During a mission to Africa last week, the Security Council held wide-ranging exchanges with key stakeholders in the peace processes in the Central African Republic and Burundi, witnessing progress and challenges on the ground, and discussed ways of bolstering the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union to ensure broader stability and development in the continent.
Briefing the 15-member Council on the first leg of the visit, François Delattre, the representative of France and mission co-leader, said the team spent two days in the Central African Republic holding discussions with political leaders and other stakeholders in the capital, Bangui, as well as in the countryside of Bria in the east.
“While the situation remains precarious on the humanitarian front, the country has made progress in stabilizing the security situation,” Mr. Delattre said. The desire expressed by political leaders to complete the transition process successfully was encouraging. The Council urged the Government to “spare no effort” in that regard, by continuing broad-based consultations and conducting free and fair elections. The overall situation was “fragile”, but the political trend was “positive”, he said, adding that the international community’s support must be commensurate with the significant challenges there.
In Burundi, the Council held “far-reaching exchanges” with the country’s President and leading ministers, civil society representatives, religious authorities and United Nations agencies. The Council noted that Burundi had made significant progress by overcoming challenges left behind from the conflict, but that peace remained tenuous. During the exchanges, the Council stressed the importance of holding credible, free and democratic elections to ensure durable peace and stability. All parties must abide by the letter and spirit of the Arusha Agreement, which remained the “compass”, and preserve cohesion within Burundi’s society by avoiding divisive debates, he added.
Representatives of political parties and civil society also voiced their concern to the Council over limits to freedom of expression and assembly and freedom of the judiciary, Mr. Delattre said, and stressed that all should put country above and make peace the priority of their actions. He described the meetings in that country as “extremely edifying and useful”.
Between the country visits, the Council mission stopped in Addis Ababa on 12 March for the ninth joint annual meeting with the African Union Peace and Security Council. Briefing on that segment, Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins, the representative of Angola and mission co-leader, said the agenda was aimed at enhancing partnership between the two organizations on matters relating to peace security in Africa, and on strengthening conflict prevention and peacebuilding management tools.
The session provided an occasion to exchange views on the Great Lakes region, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Mali and the Sahel, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan, Darfur, the fight against Boko Haram and the strategic partnership between the African Union and the United Nations.
On the Great Lakes region, the joint meeting expressed the importance of all signatories adhering to all aspects of the Peace and Security Agreement Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region. Members expressed grave concern about the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic and underscored the importance of bringing to justice perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and putting an end to the culture of impunity there.
Speakers also took note of the concept letter on operations of a multinational task force to fight Boko Haram and the need for appropriate action in that regard.
Welcoming the ongoing negotiations on Mali and the Sahel, the joint session expressed concern at the grave violations of human rights committed by armed groups in Libya. On Darfur, the joint meeting expressed concern at the humanitarian and security situation, while, on South Sudan, it stressed the importance of imposing sanctions on those undermining peace. The two councils noted the positive developments and partnership in Somalia in the fight against Al-Shabaab during the “crucial and decisive” period ahead of elections next year.
The joint meeting looked forward to the recommendations of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peacekeeping Operations and highlighted the importance of continued dialogue between the two councils on addressing common challenges. A joint communiqué was being drafted and finalized, Mr. Gaspar Martins said, and underscored the need to improve preparations for and coordination on such meetings in the future.
The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 10:28 a.m.
* The 7406th Meeting was closed.