DELAYS IN REIMBURSEMENT ‘GREAT HARDSHIP’ FOR TROOP-CONTRIBUTING COUNTRIES, KENYA TELLS FOURTH C0MMITTEE, AS PEACEKEEPING DEBATE CONTINUES

22 October 2002
GA/SPD/246

DELAYS IN REIMBURSEMENT ‘GREAT HARDSHIP’ FOR TROOP-CONTRIBUTING COUNTRIES, KENYA TELLS FOURTH C0MMITTEE, AS PEACEKEEPING DEBATE CONTINUES

22/10/2002
Press ReleaseGA/SPD/246

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

Fourth Committee

14th Meeting (PM)

DELAYS IN REIMBURSEMENT ‘GREAT HARDSHIP’ FOR TROOP-CONTRIBUTING COUNTRIES,

KENYA TELLS FOURTH C0MMITTEE, AS PEACEKEEPING DEBATE CONTINUES

Speakers Also Address Need for Mission Exit Strategies,

Adequate Funding for Demobilization, Reintegration of Former Combatants

Delays in reimbursement caused great hardship to troop- and equipment-contributing countries, especially developing countries, the representative of Kenya told the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) this afternoon, as it continued its general debate on the comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations.

While Kenya appreciated recent efforts to improve and accelerate reimbursement of troop costs, cash flow problems still impeded the overall process, he said.  To maintain the momentum generated -- and for the entire reimbursement process to be successful -- all Member States must meet their Charter obligations and pay their assessed contributions to the Organization in full, on time and without conditions.

Early reimbursements would ease the burden on troop-contributing countries, Romania’s representative said.  The signing of memoranda of understanding prior to the deployment of national contingents was essential for ensuring the timely reimbursement of Member States.  The Secretariat must find the practical means for proceeding with regular payments for personnel, starting with the first month of their assignment to a United Nations mission, and calculating an early contingent-owned equipment reimbursement for the first six months of service, payable by the end of that period.

Pakistan’s representative expressed concern that it was often the financial rather than the objective assessment of a situation which determined the direction of a mission, especially in its “drawdown” and termination.  In developing an exit strategy for future missions, three principles must be strictly adhered to.  The mission must first see the full implementation of the Security Council resolution which mandated the mission in the first place.  Second, the objective criteria or benchmarks on the basis of which the operation was mandated had to be achieved.  Finally, the temptation to confuse false benchmarks with real ones, and to declare victory and withdraw prematurely, must be resisted.  In matters of peace and security, there was no room for arbitrary "sunset clauses", or any withdrawal without achieving the objectives.

14th Meeting (PM)                    22 October 2002 

New Zealand’s representative said there were many examples where peacekeeping operations had been executed under a Security Council mandate, but the transition to nation building -- or rebuilding -- was far from seamless.  It was crucial to avoid jeopardizing the achievements of a successful mission by a precipitate withdrawal.

Norway’s representative said that in addition to adequately trained troops, early planning and secure funding arrangements were also needed.  Failure to meet prerequisites had frequently caused delays in processes to normalize the situation and pave the ground for the exit of peacekeepers.  Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes must, therefore, be included in the early planning by the Integrated Mission Task Force.  Such programmes illustrated the complexities of current peace operations, containing both military and civilian components, and the complexity of those operations must be reflected in the framework governing policy discussions. 

Zambia’s representative agreed that disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants was critical to the success of any peacekeeping mission.  He regretted the shortage of funds needed to complete that programme in Sierra Leone.  The United Nations had achieved much in that country and it would be regrettable if efforts to achieve lasting peace failed due to lack of funding.

Other issues addressed by delegates this afternoon included the need to enhance African capacity for peacekeeping operations, equitable geographical representation in the distribution of senior peacekeeping positions and improved coordination between the United Nations Secretariat, the Security Council and troop-contributing countries. 

Also speaking this afternoon were the representatives of Bangladesh, Cuba, Tunisia, Brazil, Poland, Uganda, Croatia, Turkey, India, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Australia, Thailand, Mali, Libya, Kuwait and Ethiopia.

The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Thursday, 24 October, to conclude its consideration of the whole question of peacekeeping operations.

Background

As the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this afternoon, it was expected to continue its general debate on the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.  [For further information, see Press Release GA/SPD/244 of 18 October 2002.]

Statements

IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said efforts of the last two years had led to improvements in the core capacity of the United Nations in peacekeeping.  He hoped that as a result of the progress made so far, there would also be greater clarity on the conditions necessary to ensure success in United Nations peace operations.  The Brahimi report listed three such conditions: political support; rapid deployment; and sound peace-building strategy.

He was concerned about the political will of Member States in supporting the United Nations politically, financially and operationally.  In many instances where United Nations peacekeeping operations faltered, he said, the problems were linked to a deficient political consensus among the members of the Security Council.  Legislative dithering in the Council might result in losing an opportunity to bring a long-sought solution.  The availability of well-trained and well-equipped troops was also needed.  The days of “peacekeeping overstretch” might be making a comeback.  There are more, not fewer, obstacles to generating troops from throughout the globe and rapid deployment hinged on the availability of troops.

Expressing concern over peace-building strategy, he said in more than one instance the first unsure steps taken on peace-building had been further weakened by uncertainty in funding arrangements.  Getting disarmament, demobilization and reintegration right was crucially important.  Alongside voluntary contributions, assured funding of the peace-building process had to be secured.  He expressed support for the Secretary-General’s recent recommendation in that regard, as concerns the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

CARLOS AUGUSTO SUANES FLEXAS (Cuba) said peacekeeping operations continued to be a very useful instrument of the United Nations in carrying out mandates of the Security Council.  Despite the complexities involved in peacekeeping operations, the United Nations must always act according to its Charter -- including respect for sovereignty and international law.  He reaffirmed his support for impartiality in decisions made concerning mandates, objectives and command structures.  Peacekeeping operations must not go beyond the limits of their mandates, or the Charter.  Humanitarian interventions -- a new concept -- actually violated the United Nations Charter. 

He stressed that when a peacekeeping operation was decided upon, it needed to be in a context of transparency.  Cuba was also concerned about delays in reimbursements to those who contributed troops and equipment, particularly to developing countries.  He stressed that peacekeeping operations were not definitive solutions to conflicts.  Underlying causes were not military, and one could not separate peace from development.  If one did not strive for the achievement of a just international economic order, there could be no solution to conflict.  He concluded by stressing that there must be no double standards involved when the Security Council negotiated and considered peacekeeping operations. 

KAIS KABTANI (Tunisia) favoured expanded consultations between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries.  A selective approach, which would confine consultations to only the large troop-contributing countries, must be avoided.  Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations was also important. 

The African peacekeeping capacity required particular attention, he said.  Africans were determined to take full responsibility in working for peace, by addressing the underlying causes of conflicts.  The international community, however, must support African countries in their efforts to create the optimum conditions for the success of peacekeeping operations in that continent.  In that regard, support for the African Union and the mechanisms it had established was of great importance.  That body’s mechanisms were an expression of the will of its members to make preventive diplomacy a constant factor in the Union’s work.  Convinced that peacekeeping was one of the most important tools in maintaining international peace and security, Tunisia had participated in various peacekeeping missions for several decades.

JOSE ALBERTO ACCIOLY FRAGELLI (Brazil) said DPKO had gone through a deep reform process, which had aimed to evaluate the machinery of a complex structure and react to new challenges and realities.  He supported the particularly important reforms undertaken in DPKO's managerial culture.  That process had been complemented by the reform in its rapid deployment capacities.  In that connection, he stressed the need to reimburse troop-contributing countries, particularly developing countries.  A study on the difficulties faced by developing countries in contributing troops must be seriously considered, he said. 

It was important to strengthen the relationship between DPKO and troop-contributing countries, he said.  It was also crucial to change the nature of DPKO peace-missions, particularly with regard to responses to personnel.  Furthermore, DPKO's relationship with other organs of the United Nations entrusted with issues of peace and security must be strengthened.  He welcomed the growing exchange between the Security Council and troop-contributing countries, which allowed a better understanding of the challenges that each mission represented.  That exchange on operations aspects could also be developed when it came to other aspects of peacekeeping.  Better dialogue between the Working Group, the Security Council and the Special Committee would also improve peacekeeping operations.  A purely military aspect to peacekeeping operations was no longer a solution.  More multidisciplinary approaches were needed, including conflict prevention, institution-building and efforts in post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building. 

ALEXANDRU NICULESCU (Romania) said his delegation had participated in joint meetings of the Security Council working group on peacekeeping operations and troop-contributing countries, convened as an additional mechanism for strengthening cooperation with troop-contributing countries on specific missions.  The meetings provided Member States with relevant information on the status of implementation of different mandates, as well as problems in the field.  He believed the code of conduct by national contingents must be respected.  He strongly supported the early functioning of the “ombudsman” position in United Nations missions, which should be seen as a first step in addressing the sensitive matter. 

Regarding training, he supported steps taken by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to develop the Standardized Generic Training Module project.  Bilateral training arrangements between potential troop-contributing countries was also important for developing regional approaches to training.  Further, the special needs of women and children in conflict situations must be addressed.  The presence of civilian police in specific United Nations peacekeeping operations had become essential for the success of the respective missions. 

On finance issues, he said the signing of memoranda of understanding prior to the deployment of national contingents was essential for ensuring the timely reimbursement of Member States.  The Secretariat must find the practical means for proceeding with regular payments for personnel, starting with the first month of their presence in a United Nations mission, and calculating an early contingent-owned equipment reimbursement for the first six months of service, payable by the end of that period.  Particular emphasis should be placed upon the issue of early reimbursements, as a way to ease the burden on troop-contributing countries. 

BEATA PEKSA-KRAWIEC (Poland), associating herself with the statement made by Denmark on behalf of the European Union, paid tribute to all military, civilian police and civilian members of United Nations peacekeeping operations who have lost their lives in the cause of peace in the last year.  He fully shared the Secretary-General's view that much still needed to be done to achieve the aims and goals of the United Nations, and reaffirmed the United Nation's role in international efforts to ensure world peace.

Peacekeeping was one of the basic instruments at the disposal of the United Nations and it needed to be constantly improved to serve all current United Nations purposes, he continued.  He said his country welcomed the progress that had been made since last year in strengthening and streamlining the United Nation's capacity in rapid deployment, planning and management of peace operations.  He attached great importance to the enhancement of the Standby Arrangements System and said in the future his country would sign the Memorandum of Understanding.  He confirmed the availability of one mechanized battalion for deployment in the structure of the readiness brigade.  He also welcomed the General Assembly's endorsement of the concept of strategic deployment stocks to support complex peacekeeping missions.

He called for further progress in cooperation between the United Nations and the regional organizations, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Economic Community of West African States, stressing that close collaboration in the field of the peacekeeping, as well as conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction, could prevent unnecessary duplication.  He welcomed the fact that the role and contribution of women in United Nations peacekeeping and peace-building measures had been expanded in the course of the last two years.  Further, his country would support all actions taken towards further enhancement of safety and security for United Nations and associated personnel.

BOB F. JALANG'O (Kenya) said he was concerned about the level of United Nations commitment to conflicts in Africa.  He reminded the Committee of the discussions at the Millennium Summit on the need to ensure an effective role for the Security Council in the maintenance of peace and security, particularly in Africa.  During those discussions the Security Council had reaffirmed its determination to give equal priority to all regions and, in view of the particular needs of Africa, to give special attention to the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa.  Kenya had welcomed those affirmations and had expected to see much more United Nations involvement in translating the United Nations Millennium commitments into tangible actions in Africa.  That had not been the case.

Delays in reimbursement caused great hardship to troop- and equipment-contributing countries, especially developing countries, he said.  Kenya appreciated the recent efforts of the Secretariat directed towards improved and accelerated reimbursement of troop costs.  The expeditious processing of contingent owned equipment claims was also commendable and encouraging.  However, cash flow problems still impeded the overall process.  In order for the system to maintain the momentum generated, and for the entire reimbursement process to be successful, all Member States must meet their Charter obligations and pay their assessed contributions to the organization in full, on time and without conditions.  With regard to the selection of mission leadership, he reiterated Kenya's stand that those positions be reserved for contingents with a sizeable troop contribution.  A situation seemed to be developing where troops come from the developing countries, while commanders were from the developed world.  

SELWYN HEATON (New Zealand) said that New Zealand supported Under-Secretary-General Guéhenno's intention to focus on the six issues of:  rapid deployment; enhancing the African peacekeeping capacity; training; security reform and disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration; comprehensive rule of law strategies in the peacekeeping context; and best practices.  However, he suggested that such issues as succession plans for key posts to ensure the effectiveness of DPKO, the clarification of command and control -- both internally and externally -- of peace support operations, and the need to encourage transparency, both with the Secretariat and the Security Council, also be considered. 

It was also necessary to build on the work that the Force Generation Service had completed in amending the Standby Arrangements System to reflect the recommendations made by Member States, he continued.  In order for those efficiencies to be implemented, it was important to ensure that colleagues in the Fifth Committee had a sound understanding of the imperatives being undertaken in the conduct of peace support operations.  There were many examples where peacekeeping operations had been executed under a Security Council mandate, but the transition to nation-building -- or rebuilding -- was far from seamless.  He stressed that it was crucial to avoid jeopardizing the achievements of a successful mission by a precipitate withdrawal.  He concluded by expressing his support to ensuring that peacekeepers maintained an acceptable code of conduct when undertaking peace support operations, and said he was willing to assist with any working group on such matters.

WEGGER C. STROMMEN (Norway) said that following an impressive reform exercise, the Committee should, in the current session, take stock of and consolidate past achievements.  The Committee must look ahead to the broader, more fundamental challenges facing current and future peacekeeping operations.  Peace-building was a key component in the approach to contemporary conflicts.  Norway supported the idea of broadening the mandate of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations to include peace-building.  At the operational level, the situation had already been overtaken by events through a number of complex operations containing elements of both peacekeeping and peace-building.  That complexity must now be reflected in the framework governing policy discussions.

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration illustrated the complexities of current peace operations containing both military and civilian components, he said.  In addition to adequately trained troops to conduct the military part of such programmes, there was also a need for early planning and secure funding arrangements.  Failures to meet prerequisites had frequently lead to unfortunate delays in processes aimed at normalizing the situation and paving the ground for the exit of peacekeepers.  Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration must, therefore, be included in the early planning by the Integrated Mission Task Force.  The initial reintegration phases of demobilized troops should be funded through assessed contributions.  The establishment of a gender focal point in DPKO had been debated and he was hopeful that it would receive the Fifth Committee’s endorsement.

Security sector reform and rule of law strategies needed to be established as an integral part of efforts to promote lasting peace, he continued.  The development of lessons learned was a fundamental prerequisite for improving practices.  The potential of the Best Practices Unit remained untapped.   Norway attached great importance to strengthening regional approaches to conflict management.  Given the challenges to international peace and security on the African continent, Norway had so far focused its efforts there.  The new mechanism for consultation between the Council and the troop-contributing countries was a dynamic instrument and could be further improved to make future meetings more substantive and meaningful.

MWELWA C. MUSAMBACHIME (Zambia) welcomed the positive actions by DPKO to address the recommendations made by the Special Committee at its last meeting.  He commended progress in the creation of the strategic deployment stocks and welcomed the installation of a new inventory management system at the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi.  He strongly urged the Department to ensure a fair geographical distribution of posts as it obtained the required expertise for that new system.

His Government was displeased with the placement of senior personnel in DPKO, he said.  While the majority of peacekeepers were from the developing countries, they were not given their fair share of senior appointments.  Were developing countries only good enough to provide troops to be commanded and incapable of providing commanders?  An officer from the developed world had recently been appointed to command the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), despite the fact that his country had no troops in the Mission.  The time had come to discuss the possibility of post-rotating among the regional groups.

He said the activities of the gender affairs offices in peacekeeping missions needed to be coordinated by DPKO.  He strongly supported the Under-Secretary-General’s request for a gender capacity in the Department.  Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants was critical to the success of any peacekeeping mission.  He regretted the shortage of funds needed to complete that programme in Sierra Leone.  The United Nations had achieved much in that country and it would be regrettable if efforts to achieve lasting peace failed due to lack of funds for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme.  He also appealed for assistance to that programme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

FRED BEYENDEZA (Uganda) said there was no dispute that many missions had been, were and would be successful.  There were already many examples, such as Angola, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kosovo and Timor-Leste.  There was also no doubt that other missions had been, were and might be disastrous.  It was in that category he wished to focus on, particularly rapid deployment and prevention.  He had noticed that in instances where delays in deployment were cited, the results had always ended in aggravated situations, which resulted in prolongation of atrocities, losses of additional lives and hundreds of refugees.  If wars could not be stopped before they started, at least a rapid deployment and response mechanism must be available.  That was needed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where, unfortunately both the Security Council and the international community at large appeared to be dragging their feet. 

In order to prevent conflict, the causes of conflicts had to be identified, he continued.  If the areas where conflicts raged were examined, if the countries which generated the greatest number of refugees were categorized, and if the areas which attracted the peacekeeping operations were scrutinized -- there was one disturbing link tying them all together.  Those countries happened to be associated with areas where there was the least economic progress.  They happened to be areas where the proliferation of small arms and light weapons was prevalent, places where ethnic clashes were common, and places where poverty was thriving.  Something must be done to halt that trend.  Those underlying causes of conflict must be addressed. 

JASNA OGNJANOVAC (Croatia) said her delegation fully supported the Brahimi report and was now dedicated to its full implementation.  As the composition and mandate of the classical peacekeeping operations went through major changes, it was now more than ever necessary to quicken the reform process.  Croatia also advocated reform of the existing relations between the three main bodies of the United Nations -- the General Assembly, Security Council and Economic and Social Council -- in respect of the new responsibilities of modern peacekeeping operations.

She noted Croatia's contributions to peacekeeping missions and said it recently approved the Memorandum of Understanding for the United Nations Standby Arrangement.  She said Croatia attached importance to its contribution to United Nations peacekeeping; as a country that had a rare experience as a recipient of five peacekeeping missions, it was ready to share its experience.  Though Croatia's means were rather limited, the country firmly stood by plans to expand its participation in line with the strengthening of its resources.

MEHMET KEMAL BOZAY (Turkey) said peacekeeping was one of the main tools at the disposal of the United Nations in fulfilling its noble mandate of maintaining international peace and security.  While he noted with satisfaction recent achievements, much remained to be done.  The status report on the implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee and the Brahimi report would facilitate the Committee’s work.  The six outstanding issues elaborated by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations would be the key elements of that report. 

Rapid deployment parameters had become the norm, rather than the exception, he said.  In order to cope with overwhelming developments, additional steps must be taken to enhance the United Nations’s rapid deployment capacity.  To that end, Turkey had joined the United Nations Standby Arrangement System and the military “on call list”.  It was also necessary to strengthen cooperation between the Secretariat and Member States, which were part of the Standby Arrangement System, to enhance the personnel and interoperability dimensions of rapid deployment.  The logistics dimension of rapid deployment -- supplied by the Brindisi Base -- needed special attention to meet the logistic requirements of future peacekeeping operations.  Turkey welcomed proposals for the formation of “coherent brigade-sized forces”, which could be rapidly deployed for a regional crisis in a cost-effective manner. 

He stressed the importance of the civilian police dimension of the peacekeeping operations.  He also supported capacity increases in the Civilian Police Division and was interested in the arrangements on creating a civilian police “on call list”.  Training was a vital element for the success of peacekeeping operations.  The rule of law dimension of peacekeeping operations must be thoroughly analyzed.  It was vital for the United Nations to consult more closely with national actors in countries concerned, so as not to impose a rule of law modality on them.

MADAN PRASAD JAISWAL (India), concerning the relationship between the Security Council, the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries, said that information provided was at times insufficient, and often too late.  There was, therefore, a need to hold meetings long before the Council renewed mandates or operations on a regular basis.  Concerning the concept of rapid deployment, he stressed that the first 6 to 12 weeks following either a ceasefire or a peace accord were often the most crucial.  On the military side, India had pledged a brigade and 60 officers to the on-call list for a generic mission headquarters.  However, in order for the concept to be more effective, Member States must develop more innovative approaches for effective deployment.

On the issue of strategic deployment stocks, he said that the inability of many developing countries, who provided more than 70 per cent of the troops to peacekeeping operations, to rapidly deploy was generally due to a lack of contingent-owned equipment and full self-sustainability.  If that problem was addressed effectively, rapid deployment could become a reality.  Concerning training, he said the challenge was to develop global norms for peace operations that were achievable by all Member States and did not reflect the norms of any particular group of countries.  He added that the same transparency must also accompany senior appointments in DPKO, which must not appear to be arbitrary.  In conclusion, he said the fact that 70 per cent of troop-contributing countries were developing countries reflected poorly on the commitment of those who had a special responsibility in the maintenance of international peace and security.

SOMKHIT VANKHAM (Lao People's Democratic Republic) associated himself with Jordan's statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  He said the Under-Secretary-General's statement had been very informative, noting that his country had consistently maintained that the indispensable requirements for a successful peacekeeping operation necessitated a strict observance of the purposes and principles provided for in the United Nations Charter.  Those requirements, in particular, were respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and the political independence of States, among others.

He firmly believed that the essentials for the success of peacekeeping operations included consent of the parties, impartiality, and the non-use of force, except in self-defence.  Concerning rapid deployment, there was no question that considerable progress had been achieved; for example, the General Assembly had approved a sum of approximately $140 million for strategic deployment stocks.  That would be a major enhancement of the Department’s rapid deployment capacity.   Noting that there had been considerable improvement in the area of financing, he said it was still essential to reimburse troop-contributions in a timely manner and all Member States must pay their assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions.

He supported the full staffing of the Best Practices Unit and said best practices from previous and ongoing missions must be reflected in all of the Department’s planning, training and support.  He wanted the Secretariat to improve the representation of under-represented and the unrepresented Member States in future recruitment in the Department, in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions.  He said presently the majority of troop-contributors were from developing countries, and they could not and should not be expected to shoulder the burden alone.

BRUCE SCOTT (Australia) said his country was gratified with the enhanced planning and management capabilities within the United Nations Secretariat, and the fact that the rapid deployment targets were now more realistically within reach.  He was also encouraged that another Brahimi tenet, namely that mandates must be realistic and backed by adequate resources, was now accepted wisdom.  But, there were still refinements needed in peacekeeping operations, including working on the recruitment process and succession planning within the Department.  He observed that police and military advisor positions had had to be readvertised.

He said the Special Committee should also pay attention to conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peace-building, stressing that there was a need to ask if the structure and methods of peacekeeping operations needed to be reexamined or further developed.  In that regard, he noted that two areas deserved attention: disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; and the issue of the rule of law and the justice sector.  The success or failure of peace operations depended on how effectively disarmament, demobilization and reintegration was conducted, and a repertoire of best practice in that area was needed.  He placed importance on the Best Practices Unit, and said that Unit should be adequately staffed.  He would discuss the matter in detail in the Special Committee.

He said that the Committee should work to avoid unnecessary administrative burdens on the Secretariat and should see its role as primarily providing broad direction and advice, as well as constructive assessment of progress.  On longer term measures, he called for a review of the issue of the “declaration of risk” requirement, which requires the Council or the General Assembly to declare that a situation of exceptional risk existed before the protective regime of the Convention applied to United Nations missions, other than those where the operation was for the “purpose of maintaining or restoring international peace and security”.  That was an arbitrary and unwieldy requirement, which denied the majority of United Nations operations legal protection.

KULKUMUT SINGHARA NA AYUDHAYA (Thailand) associated himself with the statement made by Jordan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  He outlined specific matters of concern to his delegation, such as the universality and impartiality of the United Nations, which facilitated its role in international peace and security.  Multilateralism was also important, as was the application of universal standards for training peacekeepers and in-mission training.

In that context, he supported the efforts of the Secretariat in strengthening the United Nations Standby Arrangements Systems through the development of workable “on-call lists” and terms of reference for the new "rapid deployment level" to provide a speedy response to crises.  Greater transparency in the recruitment of personnel for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was also needed, as was the timely reimbursement for troop costs and contingent-owned equipment to troop-contributing countries.  In that connection, he appealed to Member States to pay their assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions.

In addition, he called for more risk assessments to be conducted to ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers.  And, there ought to be more cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in peacekeeping undertakings, with troop-contributing countries receiving comprehensive information about the specific mission and its likely impact on national populations.

MASOOD KHALID (Pakistan) said the Secretariat must show the same spirit of cooperation with troop-contributing countries as the Security Council had shown recently.  While Pakistan supported the integrated mission task force concept, he now called for the development of an integrated mission planning and implementation concept which, though executed by the Secretariat, would closely involve troop-contributing countries at each stage in the operation.  In some recent instances, rather than having their view taken into consideration, the troop-contributing countries had merely been informed of the decisions taken by the Secretariat on the size and composition of their contingents.  It was important to take the troop-contributing countries into confidence at each stage of the mission, since they were integral stakeholders of the mission and their views were likely to add value to those of the Secretariat.

He expressed concern that it was often the financial rather than the objective assessment of a situation which determined the direction of a mission, especially in its “draw-down” and termination.  In developing any exit strategy for future missions, he said, the following principles must be strictly adhered to:  the mission must see the full implementation of the resolution of the Security Council which mandated the mission in the first place; the objective criteria or benchmarks on the basis of which the operation was mandated had to be achieved; the temptation to confuse false benchmarks with real ones and to declare victory and withdraw prematurely, must be resisted.

He stressed that in matters of peace and security, there was no room for arbitrary "sunset clauses", or any withdrawal without achieving the objectives.  This defeated the very purpose for which the peacekeeping mission had been established in the first place.

IBRAHIM OULOLOGUEM (Mali) said that, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, Mali was committed to peacekeeping operations.  Peacekeeping operations were an indispensable tool in maintaining international peace and security.  Mali had, therefore, contributed to peacekeeping operations with personnel, including to Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and the Central African Republic.  Mali had announced its availability to contribute more to peacekeeping operations, including with standby forces for rapid deployment in emergency situations.  However, there was only so much Mali could offer, given the limitations in the conditions of operations.  He, therefore, stressed the need to improve those conditions. 

In that connection, he emphasized the importance of including the wishes and concerns of troop-contributing countries in the deliberations of the Security Council.  He informed the Committee that in Africa, heads of States and government had created the Council of Peace within the framework of the African Union.  That was an important step for maintaining peace through an early-warning system.  Mali supported the strengthening of the peacekeeping capacities in the region.  He concluded by stating that Mali had always hoped for peace in Africa.  Peace in Africa could only be achieved through cooperation between the African Union, the United Nations and other relevant organizations. 

JALAL ELASHI (Libya) said that much progress had been made in the field of peacekeeping operations in the last year, including in Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Timor-Leste, and Ethiopia and Eritrea.  The Security Council had been trying to improve its work with consultations with troop-contributing countries through the working group.  Civil strife and regional war marked the African continent.  There had been some success in Africa and he welcomed the recent interest in the continent, especially since the establishment of a working group to prevent conflicts in the region.  The working group had taken the right direction by seeking to strengthen cooperation with the United Nations and regional groups, which were assuming a growing role in maintaining peace in Africa.

He welcomed the recommendations in the report of the Special Committee, including the proposal for the establishment of a second base for strategic deployment stocks in Africa and the establishment of a liaison office at the African Union’s headquarters.  He also supported the establishment of a mechanism to coordinate work between the Special Committee and the special working group on Africa, as well as the importance of coordination between DPKO and regional organizations to train African forces for peacekeeping operations.  The African continent -- one of the largest exposed to conflict -- needed the political, economic and material support of the international community.

MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. AL-OTAIBI (Kuwait) expressed his gratitude to the issues brought up by the Under-Secretary-General last Friday and welcomed the achievements made so far in strengthening the capacity of peacekeeping operations.  Peacekeeping operations were basic instruments in maintaining international peace and security and showed the commitment of Member States to peace.  However, there was a need to further define mandates, objectives and command-structures of all peacekeeping operations.  In that context, he also stressed the need to improve negotiations and dialogue between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries.  It was also clear that to strengthen the capacity of peacekeeping operations, all countries needed to assume their responsibility to pay their dues to the United Nations.

The standby arrangements would facilitate the effectiveness of rapid deployment in emergency situations, he said.  Since 1991, Kuwait had been hosting United Nations Iraq Kuwait Observer Mission (UNIKOM), which aimed to lessen the tensions on the borders between Kuwait and Iraq.  However, Iraq's refusal to

adhere to United Nations resolutions had resulted in considerable tension, which represented a threat to peace and security in the region.  He stressed the importance of the work of UNIKOM and said that Kuwait had been fulfilling its financial commitments and had provided all the logistics to UNIKOM.  In conclusion, he commended all peacekeeping operations and expressed his appreciation to the Special Committee in its attempt to improve those operations.

ABDUL MEJID HUSSEIN (Ethiopia) associated himself with the statement by Jordan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  He said the peacekeeping role played by the United Nations was a living testimony to the continued importance of peacekeeping operations for the maintenance of international peace and security.  Observing that the setting up of a triangular partnership between the Secretariat, troop-contributing countries and the Security Council was a move in the right direction, he said the relationship had to be further institutionalized and strengthened, with a view to promoting the highest level of efficiency and effectiveness.

He said misconduct by United Nations peacekeepers was a growing threat to the credibility and efficiency of the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security.  He stressed that partiality, double-standards, politicization of local issues, misinforming third parties, and intentional actions undertaken outside the stated mandate would fuel conflict and misunderstanding, with grave consequences.  He welcomed the development of disciplinary regulations to prosecute and punish those accused of gross misconduct under national jurisdictions.  Ethiopia asked that the scope of the discipline should be expanded to encompass misconduct of the leadership of peacekeeping operations.

He noted that there was a need for increased cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations for the maintenance of international peace and security.  He, thus, attached great importance to the cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union.  With respect to the conflict management centre of the African Union, he expressed pleasure that the United Nations Secretariat had been extending assistance to strengthen the capacity of its early warning system.  Ethiopia, a founding member of the United Nations called on the United Nations and the international community to strengthen their financial and technical assistance to the African Union, so that the Union could enhance its capacity for conflict prevention, management and resolution.

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For information media. Not an official record.