had gone on for so long? Those questions had been asked by Council members.

In the case of Somalia, there seemed to be a reticence to rush and resolve the problem, he said. But, the time had come for the Council to re-engage in Somalia and other parts of Africa, having learned from past mistakes. The Council must dispel the notion of double standards. On the question of greater interaction between the two organizations, he said he would welcome the Secretary-General of the OAU addressing the Council. Complementarity must be ensured.

JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) said Africans felt they were ignored by their brethren in the United Nations, and he sympathized with that feeling. African items constituted more than 50 per cent of the Council's agenda. Cooperation and coordination between the Council and the OAU must be increased. The participation of the Secretary-General of the OAU should be considered important in settling conflicts in Africa. It was also necessary to increase cooperation and coordination between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council to resolve economic problems. Africa’s resources were not fully exploited for many reasons, and the United Nations could assist in resolving those problems.

He said there was a possibility of sending United Nations observers to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He suggested a permanent trust fund to cover immediate deployments to African conflicts while Security Council consideration was taking place. However, the trust fund would not be an alternative to a peacekeeping organization.

He said that if the practical steps proposed by the Secretary-General were implemented, they would contribute to solving the problems on the African continent. He hoped the Council would take steps to implement those recommendations.

DENIS DANGUE REWAKA (Gabon) said Chapter VIII of the Charter, on regional agreements, set the legal framework for cooperation between the United Nations and other entities. Since the 1965 adoption of the agreement between the United Nations and the OAU, several other agreements had been added to strengthen that cooperation. The diagnosis of ills besetting Africa was well known. It was time to seek remedies. He paid tribute to the United Nations Secretariat for its efforts to translate agreement into concrete actions. Resolution 1197 (1998) and Presidential statement S/PRST/1998/28 spelled out measures which, if implemented, would have a real impact on preventing and settling conflicts in Africa and would enhance cooperation between the two organizations. The two texts, among other things, stressed: the appointment of joint envoys; the need to bolster and make use of United Nations trust funds to improve African countries’ capacity to prepare and participate in peacekeeping; and support to regional organizations to help them acquire the support they needed.

African countries were increasingly driven to undertake peacekeeping missions involving high cost, he continued. They needed enhanced logistical and financial support to undertake their tasks. The Council should break with the tendency towards procrastination in setting up peacekeeping operations. There was need to avoid creating a vacuum or gap between signing agreements and deploying missions, so as not to allow the parties to resume hostilities. Regarding African early warning mechanisms, those must be given financial means, cooperation from all, and rapid action. Preventing conflict also meant ensuring respect for arms embargoes, particularly those involving light weapons. The existing embargoes must be put into effect.

BABOUCARR-BLAISE ISMAILA JAGNE (Gambia) said Africa suffered from policy neglect. He was happy to note that the United Kingdom and the United Nations would support the continent’s renaissance. The Secretary-General’s report on the causes of conflict in Africa had given rise to important Council resolutions and statements, including resolution 1196 of 16 September on arms embargoes. The legal framework was in place to improve coordination and cooperation between the Council and the OAU. There were a number of ways to do that. He noted the establishment of a United Nations preventive action liaison office in the OAU, and that the Secretary-General had called for ways to consider making that office more effective. Encouraging joint special representatives was a means to strengthen cooperation between the two organizations, as was the exchange of visits of staff. On the issue of how to make African peacekeeping more effective and timely, he recalled the presidential statements recently issued on that matter. Contributions to voluntary trust funds in that area could be encouraged and logistics assessments teams established. Measures were needed to enforce embargoes; the violation of arms embargoes could become a criminal offence. The success of Africa was vital to international interests. Africa’s success would benefit the global environment and economy and remove markets for terrorism that threatened the West.

SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said that while a key role in resolving problems in Africa belonged to Africans themselves, African efforts must be fully strengthened by the international community. It was important to discuss the complementarity of African efforts. A key component was the promotion of a pan-African system and a post-conflict mechanism. A real opportunity could be found in the application of Article 65 of the Charter on cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic and Social Council.

He supported the establishment of a trust fund to enhance the ability of meeting difficulties in Africa. He proposed that the parties think together to strengthen the role of African organizations, such as the OAU. Peacekeeping activities must be based on full observance of the principles of the Charter. There should be no action without Council authorization. In turn, Africans could rely more on themselves in dealing with conflicts. He hoped that there would be a reform in the approaches to finding an adequate reaction for specific conflicts.

His Government was open-minded on the situation in Africa, he said. He emphasized that outside assistance should be in addition to -- not a replacement of -- steps taken by Africans themselves.

GELSON FONSECA Jr. (Brazil) said the accumulated record of United Nations involvement in peacekeeping and conflict prevention in Africa was a mixture of success, resounding failures, absolute indifference, frustrated attempts, renewed hopes, and repeated manifestations of a “distant and cautious” interest. Each crisis had its own dynamics and each was unique in its own complexities, but all had fit in the general pattern of historical legacies, internal and external factors, economic motives and others. The response of the United Nations had necessarily ranged broadly from peacemaking to peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and post-conflict peace-building.

He said that despite theoretical elaboration and the available means with which to intervene, inaction and insufficient support had characterized the resolution of conflict in Africa. The “ghosts of failure” and a sentiment of “chronic impotence” seemed to permanently haunt those efforts. Success and failure had depended primarily on the degree of political will, both internally -- from the opposing parties in a conflict, and externally -- from public opinion and the international community. Two key issues naturally flowed from that reasoning: how to generate political will for peacemaking efforts and peacekeeping operations; and how to deal systematically with the many dimensions and root causes of conflict situations.

Both questions had implied the need for improved cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional players in developing a common strategy to address the specific nature of a conflict. It was also necessary to go beyond the realms of the Security Council to develop a consistent response to the challenges of conflict prevention. In that regard, a more active involvement of the Council in peacemaking should be promoted, and the Council should resort increasingly to missions in conflict areas, bearing in mind that the first tool in conflict prevention was diplomacy. Among other ideas, the peacemaking efforts of eminent persons should be encouraged, as well as the regular participation of the Secretary-General and leaders of the OAU and subregional groups in Council meetings.

MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) said that with the Council at the risk of losing credibility in Africa, there was need for innovation in addressing African issues. On the question of how to meet the needs of African peacekeeping more effectively, he said peacekeeping in Africa should not be treated differently than in other parts of the world. The size and magnitude of the operation should respond only to the size and magnitude of the conflict, not its location. The Secretary-General and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations should be viewed as complementary to the Council. The Secretary-General and the Council were not in competition.

Timely intervention was crucial to avoid escalation of conflicts, he said, emphasizing that Council members must demonstrate the requisite political will. But resources were also needed. While trust funds were useful, they should not replace regular funding. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, if decisive action had been taken at the start of the conflict, the international community would not be faced with the humanitarian crisis of today. Even now there was “foot-dragging”. Excuses for inaction could be found but everyone knew the situation would deteriorate further. In fact, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was a test case for the Council. Words alone would not help, there was need for action and resources.

“When Africa speaks asking for help, the Security Council should listen”, he said. That should involve cooperation and coordination between the Council and the OAU. The Council would always benefit from exchange of views with the OAU. Cooperation should also be enhanced with subregional organizations, which needed support. In addition, the Council should make use of the Secretary- General’s good offices, including his special envoys. Eminent African personalities should be enlisted. But, in the end, it was political will that was needed. The Council must signal that it now meant business, and that it was time for action. For example, the situation in Angola had been going on for a long time. The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) was getting support from some Member States, who were supposed to ensure the full implementation of the sanctions imposed by the Security Council. Those who supported UNITA must be exposed and shamed. He looked forward to the report by the panels in February and hoped the Council would act appropriately in that regard.

SAMUEL ZBOGAR (Slovenia) despite all of the work so far undertaken on the subject, further action was undoubtedly necessary. It was especially important to improve inter-institutional cooperation, in particular the cooperation among the United Nations, the OAU and subregional organizations. The Council had consistently supported such efforts and was prepared to enhance the effectiveness of its support. A good example of that preparedness had been the recent deployment of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Sierra Leone. Such involvement had been important for a number of reasons.

Only several years ago, he said, Sierra Leone had been used as a prime example of the so-called “coming anarchy” in the world and as an excuse for complacency in addressing African crises. The current successful cooperation between the United Nations and ECOWAS in Sierra Leone had gone a long way towards dispelling what the Secretary-General had referred to as “Afro- pessimism”. The Council, in cooperation with Member States and the parties on the ground, must ensure that the peace process in Sierra Leone was successfully concluded.

He said the imposition of sanctions had required further specific action by the Council. Indeed, the majority of sanctions had been directed against African countries or specific African groups. Especially important were efforts aimed at implementing arms embargoes and curbing the illicit arms flows to and within Africa. In that connection, the indefatigable efforts of Ambassador Robert Fowler (Canada) to facilitate a political solution to the Angolan crisis, by limiting the ability of UNITA to pursue the war option, had provided important innovations for the Council’s work. Expanding the demands of sanctions policies would further burden the Secretariat. Thus, due attention should be given to the expansion of such resources.

Turning to the Presidential statement issued on 30 November concerning the Council’s readiness to consider preventive action on matters that threatened international peace and security, he said the Council could take the first step in implementing its elements. Concerning the invitation to the Secretary- General to present periodic reports on disputes, including early warnings and proposals for preventive measures, the Council could engage in dialogue with the OAU and others on the substance of such activities and ways to determine the preventive mechanisms that would best serve a particular situation.

ABDELKADER MESDOUA (Algeria), Chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) for December, said he could not help but express his frustration with the Security Council, whose attitude towards Africa had been characterized by a lack of interest while at the same time responding rapidly in other areas of the world.

He said that for some years, the Africans' priority had been to prevent and resolve conflicts. However, if Africa had decided to take hold of itself and assume its responsibility, that did not mean that the international community was relieved of its responsibility. Africa had always called for the establishment of close-knit cooperation with the Council. In such circumstances, the OAU could contribute to the settlement of conflicts and the Council would lend its support to that effort.

The proposal of the Peacekeeping Department to establish an office to support the African machinery for problem-solving and to develop their capacities for peacekeeping was supported by Africans. Its establishment would help to build greater cooperation and should be based on regular consultation between the OAU and the Council. The Council could obtain the OAU's opinion on the best way to deal with an African situation.

He said preventative action from the Council should be further strengthened. To be effective, any United Nations initiative to prevent conflict on the continent should adhere to the principles of the Charter. As in any act to maintain peace, the cooperation of the countries involved was necessary.

Prompt reaction of the Council was critical, he continued. The Council should respond to peace agreements on the continent by deploying peacekeeping missions. Attention should be given to the traffic in small arms and light weapons. They had an impact on the viability of the peace process.

He said he supported the proposal for a fund for conflict prevention and peace-building activities. Innovative methods of financing could be discussed.

MARTIN BELINGA-EBOUTOU (Cameroon), speaking for the African Group, said the Council’s current initiative was promising in several respects. It fell within the context of the debate in the General Assembly, on 8 December, on the Secretary-General’s report on Africa, and kept Africa at the centre of the Council’s debate. The problems of African countries had been discussed in the Council, but the results had been meagre and disappointing. Today a new and global vision was being proposed, involving Africa as a partner. The interactive debate had the merit of giving the Council credibility in African opinion and he hoped the debate would be the beginning of the end of the “dual standard approach”. Africa was the part of the world most marked by armed conflict, but that was not a preordained role. Africa refused that role.

Each subregion had already or was now setting up structures to prevent and resolve conflicts, he said. It was necessary to ask whether partnership was possible, and, if so, in what spheres and through what means. Were additional instruments needed? he asked. Partnership was essential for several reasons. The immensity of Africa’s wealth attracted covetousness, which often was a factor in conflict. Further, African conflicts often had effect on international political security. Also, the geo-political weight of Africa was obvious. Maintaining peace involved conflict prevention and thus preventive diplomacy. But it also involved activities including peacekeeping missions. All the Council’s actions, if they were to be successful, must involve Africa, and be deployed with full African cooperation.

After reviewing the various regional mechanisms for maintaining peace and security, he said they all had a single objective: to demonstrate that Africa was a capable partner. He envisaged two additional mechanisms. The first would be a financial instrument, to be used for purposes including supporting peace agreements, as was done in other parts of the world. Second, the Council should consider appointing an African coordinator alongside the Secretary-General, to act as an interface between the Secretary-General and the leaders for the continent.

DUMISANA SHADRAC KUMALO (South Africa) said the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo constituted a fundamental question regarding the actions of the Security Council. If the Congo were to fall apart it would not be an African failure; it would be an international failure. The international community had told Africans to get themselves together and deal with the problem and they did. After serious negotiations, the countries of the region had come up with a peace treaty, but to the people in the Congo it seemed that nothing had been done. The peace process was fragile, but if things had been ignored in Kosovo in the same way in which they had been ignored in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that peace process would be fragile too.

The litmus test for the Council was the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he reiterated. Africans were thankful for what had been done in other African situations, but the Democratic Republic of the Congo was different. One in every five African countries was affected by events in that country. Also, he appealed to the Secretary-General and the United States to consider giving privileges and immunities to the OAU office in New York.

Mr. HOLBROOKE (United States) said that to a considerable extent, "we are part of the reason for the delay in the Democratic Republic of the Congo". He called attention to the 10 July Lusaka Agreement, stating that every significant condition was being ignored or violated. The United States would support the Agreement, "but we must get it right", he said.

MARJATTA RASI (Finland), speaking for the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Cyprus, Malta, Iceland and Liechtenstein, said the Council should actively direct its attention to areas of potential conflict at an early stage, by means of including the regular holding of forward-looking discussions, and, in that regard, it should maintain a high degree of readiness to take preventive action. The Charter provided a number of tools which could and should be used in conflict prevention. In the search for a long-term solution to conflicts, high priority should be given to curbing arms supplies and the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons, as well as the use of trade in diamonds and other precious materials to provide illicit funds for them. The Council should consider using its powers in a more decisive way to impose targeted sanctions at the early stages of emerging crises; and such embargoes should be monitored after they had been imposed.

She said the European Union supported the Secretary-General’s central role in preventive diplomacy. It supported his efforts to improve the United Nations early warning systems and to place increased emphasis on preventive diplomacy. But the possibilities of the Secretary-General and the Secretariat were not fully utilized in the area of early warning. The Secretariat’s capacity must be enhanced to enable the Council to conduct regular surveys of potential conflict areas. Member States and the Council should conduct regular surveys of potential conflict areas. The Union was concerned about the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and supported the Secretary-General’s recommendations, as well as resolution 1279 (1999) on the next steps to be taken for a rapid deployment of United Nations observers in that country. The European Union was ready to support, in due time, a United Nations peacekeeping force to assist the parties in implementing the Lusaka Agreement.

Strengthening the Council’s coordination and cooperation with the OAU and subregional organizations remained key, she said. Information should be exchanged regularly, as should analyses about future developments in various fields. A crucial factor in peacekeeping operations was the rapid availability of trained personnel and equipment. Member States should be encouraged to conclude standby arrangements. Also, to address conflict situations, clear benchmarks should be adopted for the parties to follow. When progress was being made, the Council could act positively and consolidate achievements on the ground. Such positive engagement would create a climate conducive to further steps for peace. The European Union underlined the importance of political will, in Africa and beyond. The primary responsibility for the future of Africa rested with the African nations themselves, but, through joint efforts and cooperation, important progress could be made.

ISA AYAD BABAA (Libya) said the African continent and its people needed the materials and resources to solve their problems. If poverty was a consequence of war, it was also a cause of war. He stressed the importance of establishing a United Nations fund to finance African development. A special responsibility fell on those countries that had colonized Africa. They were obligated to compensate for their actions and should contribute to the fund.

The Council could undertake a role in bringing about peace and security in Africa by supporting African efforts, he continued. It could provide political support to the OAU through its resolutions. The Council undertook that role now with hesitancy and caution. The United Nations should provide and finance training for African States in peacekeeping operations. It should support the OAU mechanism for the settlement of conflicts. It should also be prepared to face risks and obstacles. Why have we waited until now to act in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? he asked.

To deal with African conflicts, he said the Council must use the same means it used in other continents. Sending peacekeeping missions to Africa was important, but the Council should hold a meeting in Africa near to the conflict, so that it could understand what was really going on and to see the conditions to which people were subjected. The solution to problems had nothing to do with limited national interests. To change the situation in Africa required a change in the way it was perceived by the international community.

LEE SEE-YOUNG (Republic of Korea) said there was urgent need for the Council to involve itself more directly and effectively in crises situations in Africa. The world had witnessed the crucial role that the Council mission in East Timor had played in reversing the dangerous situation there, enabling the parties concerned to work out arrangements needed to put the situation under control. The Council might consider sending such missions more frequently to crisis areas, with the mandate of fact-finding, prevention or management of conflict situations, or even post-conflict peace-building, in close cooperation with the Secretary-General.

Continuing, he said the Council could also consider setting up a special working unit mandated to monitor and collect relevant information, in close consultation with the countries involved in the conflict situation, and report to the Council as necessary on the conflict or potential conflict situations with recommendations. In addition, the Council should consider exploring the establishment of a regional centre for African peacekeeping operations in cooperation with African governments, the OAU and other organizations, to upgrade peacekeeping capabilities in Africa. That centre might: monitor the situation in the region; detect early warning signs of human rights violations and humanitarian crises; serve as a clearing house for information gathering; provide professional training; and help the Secretariat make effective plans for rapid response.

The Council suspended at 1:25 p.m.

When the Council resumed at 3 p.m., ARTHUR C.I. MBANEFO (Nigeria) said ECOMOG had become a veritable instrument for peacekeeping in West Africa. It had succeeded in preventing chaos and horrendous tragedies. The recent decision to authorize the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) was the type of response that ECOWAS leaders had requested in Liberia, but had been denied. Thus, UNAMSIL was a welcome initiative. It formalized the type of partnership that should be struck between the United Nations and a subregional organization, such as ECOWAS. Making that partnership work for peace and security in the region would entail regular consultation between the Secretary-General and ECOWAS leaders and the commitment of resources by donor countries to support peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building.

Turning then to how to prevent conflicts on the continent, he said that States in transition from war to peace were always in a fragile situation. They faced mammoth problems in all sectors, but lacked the resources and capacity to address those problems. The question being asked was why the United Nations and the international community were not showing the same type of enthusiasm to support African States, so that they could replicate the success stories of European countries. The international community should demonstrate the same type of commitment to Africa that was so manifest in the efforts to rebuild European countries, particularly in the Balkans. That African States were virtually “on their own” to tackle those problems was unsatisfactory. The way to ensure that they did not slump into crises and conflict was for the international community to be actively involved in the rehabilitation, reintegration and reconciliation efforts.

Another area that the Council must focus on is the type of support it could put in place to prevent fledgling democracies from sliding into conflict, he continued. The decade had witnessed the transition of many African States from single party and military regimes into multi-party democracies, but that had not resulted in improved living standards. African leaders were not in the position to initiate programmes that would bring “democratic dividends” in terms of tangible benefits to their people. And, as his President had said a few years ago, democracy could not be sustained on an empty stomach.

The international community must initiate far-reaching measures to assist those fledgling democracies to sustain good governance and democratic institutions, he said. Such measures should include cancelling the debt of African countries. If States were free from their debt burden, they would be able to use their resources to the benefit of their people. International efforts should be made to move African people from the poverty that characterized their societies. The plethora of socio-economic initiatives and competing actors must be streamlined and coordinated to avoid a waste of resources and ensure that the people reaped the benefit of such assistance.

YUKIO SATOH (Japan) said the Security Council needed to respond to crises in Africa quickly and adequately. The Council must be aware that failure to take action in time would result in human suffering. Regarding the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he said that if the peace initiative there failed, it would have grave implications for the entire continent. It was imperative for the Council to give the Lusaka Agreement its full support.

He hoped the Council would act quickly to dispatch the 500 military observers to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to consolidate compliance with the Agreement by all the parties concerned, and that it would become engaged in efforts to deploy a full-fledged peacekeeping force there as soon as possible. Japan, which provided 20 per cent of the cost of peacekeeping operations, would support any decision of the Council towards that end.

A second priority was to strengthen the capacity of regional and subregional organizations to maintain stability in Africa, he said. There was a consensus among African people that regional and subregional organizations had an active role to play in the field of conflict prevention and mediation. However, their ability to do so was hampered by a lack of administrative infrastructure and of financial resources. He proposed that the Council exercise more vigorous leadership in mobilizing the international community to strengthen the ability of regional and subregional organizations in Africa to maintain peace and stability. Japan would organize an international symposium in Tokyo this coming March, on the roles of subregional organizations and non-governmental organizations in conflict prevention and resolution in Africa.

VOLODYMYR YEL’CHENKO (Ukraine) said that intense cooperation among the Council, the OAU and subregional organizations would greatly contribute to the achievement of peace and security. The Council might wish to begin a process to systematize the different ideas on the matter in a single document, which would contain clear directives and recommendations to various entities, within and without the United Nations. The Council should display more leadership and creativity in originating proposals and managing their later execution. He welcomed the proposal to establish a mechanism to consider ideas for consultation between the Council and the OAU.

On the issue of meeting requirements for African peacekeeping, he said that the need for adequate funding was clearly an indispensable condition for any success in peacekeeping. But there were two other areas deserving attention. First, it was imperative to pursue ongoing efforts to improve the United Nations mechanism to ensure rapid peacekeeping deployment upon the Council’s authorization. Second, in terms of enhancing the peacekeeping capabilities of African countries to enable them to participate more actively in United Nations peacekeeping operations, it was important to secure a more centralized and all-inclusive character in those efforts.

Regarding additional instruments by which the Council could help solve or prevent conflicts in Africa, he said that the Council should further explore the entire concept of its missions to the region. In some situations, those missions could have tremendous impact, if they were sent at the early stages of a conflict. The Council should be more assertive in strengthening the effectiveness of arms embargoes in Africa and in addressing the problem of illicit arms flows on the continent. He reiterated his country’s proposal to convene, under the United Nations auspices, an international experts’ meeting of major arms-producing countries, with a view to elaborating measures to prevent the reselling of arms from the end users to third parties. He underlined the importance of the Council’s political will in responding adequately to conflict in Africa, and its willingness to share the costs and burdens of peacemaking.

JOSEPH MUTABOBA (Rwanda) said there was a general tendency to put the cart before the horse when dealing with situations in Africa. The lessons to be learned were never learned and the crises went on unabated. Many so-called international experts on Rwanda had failed to understand the history of the country. Lumping together people who spoke the same language, had the same culture and religion, and the same political system and ethnic groups, or even different racial groups, betrayed nothing but ignorance and a reliance on double standards. The same kind of blind anthropology could apply to the Welsh, English, Irish and Scottish tribes or ethnic groups.

He went on to say that by evading the issues at stake in the Democratic Republic of the Congo today, and by dwelling on concepts or notions of invited or non-invited guests, the Council was ignoring the real problems to be solved. More visits to the continent by Council members could add knowledge and supply the corrections needed to take the right decisions at the right time.

He went on to say that peacekeeping was a United Nations responsibility. Regarding the lessons learned in Rwanda, he said the problem lay in the kind of mandate the Council had issued. The United Nations had possessed the potential to halt the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, if the Council had mandated the United Nations Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) to do so. The loss of more than 1 million lives could have been avoided with the flick of a pen. The resolutions and actions of the Council should be revisited to understand how much improvement they needed.

He said the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was a legacy of the international community's failure to intervene in Rwanda. It should intervene now, and get the Lusaka Agreement implemented. There needed to be more political will from the Council to reinforce its own decisions. Sanctions committees such as those in Angola and Rwanda should take responsibility and produce results, instead of sheltering behind a convenient status quo of silence that seemed like complicity.

"Why are killings between Africans always described as tribal warfare, while killings between Europeans in the former Yugoslavia were called 'ethnic cleansing'?" he asked. It was imperative to engage in serious introspection, and ask whether lessons had been truly learned. When the international community really came to terms with its past failures, and had a better understanding of the ever-changing and differing socio-political realities, it would be able to prevent the occurrence of future conflicts.

AHMED ABOUL GHEIT (Egypt) said he supported discussing the concept of making the United Nations’ role more effective, and providing the necessary financial resources. Where the Council established a peacekeeping operation, to be deployed along with a subregional operation, cooperation must be based on the comparative advantage provided by each party, in a manner leading to complementarity and not duplication. The mandate granted to each party should be clear and definite. Any activity aimed at improving or upgrading African countries’ capabilities in peacekeeping should not place the burden of maintaining peace and security on those States alone, without the United Nations bearing its responsibility. He welcomed the resolution to establish UNAMSIL in Sierra Leone, but said that the way the Council dealt with the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo would be the real test -– and the only real test -– for the Council’s credibility vis-ŕ-vis Africa.

As for strengthening the Council’s cooperation with other entities, he stressed that the Council should only deal with those aspects of cooperation and coordination that fell within its competence and mandate. The General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and other bodies all had specific roles to play. There should be agreement reached between parties and organizations before proceeding to establish any operation, mission or activity. That framework should clearly determine the role of each entity.

On new mechanisms, he said the Council should consider sending joint fact- finding missions with the OAU to examine the measures needed to settle a conflict, or to understand the points of view of the parties to a conflict. The Council should take a more active role to coordinate African initiatives aimed at settling a specific conflict. The ongoing crisis in Somalia was clear proof of the need to activate the Council. A permanent mechanism to coordinate between the Council and the OAU should be considered.

CARLOS DOS SANTOS (Mozambique) said Africa was facing complex situations and it needed innovative approaches to solve them. African leaders had committed themselves to finding solutions but the Council had the primary responsibility for maintaining peace and stability in the world. Coordination and cooperation were essential. They should start within the Council itself. When they were lacking in the past, decisions had not been taken in time. A missed opportunity might be difficult to recover from, he said. Once the Council took a decision, resources should be made available to implement that decision. Once an agreement was reached, the actors within the region should be identified. That should be easily done by contacting the Missions of the countries affected here in New York. Contacts should be made with the OAU and the Chairman of the OAU for the month. The President of the African Group was also available.

Another proposal worth pursuing was the dispatch of Council missions to affected areas. The opinions of the OAU and of African leaders should form the basis of Council decisions. This morning the Permanent Representative of the United States had referred to the important conditions of the Lusaka Agreement, but the dispatch of a mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo should not be held hostage to the search for a facilitator. The position of the facilitator was important, but conditionalities should not be made if the process was to move forward. All instruments should be used to find innovative ways to resolve conflicts. The imposition of sanctions against UNITA provided an important lesson. What was being done now was effective. The international community should learn from that.

There was a problem when the Council's mandate ended but the difficulties persisted, he said. There should be cooperation and coordination between the Council and other United Nations organs that moved into areas following the withdrawal of peacekeeping forces. He added that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) could lend its resources to the Council in finding solutions to problems in the region. The SADC would continue to work with the Council to follow up on the conclusions of today's debate.

ANDRE MWAMBA KAPANGA (Democratic Republic of the Congo) said cooperation between the Security Council and the OAU was relevant, given the rise of hotbeds of tension in Africa. According to the Charter, the Council was the body for collective security and peace and security. The use of the veto, however, could block the collective security mechanism.

He said the situation had an impact on the various attempts to promote peace. The system of collective security had lost its way at the end of the cold war. The alliances that followed were seen as a systematic blocking collective security. That had led to a policy of coercion. An existing crisis often limited the decisions that could be taken. In the Council's consideration of the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he had been surprised at the contradictions that had arisen and at how slow some Members had been to act. And yet, those same Member States were the first to be cynical and to deny civilians the rights they claimed to be protecting. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there were 800,000 displaced persons and 200,000 refugees were wandering about.

The threat of nuclear war, international terrorism, the inundation of certain regions by foreign expatriates forced to move by economic pressures -- those were all problems faced by the Organization. There was a need for In-depth reform of the United Nation and in particular of the Council. The Secretary-General must no longer be the Organization's chief administrative officer. Working closely with regional organizations, he should be able to define and apply preventative diplomacy. In-depth reform was a prerequisite for the Organization to tackle the challenges of world peace and the challenges of Africa.

ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said that the Council had adopted resolutions and a presidential statement since the Secretary-General’s report had been considered. Those texts contained useful recommendations and suggestions. The Council could follow up on those texts, and “let us see what could be implemented from those resolutions”. On the question of involvement of regional and subregional organizations, he referred to resolution 1197 (1998), especially on establishing an early warning system. A good trend seemed to be emerging in terms of the Council’s association with those organizations. He welcomed that trend.

He said the ECOWAS mechanism for preventing and managing conflict was significant and the Council could associate itself with that. He recalled the Council’s mission to East Timor, and said the practice would be worth repeating in the future. The Council should explore all mechanisms available to it under Chapter VI of the Charter to prevent crises. Enhancing African peacekeeping capacity was another important and useful instrument. The relationship could be established with the existing regional peacekeeping centres in Africa.

The Council’s timely response to peacekeeping needs, in technical and physical terms, required the building of a rapid deployment capacity, he continued. On the issue of children and armed conflict, he recalled that the Council had adopted a resolution a few months ago and the issue required special attention in Africa. On curbing the “arms bazaar” in Africa, he said there was much in resolution 1209 (1999) to implement. The Council could support the ECOWAS moratorium on the import, export and manufacturing of small arms, but the issue required a system-wide approach. He suggested that the Council presidency could tabulate the suggestions and ideas that had been offered during the meeting, and make it available to delegations.

KAMALESH SHARMA (India) said that, as a general principle, peace could only be restored if the parties themselves were willing to resolve differences. The countries most affected must show the political will to settle their problems peacefully. The record in Africa was impressive. On almost every conflict, Africans themselves had found or were trying to find diplomatic solutions. But, once a framework was drawn up, the role of the Council became crucial. The Council had several roles to play: putting its political weight behind an agreemen; mounting peacekeeping operations; and monitoring implementation. Regrettably, Africa’s efforts had often been stymied or undermined by lack of support from the Council. In the name of supporting African initiatives, the Council should not abdicate its responsibilities under the Charter.

Despite the successes of the international community’s action in Mozambique and elsewhere, the experience in Somalia seemed to haunt some Council members, he said. However, arguments about the high cost of operations or lack of resources or risk to peacekeepers were not tenable. A tardy and insufficient response by the United Nations only served to send the wrong signals to the parties, and strengthened the view that Africa was being neglected. The United Nations Trust Fund for Improving Preparedness for Conflict Prevention and Peacekeeping in Africa, used to support training activities in some African States, had received contributions from only one country. No further comment was necessary.

There was no need to look for new instruments to resolve conflicts in Africa, he said. Existing instruments were adequate, if applied sincerely, impartially and in a transparent manner. The problem was that the instruments at hand had not been used, or not been used well. For example, while an arms embargo had been imposed against UNITA in Angola, it had no shortage of arms or other resources, acquired through connivance or complicity. The Council must pay greater attention to prompt and full implementation of its decisions. The solutions to Africa’s complex problems required a multi-disciplinary approach with a strong economic and social development component, which were outside the Council’s mandate and for which the nodal agencies were the General Assembly, the specialized agencies and the international financial institutions. The Council must be more active on Africa, but it should abjure the temptation to encroach on areas beyond its mandate.

MICHAEL POWLES (New Zealand) said the Council’s credibility required that it be seen as even-handed in its attention to crises, wherever they occurred and “whether CNN is there or not”. New Zealand was deeply concerned at the apparent trend in recent years away from financing peacekeeping by means of assessed contributions towards relying on voluntary trust funds. That trend struck at the collective responsibility that lay at the heart of the Charter. In practical terms, it meant that those regions which failed to attract donor support would not receive the response from the United Nations to which they were entitled. He had been pleased to hear the Secretary-General’s clear view on the matter expressed this morning.

At the same time, the parties to the dispute who had agreed on the need for a United Nations peacekeeping presence were obliged to do everything in their power to ensure the security of peacekeepers and the safety of other United Nations and associated personnel, he continued. There should be greater focus on prevention, especially through the Secretary-General exercising his early warning role, as stipulated in Article 99 of the Charter. The root causes of much of the conflicts in Africa included the high level of poverty and underdevelopment and the inequalities of opportunity among different groups. On those issues, the Council should make greater use of its relationship with the Economic and Social Council, as in Article 65 of the Charter.

MAURICE A. MOORE (Bahamas) said there should be no greater goal than the prevention of armed conflict on the continent of Africa. Solutions to Africa's problems were embedded in the report of the Secretary-General. There was a need for political will not only among African States but among the Member States of the United Nations, and particularly those of the Council.

Noting that the President had described himself as a son of Africa, he said it was an important point in history when the President of the Council, the President of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General, the Chairman of the Group of 77 and a number of other bodies were all sons of Africa. What more was needed, he asked. It had to be political will.

What was also needed was a greater presence of the United Nations agencies and resources. This was the right moment, and the international community should do all that it could instead of just talking. Political will was vital for the correction of African problems, and that will needed to come from a reformed Council. They could talk forever, but there must be a political will to act.

FARES M. KUINDWA (Kenya) said the Security Council had the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Regional and subregional efforts could only be complementary. Since his tenure on the Council, African issues dominated the agenda, but most had been stalled because of inadequate attention. Most continued at the same level of intensity, while others had mutated into more complex crises.

He supported the establishment of the Executive Committee on Peace and Security and looked forward to its activities. The annual meeting of the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the OAU was a good mechanism and that could be re-energized. It would be useful to Member States to know how well that structure was working.

He proposed the establishment of a mechanism that would allow for quarterly meetings, where the secretaries-general, executive secretaries and facilitators of regional organizations and initiatives would meet to exchange ideas and consolidate conflict-resolution proposals.

ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia) said that, having heard speakers’ statements, he felt it was important to raise the question as to whether the United Nations was acting efficaciously to come to grips with the continent’s problems. The issue was not located so much in resources or political will, in his view, but rather in the United Nations management and ability to take advantage of programmes to promote lasting peace and sustainable development. Peacekeeping operations and associations with regional organizations were used to resolve problems. But, how would lasting peace be achieved without a favourable economic environment? he asked. To make better use of the scarce resources available to the United Nations for peace activities in Africa, there was need for better management of affairs, including the relationship between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. If better associations and partnerships were to be created, that should begin here at the United Nations.

FODE KAMARA (Sierra Leone) said he shared most of the suggestions made by other speakers about what the Council could do. He also supported the Secretary-General's recommendations for quiet diplomacy. The Council should strengthen its partnership with Africa through the use of introspection. It should expose the names of those who fomented conflict in Africa through covert means, such as the illicit transfer of arms, or just those who acquiesced when others engaged in those activities. Internal conflicts in Africa had external implications. The role of State and non-State actors in fomenting conflict was important. There was some reluctance on the part of certain members of the Council to exercise vigilance over the merchants of death.

He said the Council should act to dissuade Member States from supporting and arming rebel movements. That applied to members of the Council and some of the Permanent Members in particular. The OAU had taken the step of discouraging military coups on the continent. The Council could support that action by declaring its commitment to discourage Member States from supporting rebel movements working to overthrow legitimate governments in Africa by force of arms.

Continuing, he said the summation to be made by the President of the Council should be made public and issued as a document for possible action at a later date.

MATIA SEMAKULA KIWANUKA (Uganda) said the current meeting was not being held because of a lack of cooperation with regional bodies, or because the OAU mechanism had been ignored, or because there was a shortage of special envoys to decipher the continent’s problems. Rather, the meeting was being held because there was a continuing crisis of conflicts in Africa. The Council, despite its many debates on the issue, had failed to take adequate action. “We are here because there was an inadequacy of political will, and because of that inadequacy there were not sufficient resources”. Meetings were fine, he said, but now was the time for action. At the end of the slave trade, in Malawi, Dr. Livingstone said he was looking for a healer of Africa’s bleeding soul. Today, he would say he was looking for a healer of African conflicts.

Africa needed immediate action to prevent current conflicts and stop them from spreading and escalating, he said. Africa needed rapid deployment of peacekeepers. Without that, the various components of peace had the potential to disintegrate. Peacekeepers separated combatants and enabled fragile peace to take roots. The Council had not said that the East Timorese should stop fighting before it would intervene. In Kosovo, it had not said that combatants should honour the agreement before intervention. The conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo should be addressed in the same way. He said he liked to hear the expression “African solutions to African problems”, but the truth was that many regional bodies lacked capacity. That was why they sought partnership with the United Nations and called for action.

In the longer term, there was need for focus on prevention from an economic perspective. Poverty was a major cause of conflict. Another aspect of prevention was the focus on democratic governance, respect for human rights and respect for law. Many communities felt excluded. There was need for partnership so that Africa could build democratic structures, to enable the continent to feel that it had ownership. There was need for partnership to strengthen States. Africa needed action from the Council and from today’s meeting.

DAUDI NGELAUTWA MWAKAWAGO (United Republic of Tanzania) said that 33 of the 48 least developed countries were in Africa. That had to be taken into account when urging Africa to resolve its problems. Africa had the largest number of refugees. There were 800,000 refugees in the United Republic of Tanzania alone, and many more coming in. Development aid was declining, and there was much more rhetoric about helping Africa than substance.

Africans were asking for action but it had to be focused, he said. The Council had to have a plan for addressing the conflicts in Africa. Since the first ministerial debate on Africa, many resolutions had been passed, but where was the implementation schedule? There needed to be such a schedule, as well as accountability. Current action was very inadequate.

He supported the commendation of the Sanctions Committee and said the Council needed to back up the Committee's work. Africa was listening attentively to the debate, he said. Every Council debate on Africa had raised expectations, but the Council needed to get its act together. In conjunction with the Economic and Social Council, it should create a blueprint, a Marshall Plan for Africa. Africans needed development, just like everyone else. He called attention to the mistaken perception that Africa was one country. In fact, it was a huge continent with 53 countries. He also expressed frustration that when the Council held open meetings, Council members spoke rapidly and then disappeared from the Chamber, without listening to the comments of non-members.

YAW ODEI OSEI (Ghana) said the meeting allowed Member States to address perceptions of inequality. The Secretary-General’s statement had set the tone, and all the key issues had been stated already. But, he wanted to emphasize certain points. Stressing the need for regular consultations, he said that within the framework of consultations between the Secretaries-General of the OAU and the United Nations, the Council could consider quarterly meetings with the OAU to focus on pertinent issues for the region and appropriate follow-up action. On conflict management, the role of regional groups could not be emphasized enough. Efforts by regional groups, such as ECOWAS and the SADC, had been constrained by a lack of support from the international community, particularly the Council. Peacekeeping had a negative effect on the meagre resources of those countries. His own country’s participation had been based on the principle of good neighbourliness and containment. As an old adage exhorted, if a neighbour’s beard was on fire, you should douse it with water, lest sparks ignite your own.

The Council’s consideration of conflicts should take into account the capability of regional forces to intervene, he continued. Representatives of contributing countries might be invited to discuss involvement and determine the requirements for ongoing support. Conflict prevention had been recognized as less costly, in human and material resources, than post-conflict reconstruction. The Council should come out strongly against groups or individuals aiming to destabilize democratically elected governments. Sanctions should be imposed against those groups or individuals. That should be scrupulously monitored, with the aim of penalizing countries that flouted the Council’s resolutions. On small arms, the Council must be seen as actively engaged in the struggle against trafficking in small arms.

MISHECK MUCHETWA (Zimbabwe) said that to improve coordination and cooperation, the OAU should send documentation to the Council on a regular basis. Such documentation could cover early warning systems, as well as actions that could be taken to avert conflict. Where conflict already existed, the Council should expeditiously work towards its resolution.

With more than 50 per cent of its agenda devoted to African matters, the Council should set aside a fund for purposes of conflict prevention and peacekeeping, he said. Much of the delay experienced in tackling Africa's problems was related to finances. In addition, peacekeeping forces should be armed with proper mandates and support.

The Council needed political will to effect solutions, he said. He compared Council action in Africa to its actions in other areas. If there was the necessary political will and Council members ceased highlighting their own national interests, the situation in Africa would improve. The instruments were already at hand.

MARC NTETURUYE (Burundi) said the Organization had a problem reacting quickly and effectively to conflicts in Africa. That was due in part to ignorance, or lack of credible information about given situations. Sometimes there was conflicting information, due to the number of parties involved. The “wait and see” approach sometimes hindered the resolution of conflicts in Africa, and that attitude was often the fault of the actors involved. Sometimes there was competition with other countries. All that led to a vicious cycle of progressive deterioration. Another factor was a lack of interest by some Council members. There had been talk of double standards, but saving human lives should be paramount. Some preferred to act only where their own interests were involved. A third reason was that there were sometimes wrong assumptions about causes. Surface generalities were accepted, while the deeper historical causes were ignored. For example, there was often a tendency to focus on ethnic factors while neglecting economic causes.

The idea of partnership was excellent, but it should lead to wise and coordinated action. First and foremost, such partnership must be based on collaboration with States. States must be consulted, whether or not they were democratic or respected human rights. Coercive action could be taken only when all efforts at consultation had been exhausted. The “teaching a lesson” approach must be avoided. Regarding internal conflicts, there was a need to address psychological elements. The Great Lakes had been hit by problems of genocide. That situation must be approached carefully, with discreet diplomacy -- including, of course, the United Nations good offices and mediation mechanisms. The region itself wanted to play the primary role, and it should be encouraged to do so until other international actors could enter the stage. That was the best method if all regional actors were operating in good faith. But the United Nations, through the Council, must remain vigilant. The United Nations/OAU partnership must be made use of both before and after the event. Otherwise, one could get involved in violations of the Charter and international law. The Council must endorse all major actions taken. Only the Council could send a peacekeeping force or impose sanctions.

Increasingly, economic and development issues must be considered, he said. The role of the Bretton Woods institutions, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other entities was important. Often, regional solutions could make a situation worse. Imposing economic sanctions on an impoverished country could have a disastrous effect on its people. He concluded by saying that “this great exercise of reflection” should be translated into concrete measures.

PETER LESA KASANDA (Zambia) said he hoped the Council would no longer hesitate to address problems in Africa. He supported the suggestion for greater coordination with the OAU. He pointed out that the OAU was essentially a political organization.

He said that the parties closely affected by decisions under consideration by the Council needed to be involved in the consultations. He hoped that meetings such as today's were not symbolic, but that the Council would actually listen to what was being said by the visitors. Regarding peacekeeping missions, the mandates of 3 to 6 months were too short. Moreover, the strength of the mission should be commensurate with the job it was mandated to do.

He agreed with the notion that it was important to improve the quality of the instruments that were already in place, as opposed to setting up new ones. A mechanism must be provided to stop the illegal transport of arms and expose governments that put profit before peoples' lives.

OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said the current meeting was important for building a comprehensive approach to conflicts in Africa. A comprehensive approach involved the United Nations capacity to prevent conflicts, and to apply measures to support conflict resolution. On the question of preventing conflict, all agreed on the need to move from a “culture of reaction” to a “culture of prevention”. But, for that, there must be support for the trust fund for preventive action. The disarmament, demobilizing and reintegration of former combatants were important elements in ending conflicts, as the presence of large amounts of small arms could undermine peace and threaten international personnel. The international community should provide resources for programmes in those areas.

Continuing, he said that since poverty and conflict were linked, it was important to ensure that the programmes of United Nations funds and agencies were in tandem with local efforts. The OAU had a particularly important role to play in promoting peace and stability in Africa. Close cooperation with that body was vital to the resolution of African conflicts. While the United Nations was best suited to lead and coordinate complex operations, it would need to draw on regional and subregional forces. There was also a need for coordination to establish common principles for training personnel and improving effective multi-functional planning and coordination. Stressing that resources were needed in order for the ideas put forth today to be implemented in practical terms, he called on the international community to provide funds.

MAKARIM WIBISONO (Indonesia) said that as democratic Africa bloomed, war-torn Africa bled. While States such as Nigeria had consigned their internal wars to the past, others were still locked in a seemingly endless cycle of revolution and violence. Regrettably, half of the violent conflicts in the world were in Africa. The reality also was that the worst-hit victims were not combatants but the millions of innocent civilians caught in the middle.

Discussions in the General Assembly and the Security Council on Africa had provided the opportunity for stock-taking of the problems Africa faced. Those problems were enormous. Africa’s predicament could be attributed to a lack of sincere commitment from the international community, particularly the Security Council, both in providing adequate personnel for peacekeeping and conflict resolution efforts, and the funds to sustain those operations. While welcoming the generous contribution of the United Kingdom to the United Nations Trust Fund for Improving Preparedness for Conflict Prevention and Peacekeeping in Africa, it was deplorable that the Fund (not unlike many other projects intended for Africa) had received only one contribution -- $250,745.

Genuine commitment to Africa from those with surplus resources would increase the prospects for the success of peacemaking and post-conflict peace- building efforts. He paid tribute to the OAU and other key subregional organizations for their role in the settlement of conflicts. He called for a meeting between those organizations and the Security Council to establish the terms of reference for promoting coordination and cooperation in accordance with the Charter.

In that respect, he envisaged the possibility of establishing a Security Council team on Africa, to serve as a clearing-house for information on African issues and to submit concrete recommendations. Such a body could serve as an early warning system for preventing major humanitarian disasters in the future. He said the Security Council should also explore the possibility of establishing a preventive deployment force, as in Europe, to prevent the expansion of conflicts in Africa. Indonesia was considering the possibility of further increasing its participation in peacekeeping operations in Africa, he said.

HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden) said there must be more effective mechanisms to implement arms embargoes. There was a wide gap between what was said in resolutions of the Security Council and what was happening on the ground. Individual Member States had clear responsibilities to prevent the export from and transfer of small arms. The sanctions committees must be more active. Canada’s Representative, Robert Fowler, had illustrated in his work on Angola that those committees could do more. At the same time, sanctions committees must be better equipped to carry out their tasks, including following leads on breaches being committed. The capacity to monitor on the ground must be improved, through such means as better cooperation with regional bodies. United Nations peacekeepers themselves could be better involved. Making serious efforts to implement arms embargoes would involve political will and resources, but it was a price well worth paying.w

RICHARD RYAN (Ireland) emphasized the central role of the OAU today and henceforth. A number of subregional organizations had become actively important in the search for peace. But the capacity for conflict prevention could not be developed overnight. Given the Council’s primary responsibility for peace and security, it must provide the needed support. For a peacekeeping operation to succeed, parties to the dispute must demonstrate their willingness to keep the peace. But if the Council lacked credibility, the parties were not likely to heed its call to action. Because the impression of “foot dragging” could be detrimental to peace, there was need for decisive action. On the nexus between peace and development, considerable resources had been and would continue to be committed to Africa, and it was hardly appropriate to place them at risk for the sake of the modest resources that would make all the difference for peacekeeping.

ANDRE ADAM (Belgium) said that HIV/AIDS killed more people than did war. Also, it killed in the way war did: it killed able-bodied men who could produce and create and left the survivors –- children and the elderly -- condemned to grinding poverty. More must be done to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Unfortunately, it was not the only disease that was striking the continent: for example, malaria and sleeping sickness were also grave concerns.

Comments had been made on quibbling, hesitation and double standards, he said. If ideal conditions were sought before intervening in Africa, nothing would ever happen. All human endeavours were error-fraught. Africans must help the international community help them. The parties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo should be more directly involved in implementing the commitments they had made in Lusaka. A mentality of peace was needed -- too many believed the only way to improve their lot was through conflict. While North-South partnership was crucial, so too was South-South cooperation.

ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal) said the United Nations could not abdicate its functions of protecting international peace and security. He cited the effectiveness of establishing the mechanism in East Timor as impressive, but noted that it had been a very difficult process. Why was the success of preventative deployment not being replicated in Africa? he asked. Moreover, there was a question of targeted sanctions. The Council should impose its political weight to enforce them.

There were no quick fixes, he said. He supported urgent and sustained action and stressed the importance of post-conflict peace-building. Peacekeeping efforts should be closely followed. Moreover, there should be no difference in the allocation of resources to different regions of the globe.

PIER BENEDETTO FRANCESE (Italy) said the substance of the Africa issue was central to all other issues before the United Nations. The Organization had to tackle not military threats, but social and economic weaknesses.

He endorsed the statement of the representative of Finland, who had spoken on behalf of the European Union. The Charter was an important instrument that should be utilized. The President of the OAU had suggested setting up a working group that could consolidate and implement problem-solving efforts. Readiness must be improved and that required financial resources. There was also a need for better logistic readiness. He referred in particular to the need for humanitarian readiness and peacekeeping interventions.

The Council should take a better account of what had already been done by regional organizations, he said. He welcomed the idea of focusing on existing efforts. He supported the special meeting of 21 January, which addressed the ways and means of supporting African peacekeeping. He also supported most of the proposals put forward at today's meeting and he endorsed the recommendations of the Secretary-General. Now, words must be turned into actions. He wanted to reverse the impression that there was selectivity and discrimination in dealing with African problems. The Council must issue a different message.

JUAN LUIS FLORES (Spain) said the meeting served as a wake-up call to the international community about the dimension of the problems of Africa and the need to devote the same resources to that continent as were going to other parts of the world. In all the Council’s work, it was important to keep in mind the need to preserve unity and enhance the transparency of the Council’s working methods, and thus broaden the basis of support before its decisions. At the same time, there must be full respect for the Council’s role, as stipulated in the Charter, as well as the role of the Secretary-General. On peacekeeping, he said it was crucial that the United Nations coordinate with regional and subregional organizations and cooperate to strengthen African capabilities for peacekeeping. For States emerging from conflict and overcoming its effects, it was crucial to establish a process of disarming and reintegrating combatants. There had been successful examples in Central America that provided lessons on reintegration.

Mr. HAIN, Council President, said a lot of useful ideas and suggestions had been made. Much had been heard about double standards, which must be replaced by common purpose. Divided counsels must be replaced by common action, and today's debate was a big step forward in doing so.

The Council should try to institute regular and more structured consultations between itself and the OAU and regional bodies. A number of useful suggestions had been made: joint envoys and missions, exchanges of staff, working groups, and more regular meetings between the Security Council, the OAU and subregional bodies.

He hoped the Council would work out some detailed proposals, so that decisions could be taken before the end of January on what it should be doing, and how. Views heard in the debate, particularly from African Member States, sent a clear message. The United Nations was not responding quickly or effectively enough to meet Africa’s peacekeeping needs. Many useful practical suggestions had been made, such as increasing the capacity and planning in the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations; enhancing its ability to hold and more quickly deploy stocks of key equipment; further United Nations help to build Africa’s own peacekeeping capabilities, including through training, personnel exchange, and logistics and partnership arrangements. The Council had given strong support for taking those proposals forward.

He said participants in the debate had made it equally clear that providing the right resources was critical. The importance of matching resources to mandates had also been widely stressed, and so had the limitations of Trust Fund financing for peacekeeping. It was clear from the debate that none of those measures was a substitute for greater political engagement from the Council. Only with that would there be greater engagement by the United Nations in peacekeeping in Africa, and with greater success, too, he said.

Many speakers had cited the crucial importance of preventive action to address root causes of conflict. There were calls for greater focus on AIDs, greater development assistance, guarantees of the rights of minorities, and genuine power sharing in divided societies to prevent conflict. Many speakers had pointed to the need for better early warning systems and the exchange of analyses. If that was to succeed, all must contribute -- the Secretariat, the OAU and Member States. Potential conflict zones must be brought to the Council’s attention, enabling it to act in time. It was the responsibility of all to use the Council for that purpose; and to strengthen existing early warning mechanisms, including those of the OAU.

Africa had many real problems, but all those who knew and loved the region knew that it could and would build a better future for itself -- a future of peace, prosperity and democracy. The people who would build lasting peace in Africa were the people of Africa itself. It was the duty of the Council, however, to help them. Today’s debate showed that the Security Council and the wider United Nations membership were resolved to do so.

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