SECURITY COUNCIL ASKS SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR PROPOSALS ON WAYS TO FOSTER DEEPER PARTNERSHIPS WITH AFRICAN UNION, OTHER INTERGOVERNMENTAL BODIES

28 March 2007
SC/8984

SECURITY COUNCIL ASKS SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR PROPOSALS ON WAYS TO FOSTER DEEPER PARTNERSHIPS WITH AFRICAN UNION, OTHER INTERGOVERNMENTAL BODIES

28 March 2007
Security Council
SC/8984
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5649th Meeting (AM & PM)

SECURITY COUNCIL ASKS SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR PROPOSALS ON WAYS TO FOSTER

DEEPER PARTNERSHIPS WITH AFRICAN UNION, OTHER INTERGOVERNMENTAL BODIES

Presidential Statement Recognizes Advantage of Regional

Entities in Understanding Root Causes of Conflicts Close to Home

The Security Council, continuing its effort to promote closer and more operational cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peacekeeping, asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today for a report with specific proposals on how the world body could foster collaboration and deeper partnerships with other intergovernmental organizations and regional and subregional actors, especially the African Union.

“The Security Council welcomes the growing contribution being made by the African Union and the resolve of its leaders to address and solve conflicts on the African continent,” said Council President Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa, as she read out a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2007/7) that capped a day-long debate on enhancing the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations.

Recognizing that regional organizations were well positioned to understand the root causes of many conflict closer to home and influence their prevention or resolution, owing to their knowledge of their respective regions, the Council invited further collaboration with the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, to build the latter’s capacity to undertake rapid and appropriate responses to emerging situations and develop effective strategies for conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, among other tasks.

Stressing the need for the African Union, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, to keep the Security Council fully informed of its efforts to resolve conflicts in a comprehensive and coordinated manner, she said the Council recognized that, in some cases, the regional body might be authorized by the Security Council to deal with collective security challenges on the African continent and, in that regard, “the Council encourages increased exchange of information and …sharing of best practices between the Security Council and the African Union, as well as other relevant regional organizations”.

Setting the stage for the debate, she earlier drew attention to the situation in the Sudan’s western Darfur region that, alongside the current crisis in Somalia, figured prominently in nearly every statement made during today’s meeting.  In the case of Darfur, the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) had, despite limited resources, helped to protect civilians and assisted humanitarian workers in their difficult task.  However, the continental body clearly could not bear the burden of Darfur on its own and, therefore, appealed to the United Nations to become involved after 30 June 2007, when the regional Mission’s mandate was set to expire.

Highlighting some challenges to making the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations more concrete, she said they included ensuring predictability, because the existing ad hoc arrangements were “unsustainable and will always remain fragile”.  Circumstances had changed and new solutions were needed to address today’s realities.  Old rigid doctrines on how to support peacekeeping missions could no longer hold and regional organizations, particularly the African Union, were partners in carrying out the mandate of the United Nations, especially that of the Security Council.

In his remarks to the Council, Hédi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said: “The more complex the world’s challenges are, the more crucial the partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations has become.”  With more than 75 per cent of United Nations peacekeepers deployed in Africa, and with Africa providing nearly 40 per cent of the Organization’s overall troop strength, the partnership between the world body and the African Union was “the most intense of all regional partnerships”, encompassing all phases of conflict management throughout the continent.

He said cooperation had become particularly intense in conflict situations like Darfur and Somalia.  In Darfur, the African Union and the United Nations had established a four-year relationship that was redefining peacekeeping partnerships.  African Union-United Nations cooperation continued with joint efforts by the Special Envoys of both organizations to re-energize the peace process.  As for Somalia, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) had recently been deployed with 1,700 Ugandan troops.

Touching on another issue on the minds of Council members and other participants in today’s debate, Said Djinnit, African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, said that, once the first regional mission had been launched, the question of financial support had arisen and all eyes had turned to the United Nations and its Security Council.  The notion of United Nations financing of peacekeeping operations undertaken by the African Union, or under its authority through regular assessed contributions, had been gathering momentum over the past few years.

There was no doubt that the United Nations and the African Union had been working closely together; but, the situation had become more pressing in recent months with the deployment of African Union peacekeepers in the Sudan’s troubled Darfur region.  A careful look at the complexity of that operation had led the African Union Commission to call on the Council to consider the possibility of United Nations financing for African Union-led peacekeeping missions under Chapter VIII of the Charter.

That question was at the very heart of cooperation between the Security Council and regional organizations, he said, expressing the hope that the Security Council would set up a follow-up mechanism to discuss such financing measures.  The credibility and effectiveness of regional organizations was at stake.  Finding a solution would affect their relationship with the United Nations and, ultimately, affect the credibility of the Security Council, the premier world body charged with maintaining international peace and security.

When Council members took the floor, the United Kingdom’s representative highlighted several challenges facing the United Nations and African regional entities, including the need to more clearly define and better resource the architecture for dealing with partnerships.  There was also a need for closer cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union on the ground, which was pertinent to the situation in Darfur.  The three-phase approach agreed upon by the African Union, the United Nations and the Sudan in November was being blocked by President Omer Hassan al-Bashir, and the time had come for the continental and world bodies to insist that he fulfil the commitments he had made.

Sudan’s representative said that he attached great importance to the issue of cooperation between the Security Council and regional organizations, in particular with the African Union.  It was a very pertinent theme in light of the current experience of the African Union force in Darfur.  Sustainable peace and security in Darfur was the Sudan’s priority.  The Government, welcoming the efforts of the Special Envoys of the African Union and the United Nations, hoped all parties that had not yet signed the Abuja Agreement would do so.

The Foreign Minister of Congo and the Secretary-General of Indonesia’s Department for Foreign Affairs also participated in today’s debate.

Representatives of the following countries also made statements: Ghana, Qatar, Slovakia, France, Panama, Belgium, Italy, Russian Federation, Peru, China, United States, Egypt, Norway, Uruguay, Uganda, Namibia, Japan, Australia, Libya, Viet Nam, Burkina Faso, United Republic of Tanzania, Germany (on behalf of the European Union), Benin, Rwanda, Liberia and Algeria.

Also speaking were the Permanent Observers of the League of Arab States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and suspended at 1:10 p.m.  It resumed at 3:10 p.m. and concluded at 5:15 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2007/7 reads as follows:

“The Security Council reaffirms its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

“The Security Council recognizes the important role of regional organizations in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations as well as its relevant resolutions and presidential statements, in particular resolutions 1625 (2005) and 1631 (2005) and presidential statement S/PRST/2006/39.  In this respect, the Security Council recalls that cooperation between the United Nations and the regional arrangements in matters relating to the maintenance of peace and security, as are appropriate for regional action, is an integral part of collective security as provided for in the Charter of the United Nations.

“The Security Council recalls the relevant paragraphs of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document (A/RES/60/1), in particular the support expressed for the development and implementation of a 10-year capacity plan to enhance Africa’s peacekeeping capacity, and welcomes the signing in November 2006, of the Declaration on Enhancing United Nations- African Union cooperation between the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union in the field of peace and security (A/61/630).

“The Security Council also recalls its presidential statements made in Nairobi in 2004 (S/PRST/2004/44) and in New York on 20 September 2006 (S/PRST/2006/39), where it expressed its intention to consider further steps to promote closer and more operational cooperation between the United Nations and regional, subregional and other intergovernmental organizations in the field of conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peacekeeping, and acknowledges the important role played by them in the brokering of peace agreements in conflict situations. The Security Council also welcomes recent developments with regard to the cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union.

“The Security Council welcomes the growing contribution being made by the African Union and the resolve of its leaders to address and solve the conflicts on the African continent.  The Security Council stresses, in accordance with Article 54 of the Charter of the United Nations, the need for the African Union at all times to keep the Security Council fully informed of these efforts in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.

“The Security Council recognizes that regional organizations are well positioned to understand the root causes of many conflicts closer to home and to influence the prevention or resolution, owing to their knowledge of the region.

“The Security Council urges the Secretary-General, in consultation and in cooperation with the relevant regional and subregional bodies, to resolve regional conflicts in Africa by using existing United Nations capacities as effectively as possible; to support regional early warning and mediation, in particular in Africa; to assess the risk of conflict at regional level and prioritize those areas of highest risk; and to highlight possible methods at a regional level in combating illegal exploitation and trafficking of natural resources.

“The Security Council stresses that common and coordinated efforts undertaken by the United Nations and regional organizations in matters of peace and security should be based on their complimentary capacities and comparative advantages, making full use of their experience, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the relevant Statutes of the regional organizations.  In this regard, the Council recognizes the need to build capacities with regional organizations so as to improve our collective effectiveness in the maintenance of international peace and security.  The Security Council recognizes the Peacebuilding Commission as a forum for coordination between the United Nations system and regional and subregional organizations.

“The Security Council invites further collaboration with the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, in order to help build the latter’s capacity to undertake, inter alia, rapid and appropriate responses to emerging situations and to develop effective strategies for conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.  The Security Council recognizes that, in some cases, the African Union may be authorized by the Security Council to deal with collective security challenges on the African continent.  In this connection, the Security Council encourages increased exchange of information and sharing of experience, best practices and lessons learned between the Security Council and the African Union, as well as other relevant regional organizations.

“Emphasizing the primacy of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security, the Security Council stresses the importance of supporting and improving in a sustained way the resource base and capacity of the African Union.  The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to provide a report, in consultation with the relevant regional organizations, in particular the African Union, on specific proposals on how the United Nations can better support arrangements for further cooperation and coordination with regional organizations on Chapter VIII arrangements, in order to contribute significantly to the common security challenges in the areas of concern and to promote the deepening and broadening of dialogue and cooperation between the Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.”

Background

The Security Council met today to consider the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations, in particular the African Union, in the maintenance of international peace and security.  Council members had received a concept paper sent by this month’s Council President Dumisani S. Kumalo of South Africa (document S/2007/148).

According to that paper, the Council has in the past recognized the importance of strengthening cooperation with regional organizations.  In presidential statement S/PRST/2004/44, it recognized the importance of such cooperation with the African Union in order to help build its capacity to deal with collective security challenges, including through the African Union’s undertaking of rapid and appropriate responses to emerging crisis situations.

The paper states that the current peace and security challenges addressed by the African Union have raised new questions regarding the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations.  Central among them is arriving at an understanding on how to strengthen the relationship between the Council, as an organ bestowed with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and regional organizations, particularly the African Union Peace and Security Council.  Forging close relationships and arrangements between regional organizations and the United Nations is important in enhancing international peace and security.  There are obvious advantages in the interventions of regional groups, such as proximity to the areas of conflicts.

The paper goes on to note that the African Union initiated its own missions in Burundi, Darfur and, recently, in Somalia.  In some cases, subregional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) also played a leading role in conflict resolution.  The African Union has also led several peacemaking and mediation efforts, such as those in Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda.  A dynamic interaction between the United Nations and the African Union has been evident, as some of the African Union decisions have been taken into account in the work of the Council.  Further action by the Union, however, has been hampered by lack of resources, as has been evident most recently in the case of Darfur.

In the challenge for collective security, the paper puts to Council members such questions as how far the Council should go in recognizing the decisions taken by regional groups and what the scope is for the Council to incorporate outcomes of bodies such as the African Union Peace and Security Council in its own decisions.  It asks how the United Nations can strengthen its support to regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security, what that means in practical terms and if there is scope for further and more direct resource support to regional organizations.  It also asks for lessons learnt.

Statements

NKOSAZANA DLAMINI ZUMA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa, said that, while United Nations cooperation with regional organizations was informed by the synergies witnessed in such places as Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Kosovo and the Sudan, it did not absolve the Security Council of its Charter responsibility in the maintenance of international peace and security.  The African Union had intervened in some situations where the United Nations had been unable to intervene and in others where the United Nations rapid intervention had been necessary, but not possible.  In some cases, United Nations processes had taken a long time to finalize amid deteriorating security situations on the ground.

Regional organizations brought advantages, including proximity and an informed understanding about specific conflict situations, she said.  They had greater flexibility to intervene, especially during the initial stages, and could also be involved in mediation efforts when conflicts arose.  The African Union had chosen to intervene in Burundi at a time when the United Nations had been unable to deploy, in the absence of a permanent ceasefire between the parties.  In the case of Darfur, the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) had contributed, despite limited resources, to the protection of the civilian population and in assisting humanitarian workers in their difficult task.  However, the African Union clearly could not bear the burden of Darfur alone, and the regional body, therefore, appealed to the United Nations to become involved after 30 June 2007.

She said other challenges to making the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations more concrete included a need for predictability, as had been agreed during the 2005 World Summit.  The existing ad hoc arrangements were unsustainable and would always remain fragile.  There was a need to articulate a clear form of burden-sharing between the United Nations and regional bodies, based on the understanding that the Organization’s goals and those of the African Union in maintaining international peace and security were the same.  However, it must be understood that the circumstances had changed, and new solutions were needed to address today’s realities.  The rigid doctrines of the past on how to support peacekeeping missions could no longer hold, and regional organizations, particularly the African Union, were partners in carrying out the mandate of the United Nations, especially that of the Security Council.

In his opening remarks, HÉDI ANNABI, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said today’s subject was of crucial importance to the maintenance of international peace and security.  The more complex the world’s challenges were, the more crucial the partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations had become.

He said the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union was the most intense of all regional partnerships, encompassing all phases of conflict management throughout the whole continent.  The creation of the African Union, with its commitment to develop peacekeeping capabilities, had opened up new avenues and challenges for cooperation.  Over 75 per cent of United Nations peacekeepers were deployed in Africa, and Africa provided up to 40 per cent of peacekeepers to the United Nations.  Over the past three years, new ambitions in the partnership had been forged, most recently with a declaration in November 2006 on the cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union.  In support of the African Union, the United Nations Secretariat had established a dedicated capacity, located in Addis Ababa, with the operationalization of the African Standby Force in 2010 as its ultimate goal. 

Cooperation was also intensifying on training and information exchange, he said, not only with the African Union itself, but also with subregional organizations such as ECOWAS.  In conflict situations, cooperation had become particularly intense, such as in Darfur and Somalia.  In the Darfur crisis, the African Union and the United Nations had since 2004 established a relationship that was redefining peacekeeping partnerships.  African Union-United Nations cooperation continued with joint efforts of the Special Envoys of both organizations to re-energize the peace process.

Turning to the situation in Somalia, he said the African Union had started deployment of the African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISOM) with 1,700 Ugandan troops.  The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations was assisting the African Union in the planning of the Mission, and would send a team of technical experts to Addis Ababa.  A United Nations technical assessment mission to Somalia would return this week.  He welcomed ceasefire agreement of 2 March, as there could be no military solution to that conflict.  He also welcomed the decision of the Transitional Federal Government to convene a national congress.

He said the cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations in peacekeeping had taken a new direction.  Cooperation took place at all levels and provided rich material for future lessons.  The range of new initiatives gave him confidence that African countries in the future would assume an even greater role, in Africa and beyond.  The partnership could not be seen in isolation, as other partners, such as ECOWAS, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union, also played a crucial role.  The United Nations Security Council had a vital role to play in facilitating partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations or arrangements.

SAID DJINNIT, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the Africa Union, said the question of financing by the United Nations of peacekeeping operations undertaken by the African Union or under its authority through regular assessed contributions had been gathering momentum over the past few years.  The African Union’s constitution had granted the body the right to intervene in States, which had led to the creation of the Peace and Security Council.  Once the first African Union mission had been launched and the question of financial support had arisen, all eyes had turned to “this mother institution, the United Nations and its Security Council”.  There was no doubt that the United Nations and the African Union had been working closely together, and the Union was still discussing ways to set up peace facilities with the assistance of the “G-8 Plus-Plus” and other innovative financial partners and arrangements.

But, no matter how many innovative ideas and plans that were debated, none could top the tenets of the United Nations Charter and the authority of the Security Council to maintain international peace and security.  He recalled that former Secretary-General Kofi Annan had first suggested the notion of financing of African Union missions through United Nations channels.  There had been talk among the African Union Commission and the United Nations of the Organization providing, on a case-by-case basis, resources for peace and security activities of regional organizations, especially the African Union.  Whatever the case, the situation had become more pressing in recent months with the deployment of African Union peacekeepers in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region.  A careful look at the complexity of that operation had led the African Union Commission to call on the Council to consider the possibility of United Nations financing for African Union-led peacekeeping missions under Chapter VIII of the Charter.

That question was at the very heart of cooperation between the United Nations, its Security Council and regional organizations, he said.  Increasingly, regional organizations were being called upon to operate in crisis situations and must shoulder their responsibility.  At the same time, Africans believed that their home-grown organizations and institutions must be able take up their responsibilities at a time when the United Nations peacekeeping capacity was being stretched even further.  It was clear that the Organization needed to examine Chapter VIII of the Charter with a view to updating it to reflect current international circumstances, he added.

The African Union Commission hoped that the Security Council would set up a follow-up mechanism to discuss such financing measures.  What was at stake was the credibility and effectiveness of regional organizations, he said.  Finding a solution would affect the relationship of such organizations and, ultimately, affect the credibility of the Security Council, the premier world body charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.

RODOLPHE ADADA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Congo, said the subject of today’s debate spoke to the new vision of an Africa that affirmed its ambition to deal with the challenges of peace, security and development.  Today’s debate reflected the increasing need of the United Nations to attach particular importance to the role regional organizations could play in managing crises.  The 2005 World Summit had recognized the capacities of those organizations, and the Council had recognized that, due to their proximity to areas of conflict, regional organizations could contribute to stabilizing the situations.

He said Africa continued to improve the tools for the prevention, management and settlement of conflicts, often through the intervention of great African leaders.  There was also more cooperation with the international community.  The African Union had chosen to harmonize actions with the United Nations in a beneficial partnership.  In November last year, leaders at the African Union meeting in Addis Ababa had launched an appeal for close cooperation under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter to strengthen African Union peacekeeping operations.  The Peace and Security Council of the African Union had also emphasized the central role of regional organizations, such as in Darfur, Côte d’Ivoire and Somalia.

The new pragmatic approach had, up to now, only had a limited scope in the Council, he said.  The Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and the African Union of November 2006 laid the foundation for a more formal cooperation mechanism.  Cooperation in planning and management of conflict situations, as well as in training, logistical support and financial assistance, should be strengthened.  The region was engaged in a bold policy of conflict management, but worked under great restraints.  More coherence was needed in joint actions in conflict prevention and resolution.  The Council had often intervened after a conflict had broken out, but prevention was much cheaper than peacekeeping.  He hoped that an institutional relation would be established between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, and that there would be more coherence and effectiveness in the partnership.

NANA EFFAH APENTENG ( Ghana) said that, beyond the requirements of a strong African Union peacekeeping capacity necessary for containing immediate dangers, “we cannot resign ourselves to a mindset that accepts perpetual conflict on our continent”.  South African President Thabo Mbeki’s vision of an African renaissance was inseparable from the Millennium Development Goals.  “Therefore, much as we attach great importance to capacity-building in peacekeeping, we consider the far less costly strategy of conflict prevention to be the path to the empowerment of African States, so that we can become the true masters of our destiny,” he said.

In the endeavour to realize a new era of peace and stability in Africa, the United Nations was an indispensable ally, he continued.  Indeed, even if Chapter VIII of the Charter did not explicitly prescribe a role for regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security, the imperatives of history and the current situation on the African continent would still have dictated the need for a close and symbiotic relationship between the African Union and the Security Council.  That was evident from the substantial investments that the world body continued to make in the peace and development process in Africa.

The grave instability and dire humanitarian situations in various parts of the African continent sometimes led one to question whether the vision of an African renaissance had been wholeheartedly embraced by Africa’s Governments and peoples.  At the same time, he stressed that the effectiveness of the African Union as a partner in peacekeeping did not depend solely on its ability to mobilize adequate financial resources and logistical support.  “It also has much to do with the extent to which the AU can transcend any negative constraints on its capabilities resulting from its internal political dynamics,” he said, adding that it was also essential for the African Union to pay close attention to the implications of the integrated approach to United Nations peace operations that was emerging as the preferred model.

Recognizing that varying national interests often clashed, thus preventing decisive action even in the face of unspeakable atrocity, Ghana wished to caution against stretching the politically expedient idea of African leadership in peacekeeping too far, lest it became another paralyzing dogma.  Even if co-deployment between the United Nations and regional bodies represented the most viable alternative to traditional peacekeeping, the overriding objective for the international community in such situations should be the interests of innocent civilian victims of conflict, who deserved adequate protection.  He hastened to add that, more often than not, decision-making at the United Nations itself had occasionally been held hostage by vested interests, not necessarily limited to the most powerful members.  The internal dynamics of both the United Nations and the African Union had impacted on their relationship with each other, and not always positively.  “These factors need to be carefully considered, if realism must prevail in the partnership between the UN and AU,” he said.

IMRON COTAN, Secretary-General of the Department for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, said relations among nations nowadays featured four important processes -- multilateralism, regionalism, interregional partnership and regional collaboration.  Drafters of the United Nations Charter had been visionary about the yet-to-come regionalism when they had included Chapter VIII into the Charter.  That Chapter reflected the sense of pragmatism regarding the fact that the United Nations would not always be able to achieve its objectives alone.  Contributions of regional organizations to the maintenance of peace and security and the promotion of economic and socio-political progress were increasing.

He said there were three scenarios on how the United Nations and regional organizations might be able to nurture their relations regarding conflict resolution.  They might develop a joint mission, which required complementarity of resources.  The United Nations could resume a mission previously under the auspices of a regional organization.  Regional organizations, finally, could take responsibility for the continuation of a United Nations initiated peace mission, such as the European Union Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Another scenario could be a subcontracting one, by which the United Nations would task a regional organization to do all or part of its work.  Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations should be developed on the basis of equal partnership, but regional arrangements should not, in any way, substitute for the role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security.

He welcomed the work that had been done regarding cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union.  He was encouraged by the declaration on “Enhancing United Nations-African Union Cooperation: Framework for the 10-Year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union” and the joint African Union-United Nations action plan for United Nations assistance to African Union peacekeeping capacity-building.   Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, particularly the African Union, was a significant multilateral engagement, to which all must contribute.  Regional organizations could play a bigger role in contributing to the maintenance of international peace and security and in the pursuit of more acceptable and comprehensive solutions to conflicts in various regions.

NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER ( Qatar) said that the authors of the United Nations Charter realized that cooperation between the Organization and regional agencies was the linchpin in the collective efforts to safeguard international peace and security.  Chapter VIII of the Charter still provided a generally acceptable framework for the nature of the relationship between the United Nations -- especially the Security Council -- and regional organizations.  Furthermore, since regional and subregional bodies were in a better position to understand the root causes of conflicts in their areas, the leading role they could play assumed special significance. 

He also said that the role played by regional organizations, especially the African Union, had increased in the areas of conflict-prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, as well as in the areas of disarmament, the prevention of arms proliferation, the protection of civilians and natural disasters.  Moreover, the partnership experience between the African Union and the United Nations in peacemaking had shown the great possibilities and great benefit such cooperation could yield.  Lastly, it was imperative to continue addressing the possible forms of partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations, including the provision of support and resources to the regional and subregional organizations, and the holding of regular meetings between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations on maintaining international peace and security.

PETER BURIAN ( Slovakia) said that close cooperation with regional organizations was indispensable for several reasons.  Among them, those organizations had the ability to collect and share lessons learned relevant to specific circumstances, and they understood the local and regional specifics.  The influence and trust they enjoyed was often much stronger than that of global institutions, and they could embed national efforts in a regional context.  Cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union in the maintenance of international peace and security belonged to the most productive and successful endeavours of recent years.  Several conflict situations had been contained and tensions reduced in African countries, thanks to the Union’s involvement with the United Nations.  At the same time, that partnership had not yet reached its full potential and, thus, it should be further developed.

In that regard, he said that more attention, expertise and resources should be given to assist Africa in building its own capacities and improving existing efforts in the areas of peace, security and prosperity.  That international investment “will pay off”.  There was an urgent need for extended and improved capacities, capabilities and mechanisms of the African Union to deal with crisis situations like those in Darfur and Somalia.  He urged President Omer al-Bashir of the Sudan to extend full cooperation to the United Nations and the African Union in the joint efforts to bring lasting peace and genuine stability to the whole of the Sudan.  He was also gravely concerned about the current security and humanitarian situation in Somalia.  He fully supported the efforts of the African Union in that regard, and commended those countries that were providing troops and logistical and financial support to the Union’s Mission in Somalia. 

The global partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations, including the African Union, should be cultivated, he said.  The latter groups should play a bigger role in mobilizing efforts to address common regional and global security threats, including the illicit small arms trafficking and illegal activities of non-State actors in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  All regional organizations should contribute to the fight against those threats, as no region was immune to them.  Regional cooperation and support was also essential in the field of security sector reform, where local ownership was a “sine qua non” for its success and sustainability.  He commended some positive examples in the area of confidence-building, where the African Union, together with its subregional partners, had proven to be increasingly effective, such as in the Ivorian conflict and support for the adoption of the Pact on Peace, Security and Development in the Great Lakes Region.

JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIÈRE (France), aligning himself with the statement on behalf of the European Union, said Chapter VIII provided for a special framework for relations between the United Nations and regional organizations.  The African Union had played a driving role in advancing that approach, as had the European Union.  The Security Council had benefited from the efforts made by the African Union, ECOWAS, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other subregional organizations in terms of managing crises in Africa and deploying peacekeeping forces there.  In places such as Burundi, the African Union or subregional organizations had opened the way to settlement.  Now was the time to deepen that cooperation.  It was desirable for the United Nations to develop cooperation with other regional organizations, as well.  Such relations must be based on complementarity and the respect for the initial responsibility of the Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.

More and more, France and the European Union were involved in maintaining peace by working to build capacity for regional organizations, he said.  In cooperation with the United Nations, two operations had been deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Such cooperation was also important regarding the situation in Darfur.  Capacity-building in Africa to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts was a priority for the European Union that should allow regional organizations to better meet objectives they had set for themselves.  The Department of Peacekeeping Operations could also contribute in developing a partnership between the United Nations and the African Union.  Efforts had also been made bilaterally under a programme initiated by France.  He welcomed the Security Council President’s proposal to ask for a report by the Secretary-General on the means to strengthen United Nations support for the African Union.  Such a report would also allow for examination of the possibilities of deepening the dialogue between the Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.

ALFREDO SUESCUM ( Panama) said the task of maintenance of international peace and security was shared by the General Assembly and Security Council.  The Council had the primary responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security, while the Assembly might consider general principles and make recommendations.  The drafters of the Charter had also foreseen the importance of regional organizations.  Often, those organizations were in the best position to promote a lasting solution to conflicts.  According to the Charter, every effort must be made through those regional organizations, in order to achieve settlement of conflicts.

He said cooperation between regional organizations and the United Nations was recognition of the complementarity and comparative advantages available to regional organizations.  However, the operational scope of regional organizations had been limited due to a lack of logistical and financial resources.  Among regional organizations, the African Union had taken a leading role, and the Council must support and cooperate with that organization.  Also, cooperation with the African Union must recognize the need to develop the Union’s capacities, among other ways through training and logistical support.  It was also important to explore new financing schemes for joint operations, and it was essential to keep channels of communication open between the United Nations and regional organizations.

JOHAN C. VERBEKE ( Belgium) said cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union, subregional organizations in Africa and the European Union had increased in recent years.  While that development was welcome, such cooperation was complex, and the same issues arose over and over again, including how such organizations would be led and what would be the role of the United Nations.  Belgium hoped the Council would explore ways to better integrate the work of regional organizations and especially consider further support for the European Union’s peace facility with the African Union.

He said that regional and subregional organizations must be able to shoulder their responsibilities effectively.  It was necessary to consider which paths could be explored that could draw on the best efforts of both the wider United Nations, the Security Council and regional organizations such as the African Union.  Coordination was key, but, as set out in the Charter, any cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations must be approved by the Security Council.  So the efforts of any regional or subregional organization in the area of peace and security should not prejudge the work of the Council in that area.  Overall, he hoped that the Security Council would continue with innovative, flexible approaches to cooperation with regional actors.

ALDO MANTOVANI (Italy), aligning himself with the European Union, said that, as a result of 50 years in peacekeeping and peacebuilding, the United Nations had much to offer the African Union in the way of technical assistance and capacity-building.  In turn, the African Union’s impressive progress in managing and settling African conflicts meant that much could be learned from that body as well, particularly from the workings of its Peace and Security Council.  Italy welcomed steps taken recently on a “more strategic and comprehensive” interaction between the African Union and United Nations, as expressed in Security Council resolutions 1625 (2005) and 1631 (2005), the 10-Year Capacity Plan and Security Council presidential statement S/PRST/2006/39.

While it was possible for the Council to bestow a mandate to other organizations to help maintain peace and security, he stressed that “delegating does not mean disengaging”.  Indeed, the Council should provide support and guidance to regional actors in the implementation of its mandate.  Further, the Council should explore the possibility of drawing up guidelines on collaboration, keeping in mind the importance of respecting “homogenous standards” and “basic shared principles”, and avoiding the perception of a double standard.

He said the African Union could benefit from cooperation with other regional organizations, such as the European Union, which would continue to do its part as spelled out by that body’s Ministerial Council earlier in March.  It was also important to strengthen the capacity of the Commission of the African Union and the executive branches of subregional African organizations.  Efforts towards that end by the United Nations Secretariat and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was welcome.

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said that establishing effective approaches aimed at overcoming present-day challenges required enhanced practical cooperation with regional organizations.  As the United Nations sought to step up its cooperation with the African Union, the Organization must draw on the efforts of Africans themselves, particularly African leaders and regional groups, such as ECOWAS and others.  The Russian Federation had always believed that the Security Council should bolster and closely monitor the efforts of the African Union, as was the case currently in the Sudan’s troubled Darfur region.

The Russian Federation hoped that today’s discussion would provide an opportunity to build on the relevant call to enhance such cooperation, which had been made by world leaders at the 2005 World Summit.  He hoped the debate would also provide a chance for the Security Council to consider ways to deepen cooperation with the African Union and other African regional and subregional actors.

EMYR JONES PARRY ( United Kingdom), aligning himself with the statement on behalf of the European Union, said cooperation between the United Nations and African regional and subregional organizations was an issue that went to the heart of the challenges that faced peacekeeping in Africa.  Asking how the dimensions of violent conflict could be best understood, he said many conflicts in Africa were civil wars with regional dynamics.  As regional organizations had a deeper understanding of such conflicts, partnerships made sense.  Cooperation was also important in the case of international terrorism.  Regarding how a peacekeeping operation should be structured, he said the sort of operation deployed would depend on the political and geographical context and, often, a United Nations operation with a regional component would be needed.

He said there was no one size fits all for cooperation with regional organizations under Chapter VIII.  It might be useful for the United Nations to work together with the African Union and other regional organizations on a framework for cooperation in the most likely hybrid scenarios.  That would help reaching faster agreement on deployment of an operation.  There must be predictable and sustainable support for regional operations, as it had always been a struggle to keep resources flowing for longer than a couple of months.  He welcomed the request for a report by the Secretary-General on how the United Nations could support arrangements under Chapter VIII.  Formal funding might not be possible, but other assistance should be automatic.

There were three challenges facing the United Nations and African regional organizations.  The first was that the architecture for dealing with partnerships must be clearly defined and resourced.  There was also a need for close cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union on the ground; that was pertinent in the situation faced in Darfur.  The three-phase approach agreed on by the African Union, the United Nations and the Sudan in November was being blocked by Sudanese President al-Bashir.  The time had come for the African Union and the United Nations to insist that the President fulfil the commitments made.  The Council should also accelerate action on Zimbabwe, to match that of the African Union and SADC.

There was a need to strengthen interoperability on the ground, he said.  Joint training, joint best practices and sharing of lower-level doctrine were all crucial in ensuring that the two organizations were capable of working together on the ground.

LUIS ENRIQUE CHAVEZ ( Peru) said one of the main principles guiding cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations was the importance of conflict prevention, early warning and rapid response.  The framework for cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union in the maintenance of international peace and security was contained in Chapter VIII, Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.  The United Nations must finance peacekeeping operations that were within the purview of the Organization, and all Member States must provide access to those operations.  The universal nature of participation by United Nations Members must not be undermined based on origin, language or culture.  The best way to guarantee international action was to maintain a credible standby force.  Also, cooperation with regional organizations must be flexible.

He said regional organizations had a comparative advantage in recognizing problems, as well as a holistic understanding of them, including aspects of security, human rights, cultural rights and development.  There was, therefore, a need to have greater operational cooperation with regional organizations, with the African continent requiring greater attention.  However, peace was more than cessation of hostilities.  A long-term approach and exit strategy must focus on the need to ensure stability in a region through institution-building and strengthening of democratic governance. 

LIU ZHENMIN ( China) praised the efforts undertaken by South Africa in recent years to promote cooperation with the African Union and to ensure that that body’s efforts met with the greatest success possible.   China supported enhanced cooperation with regional organizations such as the African Union, and believed that the United Nations was a “big family”, with peace and stability resting on cooperation among neighbours and friends.  On such cooperation in his region, he highlighted the efforts of the Shanghai Development Corporation, among others.

According to the Charter, regional organizations could play a role in international peace and security, he said.  What was needed was concrete action on the part of the General Assembly and the Security Council to strengthen partnerships with regional groups, particularly the African Union.  The Organization must move quickly and effectively to help the African Union address some specific issues, especially a multitude of challenges that were arising from a lack of trained personnel and financial resources.  The United Nations should support efforts to boost such training and ensure that African Union peace missions were able to play their unique role.

JACKIE WOLCOTT SANDERS ( United States) said her delegation believed that peace and security in Africa was an important issue for the Council, and the efforts of the African Union to respond to security situations on the continent should be supported, particularly its missions in the Sudan and Somalia.  As the Union was designing its own peace and security architecture, it was important to ensure that it was able to carry out its duties effectively.  The African Union currently had some 7,700 peacekeepers in Darfur working assiduously to try to end the genocide there and create conditions conducive to bringing about a peaceful end to the crisis.  The African Union had worked hard to implement agreements on the ground, but it was overmatched by the conditions it faced.

The United States supported efforts of the African Union to address peace and security issues across the peacebuilding spectrum.  But such efforts could not succeed if they were not coordinated with the work of the United Nations and the wider international community.  She noted that joint United Nations and regional initiatives had led to significant changes throughout West Africa and the Great Lakes region.  At the same time, the United States believed that assessed contributions to the United Nations must be used only for Security Council mandated operations, under Security Council and United Nations control.

The United Nations and the African Union should, nevertheless, work more closely together.  Advice and experts from other partners, such as the European Union, United States, United Kingdom, NATO and others, could provide valuable support to the African Union’s efforts.  The United States had consistently supported the African Union’s work, and had provided some $350 million to AMIS over the past three years.  Her country would continue to provide such support “directly where it could be most effective”, she said, adding that her Government would also continue to provide African regional and subregional organizations with support for capacity-building, training, equipment and other logistical support.

KHALED ALY ELBAKLY ( Egypt) noted that the United Nations Charter encouraged the pacific settlement of disputes through regional organizations, either on the initiative of the States concerned or by referral from the Security Council.  Egypt had presented a concept paper to the African Union’s Peace and Security Council in December 2006, on enhancing relations between the United Nations and the African Union.  His country reiterated the call contained in that concept paper, namely to intensify meetings between the United Nations Security Council and African Union Peace and Security Council, the United Nations Secretariat and the African Union Commission, and the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission and the African Union Peace and Security Council.

He said the Council should also send a clear political message to renew the will to revitalize common cooperation frameworks with regional organizations.  The Council should “open the door for the establishment of a mechanism” to further such cooperation frameworks, while ensuring the consent of the parties before implementation; adhering to the principles of impartiality and non-interference in domestic affairs; and respecting the territorial integrity and political independence of States.

ABDALMAHMOOD A. MOHAMAD ( Sudan) said he attached great importance to the issue of cooperation between the Security Council and regional organizations, in particular with the African Union.  It was a very pertinent theme in light of the current experience of the African Union force in Darfur.  The African Union had experience in Darfur; it had a mission there and it had shown that it could assist in establishing peace and security.  The Sudan was of the view that there was no need for any new terms of reference in this area because Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter said it all.  What was required was making Chapter VIII fully operational without any conditions on such cooperation.

The United Nations should provide financial, technical and logistical support in a partnership under the United Nations Charter.  The tendency of some countries to withhold financial support to the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) was not a healthy sign, as it made the African forces hostage to handouts.  What was also required was the full backing of the Security Council for the political process.

Replying to the representative of the United States, who had described the situation in the Darfur as genocide, Mr. Mohamad said the United States was itself a glass house and should be the last to give other countries lessons.  He also quoted from an article written by the British Foreign Minister in which the problem of Darfur was not considered as genocide but a problem of climatic change and shortage of resources.  Sustainable peace and security in Darfur was the priority for the Sudan, and he welcomed the efforts of the Special Envoys of the African Union and the United Nations, expressing the hope that all parties that had not yet signed the Abuja Agreement would do so.

JOHAN LØVALD ( Norway) said that possible contributions by regional and subregional organizations should always be considered when planning new peacekeeping operations.  In order to streamline such cooperation, there seemed to be a need for the United Nations to set common standards and establish a better framework for entering new agreements.  The advantages of United Nations-led operations included legitimacy, financing, substantive planning, troop generation and logistical support, while regional organizations operating independently would be limited to their own capacity.

Turning to regional cooperation in Africa, he said that, while the continent had suffered a number of serious conflicts that had hampered the development of many countries, it was clear that African leaders were now taking more responsibility for preventing conflicts and building peace.  In West Africa, for example, peace had been achieved through the active cooperation between the United Nations and ECOWAS.  In Burundi, the coordination of African Union and United Nations peacekeeping operations had proven the potential of increased collaboration between the world body and regional organizations.  The African Union and its mechanisms for peace and security, especially its Commission, Peace and Security Council and Standby Force could all play very important roles.

Through the African Union, countries were currently responding to the challenges of Darfur and Somalia, he said, adding:  “The international community must stand by the AU in the pioneering efforts to achieve peace through complex operations that present great challenges.”  For its part, Norway was committed to supporting the United Nations in Darfur and would strongly urge the Sudan to accept the Organization’s support package to AMIS.  The Norwegian Government was extremely concerned about the critical humanitarian and human rights situations there.  At the same time, the international community must stand by the African Union as it sought to bring stability to Somalia, where the situation, though fragile, still held out a chance for peace.  On the growing discussion about the possibility of the United Nations funding African Union peacekeeping operations, those talks were important and clear guidelines were needed.

ELBIO ROSSELLI ( Uruguay) said it was within the region itself that the consequences of a conflict were felt immediately, as conflicts often spread to neighbouring countries.  The region might also better understand the background to a conflict, an issue that should be discussed within the United Nations, including in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.  It was difficult, under Chapter VIII, to maintain peacekeeping forces solely by the contributions of regional organizations.  It might be contrary to the principle of geographical representation and might also imperil the impartiality of the peacekeeping forces, as States involved in peacekeeping should not have an interest in issues playing out during a conflict.

He said special coordination was needed with regional organizations, which often were different from each other and could act on different levels.  The proper application of mechanisms for such cooperation could be found in Chapter VIII of the Charter.  An example of Latin American and Caribbean involvement in peacekeeping operations was the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), where contingents from many regional countries cooperated with those of other countries.  Entities like the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Development Bank had contributed to peace and development projects, experiences that could guide the Council.

FRANCIS K BUTAGIRA (Uganda), noting that the African Union was increasingly engaged in efforts to promote peace and stability on the continent, said that, quite often, enforcement actions were needed, hence the cooperation envisaged under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter between the Organization and regional bodies.  However, primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security lay with the Security Council under the Charter’s Article 24.  It followed, therefore, that any derogations under Chapter VIII did not mean abdication of responsibility by the Council, especially when considering the financing of any operations undertaken by the African Union or its member States.

It was important to consider how to finance operations undertaken on the Council’s behalf or with its authorization, he said, pointing out that peace operations in Africa could take various forms.  For instance, action by the African Union might be mandated by the Security Council, as in the case of the African Union peacekeeping operation in Somalia under resolution 1744 (2006), or the Council might come in to reinforce or take over a mission initiated by African Union member States, as with the case of Burundi.

He suggested the establishment of an entity along the lines of the Central Emergency Response Fund for Humanitarian activities.  Other areas of cooperation could include United Nations contributions towards enhancing the capacity of the African Union’s early warning mechanism in Addis Ababa, or the establishment of an intelligence fusion cell, to be set up in the Addis Ababa early warning unit.  Cooperation could also cover the supply of equipment and other logistical support to African Union peacekeeping operations, including strengthening the regional body’s Standby Force.

JULIUS ZAYA SHIWEVA ( Namibia) said the United Nations played an important role in legitimizing international action, including actions by regional organizations.  Given the surge in the demand for peacekeeping operations, particularly in Africa, it made sense to discuss how the relationship between the African Union and the United Nations could be strengthened.  Regional organizations, such as the African Union, could play a complementary and supportive role to the United Nations, which could benefit from cooperating with regional bodies if their capacities were strengthened.  At the same time, operational linkages should be streamlined and formalized.  It was essential to establish a framework to make practical cooperation operational with effective coordination mechanisms and measures that would replace the current ad hoc arrangements.

In that regard, he welcomed the recent signing of the United Nations-African Union Joint Declaration, saying his country appreciated that a multidisciplinary African Union Peacekeeping Support Team had been established in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to serve as a coordination point for all related issues.  While capacity-building was crucial in ensuring the effective conduct and management of peacekeeping operations, the provision of logistical and financial resources to facilitate rapid-deployment capability was crucial.  In that regard, it was necessary to establish a mechanism to provide predictable United Nations funding for African Union-led operations, which could not simply be left to the mercy of voluntary contributions.  While partners and donors had done a tremendous job in financing such operations, the United Nations must take over that responsibility.

He added that the African Union and subregional organizations had often undertaken peacekeeping operations with United Nations consent, but without any assurance from the Organization that such missions would be transformed into United Nations peacekeeping missions within a given time frame.  That put pressure on regional bodies to continue with limited logistical and financial resources.  To alleviate that problem, it was critical for the United Nations and the African Union to enter into an agreement that clearly stipulated that any African Union or subregional-led peacekeeping operation, with United Nations consent, would be transformed into a United Nations mission within a defined time frame, preferably six months.

KENZO OSHIMA ( Japan) said regional organizations obviously benefited from better knowledge of on-the-ground realities and were often better positioned to understand the root causes of tensions and conflicts affecting States in particular areas.  Such first-hand knowledge and information allowed them to play an essential role in helping to resolve lingering issues and prevent conflict.

There were many examples of cooperation between the United Nations and regional or subregional organizations, notably in Africa, where joint efforts were leading to significant progress in the area of peace and security, he said.  At the same time, it was clear that there was room for further efforts to fully realize the advantages to be derived from effective implementation of the provisions envisaged in Chapter VIII of the Charter, particularly in addressing some of the serious challenges now before the Security Council, including the situations in Darfur and Somalia.

With those conflicts in mind, he said, it was necessary to consider how the United Nations could best support relevant regional initiatives, led by the African Union, which itself was developing into a “vibrant and action-oriented” organization.  While both the United Nations and the African Union should tackle immediate challenges by taking appropriate measures on a case-by-case basis, it would be worthwhile, from a longer-term perspective, to consider carefully how the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council could best interact, and to ensure that the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter were put to effective use, so that interactive relationships were “anchored firmly” and backed by the Organization’s broader membership.

ROBERT HILL ( Australia) said that, given the shared responsibilities and interwoven interests of their member States, regional organizations and arrangements were often uniquely positioned to respond to challenges to regional peace and security.  Their efforts should be complementary to United Nations purposes and principles and, correctly, were often undertaken in close cooperation with the Organization.  However, there was room to enhance that interaction, and Australia welcomed regular dialogue between the United Nations and regional organizations, including exchange of information to avoid duplication of effort, sharing of operational experiences, joint training and personnel exchanges.  Together, the United Nations and regional organizations must develop more proactive strategies for heading off the likely emergence or, often, the re-emergence of conflict.

He said his country had played an active role in leading regional responses in Timor-Leste, Bougainville, Fiji and the Solomon Islands.  Participation by neighbours, together with the United Nations, had helped to ensure the legitimacy of those operations.  In those and other examples, the participation of regional personnel had resulted in a level of ownership and belief in regional solutions to regional problems.  The engagement of regional States had helped to ensure appropriate treatment of cultural sensitivities on the ground, as neighbouring States were often more familiar with the cultural context in which they operated.  The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum was the Asia-Pacific’s primary and most inclusive forum for multilateral security dialogue and cooperation.  Australia was currently promoting civilian-to-military and military-to-military cooperation on disaster relief within that framework, and planned to co-host with Indonesia, in early 2008, an exercise to develop standard operating procedures for use in regional disaster responses.

Welcoming the African Union’s commitment to resolving African conflicts, he applauded that organization’s significant role in efforts to mediate and provide peacekeeping forces in Burundi, Darfur and Somalia.  The African Union should be a priority partner for the Security Council, and cooperation between the United Nations and the regional body should be enhanced, including through capacity-building support.  Individual States and other regional organizations could also help to build the African Union’s capacity, which would benefit all.  In a globalized world, peace and security on one continent had “flow-on” benefits.

ATTIA OMAR MUBARAK ( Libya) said cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations must be strengthened, particularly in the areas of conflict prevention, management and settlement.  If regional bodies were to have a greater role, the burden on the Security Council would be reduced and the legitimacy of missions increased.  If cooperation were to be carried out on an institutional basis, it would lead to the sharing of efforts and experience.  Libya hoped that Darfur would lead to a resolution that would take into account the local and regional elements of the problems, as well as the principle of non-intervention in a country’s internal affairs.

Reaffirming the importance of United Nations support for national and regional efforts, he drew attention to the importance of a summit meeting held in Tripoli last month between the Presidents of the Sudan and Chad at the initiative of Libyan President Muammar al-Qadhafi.  That meeting showed the will of the leaders to find a peaceful solution to conflicts in the region.  An advisory meeting would also be organized to seek a solution to Darfur.  The Foreign Ministers of the Sudan and Chad had been invited, as had envoys of the United Nations, African Union, European Union and the United States.  Libya supported the involvement of regional organizations in the efforts of the Peacebuilding Commission.  The main challenge of cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union was finding practical and balanced arrangements.

LE LUONG MINH ( Viet Nam) said that, now more than ever, there was a pressing need to draw on the resources of regional organizations and arrangements in responding to international peace and security challenges.  There had been a dramatic increase in the range of partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations in peacekeeping, peacemaking and responses to humanitarian emergencies.  Counter-terrorism had been another area of meaningful cooperation.  Although not always successful, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Organization of American States, European Union, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), ASEAN and the African Union had made worthy contributions to restoring and maintaining peace and security.

He said the African Union, since its inception in 1999, had proactively contributed to mediation, reconciliation and reconstruction processes in many regional countries.  Its contributions were commendable, but given the many challenges of the second largest and second most populous continent, still torn apart by civil wars, ethnic strife, extreme poverty and humanitarian tragedies, the regional body should be playing an even greater role.  In so doing, it should enjoy greater cooperation from the United Nations, including in building the capacity of its peacekeeping forces, so as to prevent countries from relapsing into conflict, poverty and marginalization.

Viet Nam recognized the urgency of finding lasting solutions to armed conflicts in Africa, which were depriving many countries of much-needed socio-economic development, he said, adding that his country supported measures to ensure the continuation of emergency humanitarian assistance.  Hopefully, in implementing the joint November 2006 declaration between the United Nations Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on enhancing cooperation, new measures would be taken to respond more effectively to the needs of peace and security in Africa.  Peace on a continent long torn apart by protracted conflicts could only prevail when cooperation and trust did so too.

MICHEL KAFANDO ( Burkina Faso) said most of the issues that came before the Security Council concerned Africa, whether situations in countries embroiled in conflict or in those just emerging from conflict.  It was, therefore, a matter of course that the United Nations had moved to work closer with regional organizations on the continent in seeking long-term peace and development in countries like Somalia, Guinea-Bissau and others.  The Council, as well as the wider United Nations, had also stepped up efforts to support subregional initiatives launched by other intergovernmental organizations with better knowledge of on-the-ground realities.

He highlighted cooperation efforts to ensure peace and national reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire, among other countries in West Africa, noting that, while broad support for the African Union’s efforts across the continent had been evident, it was necessary for the United Nations to boost efforts to ensure the enhancement of the regional body’s planning and deployment capabilities.  There was also a need to ensure that the African Union’s initiatives were adequately financed and that its decisions, missions and outcomes of its other efforts were better integrated into the Council’s work.

AUGUSTINE P. MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania) said the Council should examine practices already in place in Africa for establishing norms of cooperation and conflict prevention -- such as the “formal, quiet diplomacy” and “wise counselling, peer consultation and mediation” undertaken by the African Union and by the Organization of African Unity before it.  The Council should also study the African peer review mechanism.  Indeed, subregional initiatives supported efforts in Southern Sudan and Somalia, as negotiated by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the African Union.  Meanwhile, the Secretariat had its own mediation support facility, which deserved attention and support from the Security Council.

He said the combined moral authority of the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council formed a powerful message, especially when backed by a unanimous resolution.  Yet, political efforts by the two organs were sometimes ad hoc and untimely.  However, examples from the past showed that there was room for periodic consultations, as in June 2006, when the Council had visited Eastern Africa and held a meeting in Addis Ababa, and in November 2006, when joint deliberations on Darfur had been held in the same city.

The African Union had proven quick to deploy its resources and holding conflicts at bay before the United Nations came in, as in Burundi, Liberia and Sierra Leone, he said.  Discussions on how to address the Darfur crisis raised new possibilities for strengthening cooperation for joint deployment in that region.  The United Nations and the African Union should work jointly to strengthen the “country configuration” of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Organizational Committee to ensure successful post-conflict reconstruction.

THOMAS MATUSSEK (Germany), speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed deep concern about the security and humanitarian situation in Africa, and regret over the negative response by the Sudanese Government to implementation of the United Nations heavy support package for AMIS and deployment of the hybrid operation, as it had agreed last year with the United Nations and the African Union.  The European Union called on that Government to stand by its commitments and cooperate fully with the United Nations and the African Union in establishing an effective peacekeeping presence in Darfur.  The regional body’s member States had committee €400 million for AMIS in Darfur and were prepared to provide further means to uphold that Mission’s vital presence under challenging circumstances.

Noting that the European Union supported the African Union’s African peace and security architecture through a wide range of measures, he said it sought to enhance Africa’s peacekeeping capacity and warmly welcomed similar efforts by the United Nations.  The European Development Fund’s African Peace Facility supported African peacekeeping in Darfur, the Central African Republic and the Comoros, besides addressing African Union needs in institutional capacity-building.  To date, support had been provided for a long-term assessment of African Union and subregional needs, strengthening of the Peace and Security Department of the African Union Commission and establishment of an African Union Standby Force.  The capacities of African subregional organizations in conflict prevention were further supported through substantial regional programmes financed by the European Development Fund.  Tripartite capacity programmes involving ECOWAS were also under consideration.

There was a clear need for sustained and predictable funding for African peacekeeping operations, he said.  The European Union would consider its role in that endeavour, and other donors would also have to contribute significantly.  In the framework of the European security and defence policy, the European Union had twice supported the United Nations peacekeeping Mission during critical phases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  It was also greatly interested in strengthening the peacebuilding perspective of cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union.  Security and development went hand in hand, while good governance, the rule of law and protection of human rights were also vital, both to conflict prevention and peacebuilding.  The European Union Development Fund would continue to support the needs of its African partners in that respect.  The European Union also sought to reinforce political dialogue with the African Union and subregional organizations, and was evolving a joint strategy based on ownership and mutual accountability, to be adopted at the European Union-African Summit in Lisbon in December.

JEAN-MARIE EHOUZOU ( Benin) said his country was one of the authors of the presidential statement adopted in Nairobi on 19 November 2004 on institutional relations between the United Nations and the African Union, which offered an opportunity to implement Chapter VIII of the Charter.  Through the establishment of an operational mechanism for conflict prevention, the regional organization had taken greater responsibility for the resolution of crises on the continent, a commitment that made it a special partner of the Security Council.  It was important that Council decisions be taken in close consultation with the States concerned, in order to enjoy full synergy with regional organizations.

He said the strengthening of the world body’s relationship with regional organizations could only be beneficial if carried out with strict respect for Chapter VIII.  The African Union and the United Nations should conclude an agreement to make troops available as soon as the establishment of the African Standby Force would permit.  Benin welcomed the 2006 Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of a framework programme for capacity-building in the African Union, and asked the Council to consider proposals for a seminar held in December 2005 in Cotonou by the ad hoc working group on the prevention and management of conflicts in Africa.  It included ensuring connections between the early warning systems of the African Union and the United Nations; ensuring rapid implementation of decisions taken; capacity-building; and better coordination between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council.

JOSEPH NSENGIMANA ( Rwanda) said there was no doubt that regional organizations, particularly the African Union, played a central role in maintaining international peace and security.  Regional and subregional bodies had demonstrated the capacity to respond more quickly to crises, and they also possessed vital knowledge and a good understanding of local sensitivities and culture.  Rwanda commended the African Union and its troop-contributing countries for their contributions to peacekeeping missions in Burundi, Darfur and, more recently, Somalia.  Peacekeeping in those places was both difficult and dangerous; but, despite that, African States committed troops and resources to peacekeeping out of a genuine political commitment to help nations and societies emerge from conflict into sustainable peace and security.

He said the Charter clearly conferred the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security on the Security Council, so that, when regional organizations undertook peacekeeping duties, they did so on behalf of the Council and the broader United Nations Membership.  It was imperative, therefore, to see greater involvement by that broader Membership in peacekeeping operations undertaken by regional organizations in their name.  AMIS, to which Rwanda was a major troop contributor, had done a commendable job, despite very difficult constraints; the mission had suffered recurring financial crises and crippling logistical problems, such as lack of vehicles.  Often, it had been unable to fly its few helicopters because of a lack of fuel.   Some had said AMIS was ineffective, but it was not possible to be “100 per cent effective” under such constraints.

Clearly, there was tremendous scope for a closer relationship between the United Nations and the African Union, he said.  When the regional body undertook a peacekeeping mission under Chapter VIII of the Charter, the operation should be funded through United Nations assessed contributions.  In addition, adequate logistical support should be provided to ensure the proper sharing of peacekeeping responsibilities, rather than having small countries like Rwanda doing the “heavy lifting”.  The establishment of a hybrid mission in Darfur might well provide a model for future cooperation and joint peacekeeping operations between the United Nations and regional organizations.  There was also tremendous scope for cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union in institutional, operational and human resource capacity-building in the area of peacekeeping.  In that connection, Rwanda welcomed the adoption last November of the 10-year capacity-building programme for the African Union, set out in the “Declaration on Enhancing United Nations-African Union Cooperation”.

MILTON NATHANIEL BARNES ( Liberia) said his country had been a beneficiary of the cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, noting that the Liberian experience could be seen as a “success story” in giving practical meaning to the implementation of Chapter VIII.  Enhancing cooperation with the African Union held the potential for considerable cost savings in rapid response actions by African organizations.

Regional organizations could better organize a timely response to conflict situations, he said, adding that there was an underlying philosophical reason -- African problems required African solutions.  The basis of cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union should be the expansion of capacities.  The most effective solution to poverty in Africa was sustained capacity-building, which would also be the best solution to conflict prevention.  Building sustainable capacity to reduce poverty should be the guiding principle of the United Nations.

YOUCEF YOUSEFI ( Algeria) said the time had come to build a new partnership with the African Union that went beyond a mere recognition of the sacrifices the regional body had made on behalf of the international community in resolving African conflicts.  The United Nations should strive to strengthen its cooperation with the African Union and expand the partnership to address new realities.  Indeed, the Security Council now routinely considered the African Union’s work when taking up conflict situations on the continent.  Such consideration of regional undertakings lent a sense of legitimacy to the Council’s work.

At the same time, there was a need to broaden the Council’s cooperation and to ensure that it devised a clear doctrine for integrating its own activities with those of the African Union.  Indeed, by exploring a hybrid peacekeeping force in Darfur, the Council was taking a significant step towards innovative solutions to such challenges as logistical support and division of labour in complex operations.  It was important, nevertheless, for the international community to focus on capacity-building efforts on the one hand and conflict prevention on the other.  Reality was evolving more quickly than the international community’s practices, and the debate must expand beyond the Security Council to include the General Assembly, which was the sole body that could outline the political, legal and budgetary framework for cooperation.

YAHYA MAHMASSANI, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States, emphasized the “horizontal” cooperation among regional organizations and the Arab League, noting that the latter had a privileged relationship with the African Union, through a 50 per cent shared membership.  The League tried to base its cooperation on a practical approach to ensuring stability and development.  Cooperation had proved effective in helping to solve some crises and was helpful in Darfur and Somalia.

He expressed the hope that the tripartite cooperation among the Arab League, the United Nations and the African Union would be expanded and better coordinated.  While the Council had the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, it needed support for tasks delegated to regional organizations.  The Council should help regional organizations in solving regional conflicts.

The African Union and the Arab League could be in the forefront in playing a positive role in solving regional conflicts, he said.  The two organizations were working together to promote improved coordination of regional mechanisms for peace and security and the eradication of poverty in Africa under the aegis of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).  That was particularly true in the area of collective security measures.  It was self-evident that cooperation and coordination of joint efforts would have tangible impacts in achieving peace and security regionally and in the wider world.

ABDUL WAHAB, Permanent Observer of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said that body had adopted a “New Vision” in December 2005 outlining a 10-year programme of action that included prioritizing multilateral cooperation with regional and intergovernmental organizations.  Moreover, as the 27 countries comprising nearly half the OIC membership were African countries, the continent was central to the Conference’s concerns, and its advancement was also inextricably linked to enhancing the region’s development.  In light of that, the Islamic Development Bank had established the Poverty Alleviation Fund in 2006, with a target of $10 billion in initial capital for the least developed member States.

He went on to say that OIC supported the United Nations initiative to develop a 10-year plan for African regional and subregional organizations, particularly regarding the strengthening of cooperation to develop the African Union’s peacebuilding and conflict-management capacity.  The continental body had played an admirable role in multiple peacekeeping operations, despite severe limitations, while OIC had been playing an active role in mediating and diffusing conflicts in several places in Asia and Africa.

OIC and the Islamic Development Bank wished to closely coordinate with the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, he continued.  There was a unique window of opportunity for cooperation among OIC, the United Nations and the African Union, and the Conference stood ready to promote multifaceted cooperation with all three entities, as well as with other relevant regional and intergovernmental organizations.

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