IN BRIEFING TO SECURITY COUNCIL, PRESIDENT OF CONGO SEES ‘LIGHT AT END OF TUNNEL’ CONCERNING AFRICAN CONFLICTS, THANKS TO INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT

31 May 2006
SC/8733

IN BRIEFING TO SECURITY COUNCIL, PRESIDENT OF CONGO SEES ‘LIGHT AT END OF TUNNEL’ CONCERNING AFRICAN CONFLICTS, THANKS TO INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT

31 May 2006
Security Council
SC/8733
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5448th Meeting (AM)*

IN BRIEFING TO SECURITY COUNCIL, PRESIDENT OF CONGO SEES ‘LIGHT AT END OF TUNNEL’

CONCERNING AFRICAN CONFLICTS, THANKS TO INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT

It should be possible to glimpse light at the end of the tunnel as scenarios developed for the ending of such African conflicts as those in Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Darfur, thanks to the road maps, timetables and scenarios developed by the international community, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Congo said this morning.

The President, who was briefing the Security Council in his capacity as the current Chairman of the African Union, said that, in the case of Darfur, there was a framework for a transition towards a United Nations operation with a strong African component following the accord reached in Abuja on 5 May.  However, in managing some post-conflict situations, sustained international support was needed to prevent a relapse into conflict.

Most of Africa’s current conflicts were not new, and included the tragic case of Somalia, the situation between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the crisis in northern Uganda, and the Western Sahara dispute, he said.  They had lasted because they had not been appropriately dealt with or because of a lack of mutual commitment or confidence on the part of the main protagonists.  On the other hand, conflicts that had been among the worst on the continent had now been settled in an encouraging way.  The Angolan civil war was just a bad memory, as were the crises in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, and, more recently, in Burundi.

He said Africa could now see the possibilities for a brighter future in the economic field, where the indicators seemed to show a considerable movement towards the consolidation and establishment of longer-lasting growth, as well as in the area of peace and security.  The continent was heading in the right direction, even if that movement was not a straight line and often remained fragile.  In implementing the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union, Africa had the appropriate tools, particularly the African Union’s Peace and Security Council and the non-aggression and common defence pact adopted in Abuja in January 2005.  While there was still a long way to go, the longest journey always began with the first step, and nowhere was it written that tragedy must remain at the heart of Africa’s future.

The meeting began at 11:10 a.m. and ended at 11:25 a.m.

Briefing by Chairman of African Union

DENIS SASSOU-NGUESSO, President of the Congo, briefed the Council in his capacity as the current Chairman of the African Union, saying that the stabilizing action undertaken by the Council and its partnership with the regional organization were to be welcomed and encouraged, particularly since today’s meeting was taking place on the eve of the Council’s missions to Africa next week.  A fortunate coincidence had placed the Congo, as Chair of the African Union this year, in a position to play its own modest part at the Council’s side as it undertook its initiatives in favour of Africa.  Harmonizing the actions of the two bodies required efficiency and credibility and justified the regular consultations between them.

The partnership between the United Nations and the African Union was founded on a vision that established clearly that there could be neither peace without development nor development without peace, he said.  The Secretary-General’s report on the causes of conflicts and the promotion of peace and sustainable development in Africa created the basis for a vast strategy of prevention that took into account all the dimensions of the violent crises shaking the African continent.  Resolutions 1170, 1196, 1208, and 1209, adopted by the Council in 1998, continued to be relevant, stressing as they did the close links between international peace and security and sustainable development, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the necessity for the international community to confront in a global way the illicit flow of weapons to and within Africa, which affected not only security, but also social and economic development.  It was a matter of building viable and stable societies.

He said that Africa could now see possibilities for a brighter future, in the economic area, where the indicators seemed to show a considerable movement towards consolidating and establishing longer lasting growth, as well as in the area of peace and security.  Africa was going in the right direction, even if that movement was not a straight line and often remained fragile.

Most of the current conflicts were not new, but dated back to at least three years ago, he said.  Those included:  Somalia, a tragic case; the situation between Eritrea and Ethiopia; the crisis in northern Uganda; and Western Sahara.  Those were conflicts that had lasted because they had not been appropriately dealt with or because there had not been mutual commitment or confidence on the part of the main protagonists.  The conflicts that had been among the worst on the continent had now been settled in an encouraging way.  The civil war in Angola was now just a bad memory, as were the crises in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, and, more recently, in Burundi.

In the management of some post-conflict situations, he appealed for sustained international support, which, in the long term, should prevent a relapse into conflict.  For that reason, he welcomed the recent establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, which, in Africa, would find a place for “experimentation”.  In the case of certain other conflicts, the international community had scenarios for emerging from crises, which should allow for some light to be glimpsed at the end of the tunnel.  Such situations existed in Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Darfur.  There were road maps in place and clear timetables, which must be respected by the national actors, whom he was determined to support.

In the case of Darfur, following the accord reached in Abuja on 5 May, there was a framework for a transition towards a United Nations operation with a strong African component in close cooperation with all the parties, particularly the Government of National Unity of the Sudan, he said.  The partnership between the United Nations and the African Union and its subregional communities must be strengthened.  He welcomed the adoption by the Security Council on 14 September 2005 of resolution 1625 (2005) on enhancing the effectiveness of its role on conflict prevention, particularly in Africa.  In implementing that partnership, the African continent had the appropriate tools.  He was referring in particular to the African Union’s Peace and Security Council and the non-aggression and common defence pact, adopted in Abuja in January 2005.

He stressed his common determination to put an end to those unacceptable situations still taking place in Africa by using all means at the international community’s disposal, particularly in the framework of the partnership that had been established between the United Nations and the African Union.  Of course, there was still a long way to go, but the longest journey always began with the first step.  Patience and extended effort were extremely valuable.  Hopefully, the path to be covered together would lead to more promising horizons.  Nowhere was it written that tragedy must remain at the heart of Africa’s future, he concluded.

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*     The 5447th Meeting was closed.

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.