SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES RECOMMENDATIONS ON DARFUR, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, CÔTE D’IVOIRE CONTAINED IN REPORT ON 14-21 JUNE MISSION TO AFRICA

16 July 2007
SC/9079

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES RECOMMENDATIONS ON DARFUR, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, CÔTE D’IVOIRE CONTAINED IN REPORT ON 14-21 JUNE MISSION TO AFRICA

16 July 2007
Security Council
SC/9079
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5717th Meeting (AM)

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES RECOMMENDATIONS ON DARFUR, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO,

CÔTE D’IVOIRE CONTAINED IN REPORT ON 14-21 JUNE MISSION TO AFRICA

Urges Quick Deployment of Hybrid Force in Darfur, United Nations Funding; Highlights New Agreement between Council, African Union Peace and Security Council

The leaders of the recent Security Council mission to the Sudan today stressed that the 15-nation body should work quickly to approve the deployment of the hybrid United Nations-African Union peacekeeping operation of some 20,000 troops and police to protect civilians in Sudan’s war-ravaged western Darfur region, where some 250,000 people are estimated to have died and more than 2 million uprooted during nearly four years of fighting.

That was among key recommendations included in a report wrapping up the Council diplomats’ 14 to 21 June mission to Africa -– the group visited Ethiopia, Sudan, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo –- in support of ongoing peace efforts across the long-troubled continent.

Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa, who, along with British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, had co-led the Sudan leg of the mission, highlighted another crucial objective: that the Council should request Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to seek the General Assembly’s approval for the United Nations to fund the operation in Darfur, where the efforts of some 7,000 African Union peacekeepers had been hampered by a lack of equipment and money.

Ambassador Kumalo said that, during meetings in Accra, Ghana, African Union officials had assured the Council delegation that once funding matters were addressed, the requisite forces would be committed to the hybrid operation in order to ensure the necessary African character of the hybrid mission, as agreed by the United Nations and Khartoum.

Emphasizing the constructive nature of the talks that had taken place between the diplomats and Sudanese officials in Khartoum, he said that the draft resolution before the Council must reflect the “spirit of the mission”, which had been one of cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and Sudan regarding the situation in Darfur.  The Council members had left Sudan aware of the need to consider a timeline for the deployment of the joint African Union-United Nations operation, so that all stakeholders knew what was expected of them.

Speaking on behalf of Ambassador Jones Parry, Karen Pierce ( United Kingdom) added that everyone knew that there was no military solution to the crisis in Darfur.  It was right that the resolution mandating the hybrid force focused on the political process and the humanitarian tracks.  At the same time, the commitments entered into on all sides must be kept.

On other issues, she joined Ambassador Kumalo in highlighting a new agreement between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, which would allow the two bodies to better harmonize their actions in the interest of peace, security and stability in Africa.  Among other things, the two bodies agreed to bolster their cooperation and to meet at least once a year to discuss common issues and challenges.  They had also agreed on the urgent need to further efforts to achieve reconciliation and humanitarian relief in Somalia.

Jorge Voto-Bernales ( Peru), leader of the Côte d’Ivoire leg of the mission, said that the Council diplomats had underlined their support for the Ouagadougou Agreement, most importantly the ownership of the peace process by the Ivorian parties and people.  They had stressed the importance of a final and durable settlement to the crisis, including meeting the benchmarks leading to the organization of free and fair elections in the country.  The mission had also expressed its serious concern for the persistence of the humanitarian crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, and had called for specific attention to the situation of women, children and elderly.

Reporting on the last leg of the mission -- its 20 June visit to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo -- Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière (France), said that trip had been a useful one, most importantly because it was the Council’s first trip to the country since the first democratic elections in 40 years.  The new political context, therefore, required forging new relationships between the United Nations and newly elected Congolese authorities.

Turning to highlight several of the recommendations that had emerged from the mission, he noted, among others, that the Council members urged the Government to seek a resolution to the crisis in the Kivus through political and diplomatic means.  It further recommended that the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda continue to build their diplomatic relations, and that Congolese authorities continue to carry out security reform as a priority matter, with a view to consolidating the achievements of the reform of the police, and completing the integration of all Army units, while completing also the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process.

Hanitra Ratsifandrihamanana, Permanent Observer of the African Union, commended the members who had led and taken part in the mission, which, among other things, reflected the Council’s eagerness to listen to Africa, to attend to the realities on the ground and act as a unified team.  The mission had also been a clear milestone in efforts towards lasting peace and security.  It had clearly demonstrated the international community’s commitment, which would serve to establish a new basis for cooperation.

She fully endorsed the Council’s report, stressing also the urgent need to support the African Union in setting up its peace and security architecture, including an early warning system and a group of eminent persons to address immediate and pressing conflicts.  She highlighted the need to avoid overlap between the organizations and welcomed the decision to hold a joint annual meeting of the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council.  She also urged the resolution of the issue of funding.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Ghana, Belgium, China, Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The meeting began at 10:22 a.m. and ended at 11:32 a.m.

Background

The Security Council met this morning to discuss the report of Council members’ 14 to 21 June mission to several African capitals, including Accra, Ghana; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Khartoum, Sudan; Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire; and Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (documents S/2007/421 and corr.1).

Statements

DUMISANI S. KUMALO ( South Africa) opened the meeting by highlighting the leg of the mission he had co-led with British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry to Addis Ababa, Khartoum and Accra.  He said that one of the main priorities had been to spend time with African Union Commissioner Alpha Oumar Konare and other Union officials discussing African issues that tended to come before both bodies.  The Council mission had also held meetings with its African counterpart, the African Union Peace and Security Council, and had decided, among other things, that the two should -- and would -- meet at least once a year to discuss common issues of concern.

He said the two bodies had also discussed the urgency with which the Council should adopt resolutions on the funding and deployment of the African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission for Darfur.  The African Union officials had assured the Council that, once funding matters were addressed, the requisite forces would be committed in order to ensure the necessary African character of the hybrid mission, as agreed by the United Nations and Khartoum.  That draft resolution must reflect the spirit of the mission, which had been one of cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and the Sudan regarding the situation in Darfur.

He said that, while in Khartoum, the Council delegation had met with Governors from Darfur and Sudanese high officials, including President Omer al-Bashir, who had expressed his unconditional agreement to the deployment of the hybrid force.  The Council had left the Sudan aware of the need to consider a joint timeline for the deployment of the joint African Union-United Nations operation, so that all stakeholders -- the African Union, the United Nations and the Sudanese Government, among others -- knew what was expected of them.

The Council delegation had then travelled to Accra, Ghana, and met with the country’s President and Foreign Minister and held discussions on the situations in several other African countries, including Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, ahead of the Council’s visit there.  He hoped that Council members and the wider United Nations and international community would see in the report that the mission had tried to deal effectively with many issues.  The mission had not been just about Sudan and the Council had also endeavoured to address many important issues concerning the African continent.

KAREN PIERCE ( United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, said Africa was a continent of critical importance to the Council.  With some 55,000 peacekeepers there, it was a continent that the Council discussed more than any other.  It was also a region where the United Nations had made some of its most impressive advances, but had suffered some of its greatest setbacks.  It was in that context that the Council had decided to visit Africa in June, and build further the United Nations relations with the African Union, with visits to the Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Ambassador Kumalo had said most of what needed to be said.  She supported what he had said about the value of holding such a mission.

The discussions in Addis Ababa had included a variety of issues, including Chad, the Central African Republic and Ethiopia-Eritrea.  The sheer number of issues showed how important it was to establish mechanisms for deeper cooperation.  To make some progress in that regard, the Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council had adopted a joint communiqué, setting out concrete steps to that end, including the holding of annual meetings.

On Darfur, she said the Sudanese Foreign Minister had told the mission that the Government accepted the hybrid operation without conditionality, which was an important commitment.  President al-Bashir had later confirmed that, urging swift agreement on United Nations funding.  She hoped that would mark a turning point in terms of cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and the Government of the Sudan.  Everyone knew that there was no military solution to the crisis in Darfur.  It was right that the resolution, in mandating the hybrid force, focused on the political process and the humanitarian tracks.  At the same time, the commitments entered into must be kept.

On other issues, the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council had also agreed on the urgent need to further efforts to achieve reconciliation and humanitarian relief in Somalia.  The Security Council had briefed the African Union Peace and Security Council on the border dispute and the Lord’s Resistance Army.  She hoped that the outcomes of the mission represented a new phase of cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations in terms of peace and security in Africa.

JORGE VOTO-BERNALES (Peru), briefing on the leg of the mission he had led to Côte d’Ivoire, said that the Council members had underlined their support for the Ouagadougou Agreement, most importantly the ownership of the peace process by the Ivorian parties and people.  The Council members had stressed the importance of a final and durable settlement to the crisis, including full implementation of the Agreement and meeting the benchmarks leading to the organization of free, open and fair elections in the country.

He said the mission had also expressed its serious concern for the grave human rights situation and the persistence of the humanitarian crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, and had called for specific attention to the situation of women, children and elderly.  The delegation had ended its mission by calling on the wider Council to support the implementation of the Ouagadougou Agreement and the role of the facilitator.  It had also asked the Council to seriously consider a partial lifting of the arms embargo.  Through the adoption of the resolution this morning, the Council had made adjustments to the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI).  Still under consideration, however, were important decisions regarding the lifting of the embargo and appointment of a new Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations mission.

JEAN MARC DE LA SABLIÈRE ( France), discussing the mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said that trip had been a useful one.  Most importantly, although it was the eighth time Council members had visited the country, it had been the first since the Democratic Republic of the Congo had held its first democratic elections in 40 years.  The new political context, therefore, required forging new relationships between the United Nations and newly elected Congolese authorities.

Turning to highlight several of the recommendations that had emerged from the mission, he noted, among others, that the Council members had urged the Democratic Republic of the Congo Government to seek a resolution to the crisis in the Kivus through political and diplomatic means.  The mission had also stressed the “mixage” experiment in North Kivu be terminated and replaced with a real “brassage”, consistent with the principles of integration of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC).  It had further recommended that the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda continue to build their diplomatic relations, and that Congolese authorities continue to carry out security reform as a priority matter, with a view to consolidating the achievements of the reform of the police and completing the integration of all Army units, while completing also the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process.  Finally, he appreciated the reception the delegation had received from political officials and citizens alike, who had been told that the United Nations would always stand with them in the challenges they faced.

LESLIE KOJO CHRISTIAN ( Ghana) said the exchange of views in Addis Ababa had enabled the Council and the African Union Commission to clarify the relations between them in the maintenance of peace and security in Africa.  It had also afforded the Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council the opportunity to discuss how to achieve close cooperation between them in order to reach shared objectives in Africa.  Any proposals for African Union-United Nations cooperation should take into account the provisions of the African Union’s framework for peace and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), by addressing the root causes of conflict.

He also stressed the importance of using the momentum generated by the mission to accelerate progress on the peacekeeping and humanitarian fronts.  The agreement of Sudan’s Government provided the Council and the African Union with the opportunity to resolve the conflict in Darfur.  He hoped the Council would soon adopt a resolution authorizing the hybrid operation.  The United Nations role in generating resources could not be overemphasized.  He was also impressed with the assurances of the Ivorian leaders about their commitment to the peace process.  The recent assassination attempt demonstrated, however, the fragility of the security situation.  He hoped the perpetrators would be brought to justice.  Encouraged by progress in the implementation of the Ouagadougou Agreement, he said the resolution adopted this morning was a step in the right direction and must be backed by sustained action in order to ensure that the progress achieved was irreversible.  Ghana would support the facilitator’s efforts.

JOHAN C. VERBEKE ( Belgium) said the communiqué adopted between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council reflected his delegation’s desire for more and better cooperation and harmonization between the United Nations and the African Union.   Belgium also wished to see the hybrid force for Darfur deployed as soon as possible, and hoped that the unity of command and control would be maintained at all times once the troops were on the ground.

Turning to the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he said it was clear that the recent historic elections had not resolved all problems.  The Council and the wider international community must be aware that the country was very fragile and that, especially with ongoing violence in the east, everyone must remain vigilant.  On Côte d’Ivoire, he said that, while the parties wanted the United Nations to be a part of the peace and reconciliation processes, there still appeared to be delays in the full implementation of the Ouagadougou Agreement.  He called on the parties, as well as the Council, to ensure that all the elements of the accord were adhered to and acted upon.

The Council’s President, WANG GUANGYA (China), speaking in his national capacity, appreciated the important role the African Union had taken on in mediating conflicts in Africa by deploying peacekeeping operations.  At present, the African Union faced much difficulty in Darfur and Somalia, and needed, therefore, the international community’s assistance.  The United Nations should continue to consolidate its partnership with the African Union and should develop its long-term cooperation, including in the areas of financing, logistics, technology and training.

On the Sudan, he said he appreciated the initiative by Sudan’s Government to invite the mission, as well as its full acceptance of the hybrid plan.  In the next phase, many challenges would exist.  The plan’s full implementation required cooperation between the international community and Sudan.  Such priority issues as mandate, equipment and logistics also needed to be addressed.  The draft should focus on the mandate and financing, so as to give expression to the international community’s consensus on the issue and reflect the cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and Sudan’s Government.  It should also reflect the current positive momentum and should not focus on irrelevant issues that would give rise to new controversies and delay the deployment process.  A comprehensive solution on Darfur called not only for the deployment of peacekeepers, but also for the acceleration of the political process, so as to remove the root cause of the conflict.  The political process was lagging behind peacekeeping, and practical measures were needed to advance the process.  The international community was gaining a deeper understanding of the question of Darfur.

Continuing, he said he was concerned about developments in Côte d’Ivoire.  During the mission, the parties had reiterated their commitment to the peace process, which was fraught with challenges.  The top priority was to consolidate the consensus of all parties, with a view to creating the conditions for the general election.  The continued presence of UNOCI in the country was important for the maintenance of stability on the ground. 

He also congratulated the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the important progress it had achieved in its peace process.  The top priority was to ensure the country’s safety and stability and to achieve economic progress.  The security situation in the eastern part of the country remained fragile.  He hoped the Government would give attention to economic development.  In light of fact that some groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo operated across the border, he hoped regional countries would build mutual confidence and take part in seeking a solution through dialogue.  The peace process would depend on the international community’s continued attention.

ALCIDE DJEDJE ( C ôte d’Ivoire) said the Council’s mission would contribute to a more thorough assessment of problems in Africa and help the Council better tailor its activities to address specific crises affecting the continent.  In that context, the visit to his country had been a testament to the United Nations commitment to peace and stability in Côte d’Ivoire.  The situation in the country had changed significantly since the signing of the Ouagadougou Agreement, and the Government was committed to implementing that accord, particularly in the areas of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.  It was also committed to fulfilling its obligations towards holding free and fair elections.

With respect to the Council’s concerns about the humanitarian situation and the ranks of demobilized fighters still in the country, he said that a group of negotiators was working with the facilitators to overcome all difficulties and address open issues.  They would also work to ensure the integration of all ex-fighters, as well as to ensure voter registration throughout the country.  He noted that a “civil service” had been established to address the recent spike in joblessness among the youth population and would provide training for the large numbers of ex-fighters and former combatants.

He added that the Government had sought an exemption from the arms embargo for the national police, which would help move the peace process forward.  He appreciated the resolution adopted by the Council earlier in the day, but added that the partial lifting of the embargo and the appointment of a new Special Representative of the Secretary-General were very important components of the work that remained to be done.

NDUKU BOOTO ( Democratic Republic of the Congo) said regular contacts between the United Nations and the African Union would enable the Council to establish closer links in the area of conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.  She hoped the Council would maintain its commitment to work with the African Union in establishing a more coherent and formal partnership.  Following the Secretary-General’s visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Council’s mission was the eighth to take place following the launching of the transitional process, which had made significant progress.  Members had taken stock of efforts made by new Congolese authorities for the country’s recovery.  They had also received an overview of the security situation in the country.

She shared the concerns expressed on the ongoing violence in the Kivus, particularly violations of human rights and humanitarian law.  The situation in that part of the country would only be resolved through cooperation with neighbouring countries.  Significant amounts of arms entered the Democratic Republic of the Congo without restriction, in violation of the arms embargo.  Those weapons were used to commitment serious human rights violations.  The national institutions were aware of the need to sanction such violations, including acts of sexual violence.  The Parliament had recently adopted a bill on sexual violence.  Stressing the importance of strengthening the African Union, for its part, the Democratic Republic of the Congo would spare no effort to ensure reconciliation and the restoration of lasting peace.

HANITRA RATSIFANDRIHAMANANA, Permanent Observer of the African Union, commended the members who had led and taken part in the mission.  The Chair of the African Union Commission conveyed his appreciation with respect to the fruitful cooperation with the Council.  The mission to Africa attested to the Council’s readiness to meet its obligations, bearing in mind also that, since 1960, 20 out of 49 such missions had gone to Africa.  The initiative also reflected the Council’s eagerness to listen to Africa, to attend to the realities on the ground and act as a unified team.  The mission had also been a clear milestone in efforts towards lasting peace and security.  It had clearly demonstrated the international community’s commitment, which would serve to establish a new basis for cooperation.

She said the Chair of the Commission urged the Council to adopt a resolution authorizing the deployment of the hybrid operation in Darfur and to fund it through assessed contributions.  She also recognized the United Nations leadership in the area of international peace and security, while stressing also the need for the African Union to shoulder its responsibilities in the area of maintaining peace in Africa.  In that respect, coordination and convergence of all initiatives was crucial.  The Chair also commended the holding of a joint session between the United Nations and the African Union.

On Somalia, she noted that the Chair focused on the need to complete the deployment of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), pending the deployment of a United Nations operation that would take over.  She fully endorsed the Council’s report, stressing also the urgent need to support the African Union in setting up the African Union’s peace and security architecture, including an early warning system and a group of eminent persons to address immediate and pressing conflicts.  She highlighted the need to avoid overlap between the organizations and welcomed the decision to hold a joint annual meeting of the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council.  She also urged the resolution of the issue of funding.

Congratulating the Council with respect to its successful mission, she said the Council’s clear commitment encouraged the consolidation of the African Union-United Nations tandem in the quest for lasting peace on the African continent.  Joint missions could be planned.  The African Union Observer Mission in New York would like to be associated with them.

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