CONTINUED EFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO INTERNATIONAL CRISES BY UN REQUIRES REVIEW, REFORM OF PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS, FOURTH COMMITTEE IS TOLD

GA/SPD/120
12 November 1997

CONTINUED EFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO INTERNATIONAL CRISES BY UN REQUIRES REVIEW, REFORM OF PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS, FOURTH COMMITTEE IS TOLD

12 November 1997


Press Release
GA/SPD/120


CONTINUED EFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO INTERNATIONAL CRISES BY UN REQUIRES REVIEW, REFORM OF PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS, FOURTH COMMITTEE IS TOLD

19971112 If the United Nations was to continue to respond to international crises in an effective manner, it must maintain the process to review and reform its peacekeeping missions, the representative of New Zealand said this afternoon, as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this afternoon to continue its consideration of peacekeeping operations.

Measures for preventive diplomacy should continue to remain a focus of the United Nations, the representative of Belarus said. He expressed support for the significant role played by regional organizations and arrangements with respect to early warning and the management of conflicts.

Preventive deployment must follow efforts in preventive diplomacy, which should be the first recourse in preventing tense situations, the representative of Uruguay said. Certain actions in the social and economic fields could also help avert the escalation of conflicts.

The observer for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the best form of protection against violence was the adoption of an approach that reflected the principles governing humanitarian action. Particularly humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence.

Durable peace was dependent on addressing root causes of conflict, the representative of Zambia said. In that regard, the political, social, economic and developmental dimensions of conflict should be considered.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Pakistan, Nepal, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mexico, Algeria, Indonesia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Romania, Norway, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Viet Nam and Ethiopia.

The Fourth Committee will meet again at 3 p.m on Friday, 14 November, to conclude its consideration of peacekeeping operations and to take action on a related draft resolution.

Committee Work Programme

The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this afternoon to continue its review of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects. (For background, see Press Release GA/SPD/118 of 10 November.)

Statements

KHALID AZIZ BABAR (Pakistan) said that his delegation wished to associate itself with the statement made by the representative of Thailand on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement at a previous meeting of the Committee. Pakistan welcomed the reform proposals relating to peacekeeping contained in the Secretary-General's report. Pakistan particularly welcomed the emphasis laid on preventing crisis situations from exploding into conflict.

He expressed support for the proposal that the Department of Political Affairs be strengthened, on the basis of equitable geographical representation, in the areas of early warning, preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping and post-conflict peace-building, he said. That Department could not, however, be expected to assume operational responsibilities, by short- circuiting the key role of the General Assembly.

Pakistan continued to support the establishment of regional logistics bases which could work alternatively as rapidly deployable mission headquarters and early warning centres, he said. Those bases could employ experienced officers from Member States, on an ad-hoc basis, to assist them in carrying out their functions. The establishment of a trust fund for the rapidly deployable mission headquarters was a step in the right direction.

The preponderance of gratis personnel in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations continued to be of serious concern, he said. Their acceptance undermined the impartiality and international character of the United Nations.

YAM LAL KANDEL (Nepal) said that Nepal also aligned itself with the statement of the representative of Thailand. Nepal welcomed the expansion of the membership of the Special Committee. The reforms regarding reparations for death and disability for peacekeeping personnel were also welcome.

Nepal supported the Secretary-General's reform proposal to make the Department of Peacekeeping Operations more efficient and better managed, he said, especially regarding its stand-by arrangements for peacekeeping operations. Stand-by arrangements constituted a key to increasing the rapidity of deployment. The proposed rapidly deployable mission headquarters should receive the necessary funds to become operational.

Nepal's participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations had spanned four decades, he said. Its commitment to peacekeeping remained firm.

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The establishment of a commemorative medal for those who had lost their lives in peacekeeping was welcome.

JORGE PEREZ-OTERMIN (Uruguay) spoke on behalf of the Common Market of the Southern Cone (MERCOSUR) countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay), as well as for Bolivia and Chile. He said it had become clear over the past few years that peacekeeping operations were not a panacea for solving conflicts. However, the abrupt decline in the number of peacekeepers deployed had been interpreted by some as an exaggerated reaction. While the MERCOSUR countries did not support a return to the patterns of 1993 and 1994, they believed that peacekeeping operations remained an effective instrument for the promotion of international peace, when resorted to with the necessary caution and given the appropriate political conditions.

The concept of preventive peacekeeping was still being elaborated, but had already been effective in the case of the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP), he said. Nevertheless, preventive deployment must follow efforts in preventive diplomacy, which should be the first recourse in preventing tense situations. Certain actions in the social and economic fields could also help to avert the escalation of conflicts.

One of the greatest challenges facing the United Nations was the need to perfect its capacity to react swiftly and efficiently to emergency situations, he said. The refinement of the stand-by arrangements structure had the potential to contribute to that goal. The enhancement of the United Nations rapid-deployment capability through the further development of those arrangements enjoyed MERCOSUR's firm support.

SLOBODAN TASOVSKI (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) said it was very important to define precise and feasible objectives for peacekeeping operations and to ensure sufficient resources for the successful implementation of their mandates. Consultations between troop contributors and the Security Council were essential, and his country welcomed the strengthening of that process.

He stressed the important role played by UNPREDEP in the maintenance of stability and peace in the southern Balkans. With the security environment there in the post-Dayton era remaining exceptionally fragile, UNPREDEP's presence was an essential factor in support of stability and the peace process. His Government had requested an extension of UNPREDEP's current mandate to cover the 12-month period beyond 30 November.

PABLO MACEDO (Mexico) said the decrease in the number of peacekeeping operations would be welcome if it meant there had been a decrease in conflicts around the world. That, however, was not the case. The United Nations was resorting to different mechanisms for conflict resolution, including support for the actions of regional organizations. That had proven beneficial in some

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cases, particularly in Africa, where it had been decisive. It would be impossible, however, to employ the same method in South America, because such organizations did not have a legal basis there. As the Under-Secretary for Peacekeeping Operations had stated, regional organizations could not be considered panaceas.

PETER RIDER (New Zealand) said that an adequate, qualified staff in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was critical to the Secretariat's ability to carry out its mandated activities. However, the possibility of seeking voluntary contributions of specialized personnel from governments on a temporary and exceptional basis should be kept open. Where peacekeeping overlapped with humanitarian activities, the views of the major humanitarian providers must be heard to avoid duplication of effort and expense.

Peacekeeping costs were now a third of what they were in the peak years of 1994 and 1995, he said. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of the level of unpaid peacekeeping assessments, which continued to rise. The debt was mainly being funded by delaying reimbursements to troop contributors. That intolerable situation undermined the Organization's ability to implement mandates, as well as the support of Member States for peacekeeping.

Mine-clearance activities were an important focus for New Zealand, he said. The Ottawa process had put demining on centre stage. The signatories to the Ottawa Convention would be looking to the United Nations to take a lead on the required follow-up measures.

His country had been in the forefront of calls for greater rationalization of the work of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, the Peacekeeping Department and other United Nations agencies responsible for mine clearance. The development of an overall strategy for mine action, with the United Nations as the focal point, was required. The mine action services within the Peacekeeping Department should be funded from the regular budget.

If the United Nations was to continue to respond to international crises in an efficient and effective manner, it must continue to review and reform its peacekeeping missions, he said. This year had seen some promising steps forward. New Zealand looked forward to continuing its participation as a full member of the work of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations in sustaining that momentum.

NACERDINE SAI (Algeria) said there had been a general tendency in the United Nations to give regional organizations a pioneer role in peacekeeping. That idea had not emerged from a vacuum but was in the United Nations Charter. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) had developed an African mechanism for resolving conflicts in order to avoid human tragedy on that continent. That mechanism had been used to resolve a number of political conflicts.

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Nevertheless, sincere will was not sufficient for the success of peacekeeping operations, he said. Material resources were needed, particularly in urgent cases. The OAU had requested help in strengthening its cooperation with the international community, and with the United Nations as the "parent body". Assistance in terms of financial aid and equipment would help promote world peace.

ARIZAL EFFENDI (Indonesia) said he supported the United Nations stand-by arrangements to enhance the rapid-deployment capacity of peacekeeping operations. It was deemed important that all discussions on enhancing rapid deployment be carried out in a transparent manner and be open to all States. Broader participation would render such operations more effective, with greater credibility. He emphasized the central role of the United Nations in facilitating training for military operations and civilian policing. Training was particularly important for developing countries, to avoid being marginalized in their participation in peacekeeping operations owing to a lack of advanced technology.

HONG JE RYONG (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) said that the recent expansion of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations had ensured a wider participation by Member States in its deliberations. Owing to the selfish politics of certain countries which had taken advantage of the turmoil created by the end of the cold war to expand their political influence, unexpected disputes in different parts of the world were being aggravated. Worse still, new disputes and conflicts continued to occur.

Removing the root cause of conflicts was of overriding importance, he said. That cause was a confrontational policy which had continued from the cold war era. Actions based on a confrontational policy, domination and hegemony should never be tolerated. Attempts to foster or fan disputes should be discontinued. Peacekeeping operations carried out without the consent of the involved parties would inevitably provoke their resistance, which would further complicate the situation. That was a lesson from past experience.

Even though half a century had passed since the end of the Korean War, the United States was continuing to abuse the name and flag of the United Nations in order to legitimatize the stationing of its troops in South Korea. That was an insult to all Member States. Article VII of the United Nations Charter, which had envisaged enforcement actions for conflict resolution, should not be abused by a certain Power for achieving its political purpose.

ALYAKSEI SKRYPKO (Belarus) said that positive changes following the end of the cold war had not diminished the importance of United Nations peacekeeping operations, which remained an indispensable instrument in its machinery for settling inter-State and intra-State conflicts. The Secretary- General's proposals for the reform of peacekeeping operations were very

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welcome. Belarus attributed particular priority to measures for preventing diplomacy, which should continue to remain a focus of the Organization.

He expressed support for the significant role played by regional organizations and arrangements with respect to early warning and the management of conflicts. Belarus also supported the establishment of a rapidly deployable mission headquarters. However, while welcoming peacekeeping reforms, Belarus supported maintaining the traditional criteria and standards for the conduct of operations. Such principles as the consent of conflicting parties, impartiality and the non-use of force except in self- defence must be observed.

ION GORITA (Romania), expressing support for the statement made by Luxembourg on behalf of the European Union, said it was essential that the United Nations be able to continue to do its utmost to maintain international peace and security. Peacekeeping operations would be as necessary in future as they had been so far. It was obvious that there was a need for operations to be deployed quickly. A credible presence at an early stage could prevent further intensification of armed conflicts and loss of human lives. The establishment of the rapidly deployable mission headquarters was a necessary measure envisaged in that respect. For successful and efficient action, preparedness of both the United Nations and the Member States was necessary.

On the establishment of the Multinational United Nations Stand-by Forces High-readiness Brigade (SHIRBRIG), he said the temptation to consider the initiative as "another select club with special privileges" should be avoided. It was Romania's perception that other countries or groups of countries could engage in that form of contribution to United Nations efforts.

DAG WERNO HOLTER (Norway) underlined the necessity to strengthen the United Nations capacity for preventive action and for rapid reaction in the face of emerging conflicts. One important example of preventive action was United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP), which was the only preventive United Nations deployment of troops. The encouraging experiences from that mission suggested that the formula could be successfully applied in other potential conflict areas.

He said that in recent years, Norway had seen a tendency by the United Nations to give regional organizations, alliances and multinational coalitions mandates to take on responsibilities in peacekeeping and conflict management in their respective regions and areas of competence. Norway welcomed that development, which was fully in line with the United Nations Charter. However, it was important to underline that the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security remained with the United Nations, which must not abdicate its responsibility in matters of regional security.

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AMIRBEK TOGUSOV (Kazakhstan) said that eliminating the root causes of conflicts was important. Attention should be paid to determining the possible sources of conflicts. United Nations peacekeeping operation were to be supported.

One condition for the prevention of armed conflicts was the improvement of the legal basis to regulate intervention in conflicts, he said. The nature of armed conflicts must, therefore, be studied in relation to international law. Global monitoring to detect threats should be enhanced. Kazakhstan was willing to participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations.

The United Nations rapid-deployment potential should be improved, he said. The establishment of the central Asian battalion was Kazakhstan's contribution to strengthening stability in central Asia. Kazakhstan was gradually gaining experience through peacekeeping activities.

ALI HACHANI (Tunisia) said that peacekeeping operations continued to give rise to debate. While States usually agreed on the crucial character of such operations, practical disagreements always arose. Experience had shown that it was difficult to succeed when certain conditions were not met.

Established principles on which peacekeeping operations should be based were the starting point for all operations, he said. The consent of the international community and the parties concerned was a key. The principle of non-interference in internal affairs of States was also essential.

Cooperation between the United Nations and the OAU under Article VIII of the Charter represented a good example of capacity-building, he said. Cooperation between the two organizations was expanding. The strengthening of African States' participation -- particularly under the auspices of the OAU -- in conflict resolution in the African continent should be supported.

NGUYEN THI NHA (Viet Nam), expressing support for the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said Viet Nam welcomed the enlargement of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, which was the only proper forum to review the question of peacekeeping. Viet Nam was also happy about the recent adoption of a resolution on uniform death and disability compensation to personnel in the service of peacekeeping operations.

Peaceful settlements of disputes should be the aim of all peacekeeping operations, she said. Force should only be used as a last resort. Peacekeeping operations should be a supplement to, and not a replacement for, political settlement.

All Member States should be consulted in a transparent manner regarding peacekeeping operations, she said. Consultations between the Security Council and troop-contributing countries were necessary for the success of those

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operations. The Security Council should formalize those consultations within its rules of procedure.

PETER KASANDA (Zambia), associating his delegation with the statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country would continue to contribute to peacekeeping operations in the firm belief that durable peace was dependent on addressing the root causes of conflict. Those should be addressed in a comprehensive manner, taking into account the political, social, economic and developmental dimensions of conflict.

He said he was concerned that the transfer of the Secretariat unit dealing with demining from the Department of Humanitarian Affairs to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations could undermine the function of the unit. However, the assurances made by the Under-Secretary-General that the transfer would in no way affect the unit's operations were welcome.

DURI MOHAMMED (Ethiopia) recalled that the Special Committee had recognized the important contribution that regional organizations could make to the maintenance of international peace and security. It had, in particular, underlined the important role of the OAU for conflict prevention and the need for enhancing its cooperation with the United Nations.

He said African peacekeeping capacity would be greatly enhanced through the participation of African countries in the United Nations stand-by arrangements. However, the difficulties associated with crises in Africa were often not due to the absence of a stand-by arrangement. They arose from a lack of political goodwill to address African problems with equal attention and seriousness as crises in other parts of the world. He hoped that various initiatives, including the recent ministerial-level meeting of the Security Council, would contribute to focusing more attention on assisting the efforts of African countries to resolve conflicts on that continent.

Although the post-cold-war peacekeeping missions had been complex and multidimensional, he said, peacekeepers had in most cases executed their tasks with high morale and integrity. However, it should be pointed out that some peacekeepers had not lived up to the expectations of the international community. The obvious cases were the "flagrant violations by certain peacekeepers of the rights of Somali citizens". Ethiopia hoped that such acts would be fully investigated by the concerned parties and that the Special Committee would consider elaborating appropriate guidelines to serve as a code of conduct for peacekeepers.

BRUNO ZIMMERMANN, observer for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said that over the past year the ICRC had continued to devote attention to the relationship between humanitarian action and political- military action. The question had also been studied at international meetings, such as the conference organized by the United Nations Institute for

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Training and Research (UNITAR) last February. The importance of the issue was further emphasized by the extreme complexity of the operational situations that the ICRC had to face.

The ICRC believed that the best form of protection against violence was the adoption of an approach that reflected the principles governing humanitarian action, particularly humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence, he said. As a rule, the ICRC did not use armed escorts in the course of its operations. The presence of any armed troops alongside its staff increased the risk of confusion.

The action of the United Nations forces was military, not humanitarian, he said. That was the case even when they were helping to restore conditions to allow humanitarian law to be implemented. It was, therefore, important to maintain a clear distinction between the activities of humanitarian agencies and those conducted by international military forces. Clear mandates for the international forces must be laid out. Interfaces should be set up in the field to facilitate communication between the different bodies.

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For information media. Not an official record.