Consultations on West Africa
††††††††††††††††††† Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,
††††††††††††††††††† Let me just report to you very briefly on this morningís consultations. We were
††††††††††††††††††† talking about West Africa and we had a very full and very good report from
††††††††††††††††††† Assistant Secretary-General Fall who, between the 6 and 27 March, led an
††††††††††††††††††† inter-agency, multi-disciplinary UN mission to West Africa. He gave us oral
††††††††††††††††††† conclusions from that mission. These were very interesting in terms of trying
††††††††††††††††††† to take forward a partnership within the region, led by ECOWAS, the regional
††††††††††††††††††† organisation of West African states, and with the United Nations family of
††††††††††††††††††† agencies and organs. And what such partnerships should be doing, what they
††††††††††††††††††† should be focussing on and the problems that West Africa faces, which are
††††††††††††††††††† very deep and very broad. So that was an extremely interesting briefing.
††††††††††††††††††† Discussion in the Council then followed up on that, but also bore in
††††††††††††††††††† particularly on the problems that continue in the Manu River union countries,
††††††††††††††††††† Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and the inter-play between them. We
†††††††††††††††† †††discussed the things that we have to do on those issues over the next month
††††††††††††††††††† or so. We took note that Ambassador Mahbubani, the Chair of the Liberian
††††††††††††††††††† Sanctions Committee, will be visiting, not on an assessment mission, but on
††††††††††††††††††† a familiarisation visit, between 13 and 21 April. And we talked about the
††††††††††††††††††† practical things that we should be taking forward to try and give expression to
††††††††††††††††††† the international communities help to West Africa and what the Security
††††††††††††††††††† Council, within that, should specifically be doing. We are going up now to
††††††††††††††††††† have lunch with the Secretary-General and will probably continue to some of
††††††††††††††††††† that conversation. So this is work very much in progress. I am not reporting to
††††††††††††††††††† you any results or any decisions. They werenít taken this morning. This was a
††††††††††††††††††† debate about how to move from analysis to action on the problems in West
††††††††††††††††††† Africa and a very useful debate. (
††††††††††††††††††† Question about what sort of action the UN can take)
††††††††††††††††††† We can take action with ECOWAS, for example help them with
††††††††††††††††††† capacity-building. They are short of resources. They are short of the right
††††††††††††††††††† people. They are short of mechanisms. How do we help ECOWAS, as a
††††††††††††††††††† regional organisation, to build capacity and deal with some of the problems
††††††††††††††††††† that are beyond us and beyond them in some of their manifestations?
††††††††††††††††††† Secondly, we can support UNAMSIL and the UNís work much more broadly in
††††††††††††††††††† Sierra Leone. We took note of the recent appointment of Alan Doss as
††††††††††††††††††† Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General to deal with the
††††††††††††††††††† DDRR programme and the whole economic and social aspects of Sierra
††††††††††††††††††† Leone. We need to do more work on refugees. We need to do more work on
††††††††††††††††††† the Liberian input into solving problems in the region. You know that resolution
††††††††††††††††††† 1343 has expressed the Councilís decision on that. There is a whole range of
††††††††††††††††††† things that we are taking forward that need a lot of work.
††††††††††††††††††† (Question about the situation on the Guinea/Liberia border)
††††††††††††††††††† We are looking forward to further details of the visit which the French
††††††††††††††††††† Ambassador in Conakry has just made to the border region. He is reporting
††††††††††††††††††† back huge problems. Not just for refugees, but for the wider civilian population.
††††††††††††††††††† I think it is beyond us here to get at them. We need to get help to them
††††††††††††††††††† through the agencies, particularly UNHCR, WFP and others. But there is a
††††††††††††††††††† massive amount of more work to do. We need more reports on that.
††††††††††††††††††† (Question about the idea of an ECOWAS force on the border)
††††††††††††††††††† You will have to ask ECOWAS that. But that idea has died in the short term.
††††††††††††††††††† (Question about when the Security Council will consider this topic again)
††††††††††††††††††† To come back to this problem? I hadnít actually put it down on the calendar
††††††††††††††††††† but we will come back to this issue during April. We need to.
††††††††††††††††††† Thank you very much