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Asia-pacific peace operations

 

  II. AFRICA PEACE OPERATIONS

 

PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS

 

Liberia - UNMIL

 

In Liberia, the year 2003 was marked by uneasy progress towards ending more than a decade of civil war.A ceasefire was signed on 17 June between the Government and the two rebel groups, the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL).However, on 1 August, in the wake of resumed conflict, the Security Council authorized the deployment of a multinational force, with the expectation that it would hand over its peacekeeping responsibilities to a new UN stabilization force in the near future.The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sent a vanguard force of West African soldiers, under the ECOWAS Mission in Liberia (ECOMIL), while the United States positioned some 2,000 Marines off the coast of Liberia.

 

The departure of President Charles Taylor on 11 August opened the way to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the warring parties, signed in Accra on 18 August, providing for a National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) – which was officially inaugurated on 14 October—and for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force. In resolution 1509 of 1 September, the Security Council established the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. UNMIL took over peacekeeping duties from ECOMIL forces on 1 October with a mandate to assist in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Some 3,500 West African troops were “rehatted” to United Nations forces.At the end of 2003, UNMIL’s force was still building to its authorized strength of 15,000 military personnel and 1,115 civilian police officers. At full strength, UNMIL will be the largest current UN peace operation.

 

The Mission is a multidimensional operation, charged with:

  • observing and monitoring the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement;

  • working towards disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR);

  • facilitating humanitarian assistance and promoting human rights.

The Mission also works with the National Transitional Government of Liberia to train civilian police, create a new structured Liberian national military, establish national and local administrative structures and work towards elections in 2005.The DDR programme began in December.

 

The Security Council decided in May to extend United Nations sanctions against Liberia for one year. After the signing of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Council agreed in December to re-examine the conditions under which sanctions were imposed.

 

Democratic Republic of the Congo - MONUC

 

The year saw progress in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with regard to the withdrawal of foreign forces and the installation of a Government of National Unity and Transition in July. Fighting continued in the eastern regions of the country, however, and was particularly intense in Ituri and the Kivu provinces where ethnic-based massacres and human rights atrocities were committed against civilians, leading to significant outflows of refugees and internally displaced people.

 

As the situation worsened, and amidst negotiations about strengthening the United Nations Mission in the DRC (MONUC), the Security Council in May authorized the deployment of the Interim Emergency Multinational Force to Bunia.The Force was fielded by the European Union with France as the lead nation and charged with stabilizing the situation until September, when MONUC took over. In July, acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council authorized MONUC to “use all necessary means” to stabilize the situation in Ituri and the Kivus and increased MONUC’s authorized strength from 8,700 to 10,800 peacekeepers. Civilian personnel were to increase from 1,600 to 2,500 in 2004.

 

The mission’s mandate includes providing assistance to the new Transitional Government to reform and train the security forces, re-establish a State based on the rule of law and prepare for the holding of elections in 2005.Reversing entrenched insecurity is one of the greatest challenges, along with consolidating the national government’s authority and unifying the country in advance of elections.

 

MONUC actively continued its programme of disarmament, demobilization, repatriation and resettlement of foreign ex-combatants, even though fighting in the east delayed the process.The Mission also started assisting the Transitional Government in the voluntary disarmament and demobilization of Congolese combatants.

 

In order to end the illicit exploitation of natural resources, identified as one of the major factors feeding the conflict in the DRC, a United Nations Panel of Experts presented recommendations to the Security Council in October to help the Transitional Government manage these resources transparently. On the humanitarian front,MONUC continued to focus on ensuring that vulnerable populations had access to much needed assistance, especially in areas affected by fighting. In terms of public information,MONUC’s Radio Okapi was the only nation-wide radio broadcast and had a listening public estimated to be over 20 million.

 

Ethiopia and Eritrea - UNMEE

 

The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) continued to support the peace process by monitoring the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) between the two countries,chairing the Military Coordination Commission, and coordinating humanitarian and human rights activities in the TSZ and adjacent areas,as well as providing technical assistance for humanitarian demining activities.

 

The independent Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, created by the parties in the Algiers Peace Agreement of December 2000,made preparations to implement its final and binding decision on the delimitation of the border,which was rendered in April 2002. However, despite the persistent efforts of the Boundary Commission and the readiness of its field offices, the demarcation process remained stalled at the end of 2003. The United Nations continued high-level efforts to move the peace process forward. In spite of the difficulties at the political level, the military situation in the border area remained relatively stable.

 

Sierra Leone – UNAMSIL

 

The situation in Sierra Leone continued to improve, allowing the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) to make progress in implementing its gradual drawdown plan—which provides for the total withdrawal of the Mission by the end of 2004—while continuing to assist the Government of Sierra Leone in consolidating peace. Although the Government took steps to strengthen its authority throughout the country, it still fell short in terms of its capacity to provide security in areas being vacated by UNAMSIL and to deliver basic services to the population in the provinces.The pace of the Mission’s drawdown was therefore guided in part by the ability of the security forces of Sierra Leone to guarantee the stability of the country.

 

The reintegration of ex-combatants officially ended on 31 December. More than 48,000 registered ex-combatants benefited from reintegration projects provided by the National Committee for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration with support from UNAMSIL.The remaining caseload of 3,700 former combatants received a one-off payment.However, the Government’s capacity to provide employment opportunities for former combatants and refugees remained limited.UNAMSIL also supported the resettlement of internally displaced persons and the voluntary return of Sierra Leonean refugees from neighbouring countries.

 

Major developments during the year included the completion of the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the beginning of full operational activities by the Special Court for Sierra Leone.UNAMSIL provided support to both organizations. In June, the embargo against the export of diamonds from Sierra Leone expired.

 

Western Sahara – MINURSO

 

The United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) continued to monitor the ceasefire between Morocco and the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el-Hamra y de Río de Oro (POLISARIO), in effect since September 1991, and to cooperate with the parties on the marking and disposal of mines and unexploded ordnance.The Mission’s area of responsibility remained calm, and there were no indications on the ground that either side intended to resume hostilities.

 

The year began with the presentation to the parties and to Algeria and Mauritania of a peace plan for selfdetermination of the people of Western Sahara, developed by the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General, James Baker III.After expressing reservations, the Frente POLISARIO officially accepted the peace plan in July.While urging Morocco to accept the peace plan, the Secretary-General agreed to its request for more time to study the proposals.

 

Following talks with all the parties concerned in October and December, some progress was achieved towards the implementation of confidence-building measures between refugees in the Tindouf area camps in Algeria and their community of origin in Western Sahara, proposed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).The UNHCR-operated telephone connection between the refugee camps and the Territory was to be restored in January 2004.

 

POLITICAL MISSIONS AND PEACEBUILDING SUPPORT OFFICES

 

Côte d’Ivoire – MINUCI

 

The United Nations Mission in Côte d'Ivoire (MINUCI) was established by the Security Council in resolution 1479 of 13 May to facilitate the implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Peace Agreement signed in January between the Government and main armed opposition groups in Côte d'Ivoire.The Agreement provided for the creation of a Government of National Reconciliation responsible for preparing a timetable for national elections in 2005, as well as for the restructuring of defence and security forces, and the disarming of all armed groups.

 

MINUCI includes a military liaison component to complement the ECOWAS peacekeeping force, ECOMICI, and the French troops deployed in Côte d´Ivoire, Opération Licorne.Those forces monitor the October 2002 and January 2003 Ceasefire Agreements and support the implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.They are deployed along the zone of confidence, overseen jointly by the Forces Nouvelles (former rebels), FANCI (Government armed forces), ECOMICI, and the Licorne forces.

 

MINUCI’s military liaison group is responsible for:

  • monitoring the military situation, including the security of Liberian refugees;

  • supporting the disengagement, disarmament and demobilization programme for former combatants;

  • establishing liaison with the governmental armed forces and the former rebel forces to build confidence and trust between them, in cooperation with ECOWAS and French forces.

The Mission’s small civilian component focuses on monitoring human rights and the media, as well as preparing for the 2005 elections and working within the framework of the Monitoring Committee on implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.

 

In September, the Forces Nouvelles suspended their participation in the Government of National Reconciliation due to differences of interpretation of the power-sharing concept envisaged in the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement. This aggravated tensions across the country, although the ceasefire continued to hold.The Forces Nouvelles returned to the Government in December 2003.

 

The humanitarian situation for hundreds of thousands of people remained worrisome.The United Nations humanitarian agencies were not able to fully meet the critical needs of vulnerable populations owing to the volatile security situation.

 

Burundi – UNOB

 

Throughout the year, the United Nations Office in Burundi (UNOB) continued to support the implementation of the Transitional Arrangements of the 2000 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi, which provided for the establishment of a Transitional Government in November 2001.

 

Midway through the three-year interim period at the end of which elections are to be held, the Presidency of the Transitional Government was transferred peacefully when Domitien Ndayizeye, a Hutu, took over from Pierre Buyoya, a Tutsi, on 3 May. Although the transfer of power was a major milestone towards the full implementation of the Arusha Agreement, continued outbreaks of fighting indicated that the peace process in Burundi remained fragile.The Security Council repeatedly called upon the parties to abide by the Transitional Arrangements and resolve outstanding issues concerning security and judicial reform. It also urged the Forces Nationales de Libération (PALIPEHUTU-FNL), the only armed group that had not joined the peace process, to do so without further delay.

 

Sustained efforts were made to implement the October 2002 ceasefire agreement between the Transitional Government, CNDD-FDD (Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye) and PALIPEHUTU-FNL (Alain Mugabarabona), and the December 2002 agreement between the Transitional Government and CNDD-FDD (Nkurunziza). In February 2003, however, military confrontations between CNDDFDD and the regular army resumed. In October 2003, after a series of consultations, peace talks between the Transitional Government and CNDD-FDD began in Pretoria, South Africa, under the auspices of President Thabo Mbeki. The parties signed two protocols on power sharing in the political, defence and security sectors on 8 October and 2 November 2003, concluding discussions on implementation modalities for their 2 December 2002 ceasefire agreement.

 

On 16 November 2003, at the 20th Summit of the Regional Peace Initiative on Burundi held in Dar-es- Salaam,Tanzania, the Transitional Government and the CNDD-FDD signed the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement, which was a confirmation of the two agreements reached in Pretoria. The Agreement paved the way for the CNDD-FDD to participate in the Transitional Government.

 

The 2002 ceasefire agreements called for the deployment of an international peace force and the establishment of a Joint Ceasefire Commission to assist the parties in their implementation. On 2 April, the Central Organ of the African Union (AU) Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution mandated the deployment of troops from Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Africa. In October, all 3,000 troops committed to the African Mission in Burundi (AMIB) were deployed.With AMIB facing serious financial and logistic difficulties, the AU sought United Nations assistance in mobilizing funds and other forms of support.

 

UNOB provided support for the activities of the Joint Ceasefire Commission (JCC), whose chairman was appointed by the Secretary-General.The JCC was established in February to coordinate and resolve issues relating to the implementation of the ceasefire agreements. By the end of the year, members of the Transitional Government and all the armed political parties and movements—except FNL (Rwasa)—participated in the work of the Commission.

 

In December, 151 Burundian ex-combatants and 10 dependants were repatriated from DRC to Burundi by MONUC.

 

Central African Republic – BONUCA

 

Chronic instability in the Central African Republic was aggravated by the 15 March coup d’état led by General François Bozizé.The Security Council called on the country’s new leadership to hold an all-inclusive national dialogue that would lead to the appointment of a government of national unity.

 

Throughout the political turbulence, the United Nations Peace-building Support Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA) continued to work with national authorities. BONUCA consistently supported the Government’s efforts to restore constitutional legality through national dialogue and strengthen national capacities for the promotion of the rule of law. Municipal elections are expected to take place in November 2004 and legislative and presidential elections in January 2005.

 

Guinea-Bissau – UNOGBIS

 

Political and socio-economic instability during the year culminated in a military coup d’état on 14 September. Civilian transitional authorities were established after an agreement between stakeholders was reached on 17 September, through the mediation of the ECOWAS, working together with the African Union and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries. Mediation efforts were also undertaken by the presidents of Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal.The United Nations Peace-Building Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS), which had managed political crises and facilitated national reconciliation throughout the year, began to work with the transitional Government to help restore constitutional normalcy and prepare for legislative elections in March 2004.

 

In close cooperation with the United Nations Country Team, the Office mobilized international support to assist the Government to complete the transition due to end with the holding of presidential elections in 2005 and to support the country’s efforts towards economic recovery. The Office also continued to monitor the human rights situation, in particular cases involving restrictions of civil liberties.

 

Somalia – UNPOS

 

The United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) assisted the Secretary-General’s efforts to advance the cause of peace and reconciliation in Somalia through contacts with Somali leaders, civic organizations and the States and organizations concerned.

 

UNPOS actively engaged in efforts to support the ongoing Somali National Reconciliation Conference under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. UNPOS and the United Nations Country Team started developing a peace-building plan to be implemented in Somalia once a definitive agreement is reached at the Conference. The Office is expected to continue its activities until the end of 2005.

 

Angola – UNMA

 

By the end of 2002, the Government of Angola and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) completed the implementation of the political aspects of the 1994 Lusaka Peace Agreement.With this significant development, the United Nations Mission in Angola (UNMA) completed its mandated political tasks and closed in mid-February. Responsibility for residual tasks called for by the Security Council—in areas such as human rights, mine action, humanitarian assistance, economic recovery and electoral assistance—was transferred to United Nations specialized agencies based in Angola.

 

Regional political offices and other initiatives

 

The Special Representatives of the Secretary-General for West Africa and for the Great Lakes region both played major roles in peace negotiations in their respective regions.Their offices, composed of small teams of civilian personnel and based respectively in Dakar and Nairobi, have also supported international efforts to strengthen peace processes.The Great Lakes Office also worked towards staging an international conference aimed at helping to build lasting peace in the region.

 

Other progress in United Nations peace initiatives included meetings of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission established by the Secretary-General to consider ways of following up a ruling by the International Court of Justice on a border dispute between two countries.

 

In Sudan, the United Nations prepared to support the implementation of a comprehensive agreement—under negotiation between the Sudanese Government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A)— intended to end the two-decades old conflict in Africa's largest country.

 

The Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Africa closely followd the peace processes in Somalia and the Sudan.

 

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