19/12/2001
Press Release
SC/7245



Security Council

4440th Meeting (Night)


SECURITY COUNCIL VOICES FULL SUPPORT FOR OFFICE OF SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE


OF SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR WEST AFRICA


In Presidential Statement, Council Also Stresses Need

To Strengthen Capacities of Economic Community of West African States


The Security Council this afternoon welcomed the report of the Inter-Agency Mission to West Africa and fully supported initiatives aimed at implementing its recommendations, in particular the establishment of the Office of Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the subregion.


According to a statement read out by Security Council President Moctar Ouane (Mali), that Office would ensure the strengthening of harmonization and coordination of the activities of the United Nations in an integrated regional perspective, and the development of a fruitful partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), other subregional organizations and international as well as national actors.


The presidential statement followed a four-hour meeting yesterday, during which the Council was briefed by Ibrahima Fall, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on the report of the mission, which visited 11 countries in the subregion from 6-27 March.  (For details of the report and the meeting, see Press Release SC/7243 dated 18 December.)


In the statement, the Council also stressed the need to further strengthen the capacities of ECOWAS in areas which would enable that body to act as the engine of subregional integration and increased cooperation with the United Nations.


The Council underlined the importance of taking steps to develop cooperation and coordination among the intergovernmental bodies and entities of the United Nations, which could influence the situation in West Africa.  It also expressed its intention to consider measures to coordinate its actions with those bodies and entities.


The Council emphasized the need for the effective implementation of the confidence-building and cooperation measures agreed on by Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.  It strongly encouraged those countries to do their utmost to hold a summit meeting of their heads of State and to ensure its success.


The Council also emphasized the need to strengthen the capacity of ECOWAS to monitor and stem the illicit flow of small arms and the establishment of militia.  It appealed to the international community to provide appropriate financial

assistance to the Programme for Coordination and Assistance for Security and Development and to the national mechanisms involved in the fight against the proliferation of small arms in West Africa.


The urgent need to solve the problem of refugees and displaced persons in the subregion by permitting organized and voluntary returns as soon as possible under acceptable security conditions was also urged.


The Council reiterated its condemnation of the use of children as combatants and called for the immediate demobilization of all child soldiers.  It also appealed to the international community for substantial financial assistance for the programme of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants and other peace-consolidating activities in Sierra Leone.


The meeting began at 6:20 p.m. and was adjourned 6:25 p.m.


Presidential Statement


The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2001/38 reads as follows:


“The Security Council has considered, during its public meetings of 14 May and 18 December 2001, the report of the Inter-Agency Mission to West Africa (S/2001/434).


“The Security Council welcomes with satisfaction the above report and fully supports initiatives taken with a view to implementing its recommendations.  It welcomes, in particular, the establishment of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa to ensure the strengthening of harmonization and coordination of the activities of the United Nations system in an integrated regional perspective, and the development of a fruitful partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), other subregional organizations and international and national actors, including civil society.


“The Security Council emphasizes that greater subregional integration must remain a key goal for the United Nations system in the search for lasting solutions to the conflicts in West Africa and to the human suffering to which these give rise.  It stresses the need to further strengthen the capacities of ECOWAS in the areas which should enable it to act as the engine of subregional integration and increased cooperation with the United Nations system.


“The Security Council underlines the importance of taking steps to develop cooperation and coordination among the intergovernmental bodies and entities of the United Nations system which can influence the situation in West Africa, and expresses its intention to consider measures to coordinate its action with these bodies and entities.


“The Security Council emphasizes the need to maintain regional peace and stability and, in that connection, welcomes the progress made in the Mano River Union area.  It also emphasizes the need to see to the effective implementation of the confidence-building and cooperation measures agreed on by Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and strongly encourages these three countries to do their utmost to hold a summit meeting of their heads of State

and to ensure its success.  It commends the role of civil society, particularly the Mano River Union Women’s Peace Network for its instrumental role in facilitating dialogue among the leaders of the region.


“The Security Council also emphasizes the need to strengthen the capacity of ECOWAS to monitor and to stem the illicit flow of small arms and the establishment of militia.  In this connection it welcomes the extension for a period of three years, starting on 5 July 2001, of the Moratorium on the Importation, Exportation and Manufacture of Small Arms and Light Weapons in West Africa.  It appeals to the international community to provide appropriate financial assistance to the Programme for Coordination and Assistance for Security and Development, and to the national mechanisms involved in the fight against the proliferation of small arms in West Africa.


“The Security Council also emphasizes the urgent need to solve the problem of refugees and displaced persons in the subregion by permitting organized and voluntary returns as soon as possible, under acceptable security conditions.


“The Security Council reiterates its condemnation of the use, by State and non-State actors, of children as combatants in violation of the relevant International Instruments on the Rights of the Child and the Accra Declaration on War-Affected Children in West Africa and the related Plan of Action.  It calls for the immediate demobilization of all child soldiers.


“The Security Council welcomes the holding in New York, on 16 November 2001, of the fifth meeting of the United Nations-ECOWAS-Sierra Leone coordination mechanism and the progress made in the peace process in Sierra Leone.  It appeals to the international community for substantial financial assistance for the programme for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants and other peace-consolidating activities in Sierra Leone.


“The Council welcomes the holding of the twenty-fifth conference of heads of State and of Government of ECOWAS.  It pays tribute to that organization for its major contribution to the restoration of peace, stability, democracy and development in West Africa.


“The Council will remain actively seized of this matter.”


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