|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Partnership between United Nations, African Union ‘strong and broad’,
says Secretary-General to high-level Security Council meeting
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the Security Council high-level meeting on peace and security in Africa in New York, 16 April:
It is an honour to join you, and to welcome you to the United Nations. Allow me to pay tribute to South Africa for convening this debate on peace and security in Africa, and for giving us the opportunity to discuss the important relationship between the United Nations and the African Union.
President Mbeki, I am especially happy to welcome you to the United Nations. Let me commend your personal engagement in strengthening our partnership.
Let me also congratulate President Kikwete of Tanzania on assuming the chairmanship of the African Union. I look forward to working with you in the months ahead.
In the 15 months I have served as Secretary-General, I have devoted more time to African issues than to those on any other continent -- from peace and security to the Millennium Development Goals. I have visited 11 African countries, and I will leave on Friday to visit 4 more.
Preventing and resolving conflict peacefully must remain high on the shared agenda of the African Union and the UN. In this context, I welcome the announcement of a new Government in Kenya. Now that the immediate power-sharing issues have been addressed, I urge all sides to stay committed to resolving the longer-term causes of the recent unrest.
I am deeply concerned at the uncertainty created by the prolonged non-release of the election results in Zimbabwe. Absent a transparent solution to this impasse, the situation could deteriorate further with serious implications for the people of Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean authorities and the countries of the region have insisted that these matters are for the region to resolve but the international community continues to watch and wait for decisive action. The credibility of the democratic process in Africa could be at stake here. If there is a second round of elections, they must be conducted in a fair and transparent manner, with international observers. I urge the leaders of the Southern African Development Community to continue their efforts. The United Nations stands ready to provide assistance in this regard.
Meanwhile, we must step up the work for desperately needed progress in bringing peace and stability to Darfur and Somalia. The partnership between the African Union and the United Nations will remain crucial to this effort.
You have heard Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe introduce my two reports. As these show, the relationship between the United Nations and the African Union is strong and broad.
The Declaration on Enhancing UN-AU Cooperation, signed in 2006 between Chairperson Konaré and my predecessor, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, provides a vehicle for the United Nations to assist in building the capacity of the African Union. We have already made significant progress in giving life to the vision behind the Declaration.
As provided for in the 10-year capacity-building programme, we are taking concrete steps to help develop the African Union Peace and Security Architecture. This work covers a broad range of activities, from good offices and mediation on border issues, to early warning, conflict prevention and building operational capacity.
We have established a dedicated team to help operationalize the concept of an African Standby Force, which would build on the valiant and pioneering efforts of the African Union’s missions in Burundi, in Somalia, in Sudan. Today, the DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations] team develops training, operational capacity and technical advice, in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the subregional organizations and donors.
Our two Organizations are far better equipped for the critical task of mediation, thanks to the establishment of the Secretariat of the African Union Panel of the Wise, and the launch of the United Nations Mediation Standby Team of experts. Our cooperation during the crisis in Kenya is an example of how we can achieve more by working together.
Overall, we should be proud of the progress we have made. But above all, we should be energized in doing even more as we move ahead.
I am heartened at the deepening cooperation between this Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union. I warmly welcome tomorrow’s joint meeting of the two Councils -- the second of its kind, and the first to be held at United Nations Headquarters.
This debate also gives me an opportunity to pay tribute to the outgoing Chairperson of the African Union Commission, His Excellency Alpha Oumar Konaré. Chairperson Konaré, under your leadership, the African Union has transformed its relationships with the rest of the world. I look forward to working closely with your successor, Mr. Jean Ping.
As we consolidate the partnership between our institutions, I will spare no effort in making it complementary, effective and inclusive. In the two reports the Council will examine today, I have made a number of specific proposals for your consideration.
I am resolved to enhance cooperation with all regional organizations, so as to create, in the future, effective mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution, as well as a predictable, interlinked and reliable system for global peacekeeping under the Charter. I am confident that your meeting today will contribute to this goal.
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