24 April 1998


24 April 1998

Press Release


19980424 Day-long Debate Addressed by 52 Speakers

The Security Council this evening concluded its day-long debate on the situation of Africa, after hearing from 52 speakers. They discussed the continent's challenges and potential, in considering the Secretary-General's report on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa.

The representative of the United States pledged his Government's commitment to an active partnership with Africa to promote democracy, respect for human rights and to accelerate its integration into the global economy. Stressing that Africa did not want or need the world's sympathy, he said it needed new foreign investment, increased tax revenue and improved infrastructure that came with economic growth. His Government was working with Congress to pass the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which would open its markets to African countries undertaking economic reforms.

Africa continued to suffer under the "philosophy of plunder", the representative of Cuba said. The economic system termed "globalization" must not merely increase the opportunities of the few at the expense of the majority. The debt owed to the continent had not been paid, he said, adding that primary responsibility lay with those countries which had for years benefited from Africa's resources and the work of its men and women. It was not enough to offer historical apologies. The solutions to Africa's problems could not be found in the marketplace alone.

It was virtually impossible now to determine whether the decline or stagnation in parts of Africa was caused by domestic policies, external shocks or by the adjustment policies imposed upon them, India's representative said. Governments going through adjustment must have the money to pay for social support; without that, adjustment policies and the democratic experiment itself would fail, creating tensions that found release in violence. It had been recognized in Eastern Europe that countries in transition needed massive financial support to pre-empt violence and entrench democracy. It was a pity that Africa, which had the same problems, did not receive anywhere near the same support.

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Nigeria's representative, speaking on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), appealed to the international community to support Africa's regional and sub-regional initiatives, such as the ECOWAS's Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG) mechanism, and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Trust Fund for conflict prevention and peacekeeping. He added that the Bretton Woods institutions had a key role to play in the promotion and consolidation of peace in Africa, by developing peace-friendly structural adjustment programmes that did not undermine the ability of African governments to fulfil their basic responsibilities in such areas as education, health and welfare.

Speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), South Africa's representative welcomed the Secretary-General's objective to redouble efforts to institutionalize peace where conflict had ceased or where prospects for peace existed. The SADC shared the Secretary-General's concern about the proliferation of arms and endorsed his proposals for strengthening the international and domestic instruments for the harmonization of policies against illicit arms trafficking, as that would promote stability. There was urgent need to divert the expenditure of scarce resources from military to development projects, he stressed.

The representative of Uganda said that to build a durable peace, it was imperative to address the root causes of conflict. Economies that did not grow could not develop, and sustained economic growth was essential for sustainable development. Without sustainable development, poverty could not be eradicated. "Poverty is a war that Africa must fight and win." To win that war, policies were needed that were multidimensional in the broad social development sector, targeting women, the growing population of unemployed youth and the poor in general.

Indonesia's representative, addressing an issue raised by several speakers, said that vigorous efforts must be taken to finally resolve the unsustainable debt burden of African countries. It was a travesty for those countries to continue to pay more than 17 per cent of their total export earnings to donors and commercial lenders, while many struggled to meet the most basic needs of their people.

The Secretary-General's report was requested by the Council at a ministerial meeting it convened on 25 September 1997 to consider the need for a concerted international effort to promote peace and security in Africa. Key recommendations of the report include those concerning arms and arms trafficking, sanctions, refugees, structural adjustment, development assistance, debt and trade, the Security Council and international business and practices.

Also making statements at the resumed meeting were the representatives of Mauritania, speaking for the African Group; United Kingdom, for the European Union and associated States; Germany; Canada; Tunisia; Republic of

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Korea; Egypt; Argentina; Algeria; Ukraine; Morocco; Norway; Bangladesh; Pakistan; United Republic of Tanzania; Libya; Colombia; Lebanon; Italy; Philippines; Cyprus; Netherlands; Guyana; Belgium; United Arab Emirates; Comoros; and Cameroon. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, addressed the Council, as did observers for the Holy See and for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The meeting resumed at 3:07 p.m. and adjourned at 10:20 p.m.

Council Work Programme

The Security Council met this afternoon to resume its debate, which began this morning, on the situation of Africa. It had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in the continent (document A/52/871- S/1998/318). The Secretary General introduced the report to the Council on 16 April. (For information on the report, see Press Release SG/2045-AFR/50- SC/6501 of 15 April.)


BILL RICHARDSON (United States) recalled that seven months ago, the Security Council had asked the Secretary-General to identify ways the international community could work in partnership with Africa to prevent and resolve conflicts. The Secretary-General's recommendations provided useful frameworks for action towards that goal. The United States was committed to an active partnership with Africa to promote democracy, respect for human rights and stability, as well as to accelerate Africa's integration into the global economy.

United States President William Clinton had recently returned from an 11-day, six-nation tour of Africa, he continued. He had stressed the importance of democracy and basic freedoms. That vision had led the United States President and leaders from seven countries in Central and East Africa to sign the Entebbe Accord, which endorsed the principles of inclusion and the respect for human rights.

Regional and subregional African organizations had shown the political will to play a leading role in ending conflict and enhancing the continent's prosperity, he said. He urged the international community to continue helping those organizations develop their conflict management and peacekeeping capacities.

Africa did not want or need the world's sympathy -- it needed new foreign investment and increased tax revenue and improved infrastructure that came with economic growth, he said. The United States was implementing the Partnership for Economic Growth and Opportunity and working with Congress to pass the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which would open its markets to African countries undertaking economic reforms. Noting that there was no sounder investment than in the well-being of people, he said the United States was helping to control disease and promote education in several countries.

Africa should not have to carry into the next century the burden of debt, he said. By the year 2000, the United States would have provided some $3 billion in debt reduction for African countries. Under a new bilateral

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initiative, it hoped to fully forgive concessional debts owed by African countries that demonstrated the political will to undertake sustained reforms.

Council members should not walk away from today's meeting and think their work was done, he said. He looked forward to collaborating with other countries in the Security Council and other bodies of the United Nations to study and then implement the Secretary-General's recommendations. He endorsed the Secretary-General's calls for biannual Council meetings at the ministerial level to assess progress and further efforts. It was time for a partnership between Africa, the United Nations and the international community to realize Africa's dream of peace and development.

MAHFOUDH OULD DEDDACH (Mauritania), on behalf of the African Group, said there was a need to recognize the consequences of the serious conflicts in Africa which could constitute threats to international peace and security. Africa was the first to be aware of that responsibility, but the continent also needed aid and support from the international community to cope with its problems. Cooperation between African countries and the United Nations was imperative and the establishment of a mechanism to implement the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General was desirable.

He said that the best thing the Security Council could provide Africa at this point would be to sound a clear message to the world on the absolute necessity to resolve conflicts. Like other African countries, Mauritania supported any ideas that would assist the continent to face up to its future potential.

IBRAHIM A. GAMBARI (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said that three successive years of improved economic performance beginning in 1994 were grounds for cautious optimism. The recent upturn in sub-Saharan Africa was underpinned by the continued and rigorous implementation of economic reform programmes, as well as by reductions in socio-economic and political instability. There was an urgent need for additional and more positive action on the debt burden of African States by the international community to promote and reinforce gains from economic reforms.

Continuing, he said that a programme of sustained economic growth should aim at significant investment in infrastructure which, in many cases, had run down after years of neglect. There was a pressing need for foreign direct investment to enhance the process of diversification, essential for sustained growth. The much-needed flows of investment capital would also depend on the effectiveness of measures taken by the international community to alleviate the external debt burden of heavily indebted African countries, a satisfactory

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resolution of which was necessary if Africa was to be successfully integrated into the world economy.

He said the Community's commitment to the collective security of the entire sub-region was manifested through the creation of its Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG) in August, 1990, which, among other successes, had contained the Liberian civil war and restored peace to that country in July, 1997. The ECOWAS had an effective and proven mechanism for peace and conflict-resolution. At this juncture, it drew the Council's attention to the Malian initiative on a moratorium in the production, illegal transfer and trafficking in small arms in zones of conflict. The ECOWAS members recently endorsed that initiative within the framework of ongoing discussions for the establishment of a mechanism for the prevention, management and settlement of conflicts in West Africa. That important initiative deserved the support of the international community.

He said that ECOWAS further appealed to the international community to support Africa's regional and sub-regional initiatives such as the ECOMOG mechanism, as well as the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Trust Fund for conflict-prevention and peace-keeping. In addition, the Bretton Woods institutions had a key role to play in the promotion and consolidation of peace in Africa. In that regard, those institutions should develop peace- friendly structural adjustment programmes which did not undermine the ability of African governments to fulfil their basic responsibilities in such areas as education, health and welfare.

KHIPHUSIZI J. JELE (South Africa), speaking for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said the United Nations must strengthen its peacekeeping capacity in Africa in a manner that inspired confidence in its role as custodian of international peace and security. Conflict prevention should be accorded the highest priority. The Community welcomed the Secretary-General's objective to redouble efforts to institutionalize peace where conflict had ceased or where prospects for peace existed. Chapter VIII of the Charter made provisions for regional arrangements to ensure international peace and security. There was need to reinforce and implement the existing measures in a manner that promoted meaningful interaction between the United Nations and the OAU.

The SADC shared the Secretary-General's concern about the proliferation of arms and endorsed his proposals for strengthening the international and domestic instruments for the harmonization of policies against illicit arms trafficking, as that would promote stability, he said. There was urgent need to divert the expenditure of scarce resources from military to development projects.

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It was essential that external actors maintained common and coherent political approaches towards incipient or ongoing conflicts and desist from engaging in rival or competing efforts once a framework for mediation had been established, he said. Sanctions were an important tool in peacemaking efforts, but should be resorted to only with utmost caution to minimize their adverse effects on the civilian population.

Enhancing Africa's capacity to operate in peace missions had been the subject of much debate, he said. He noted with regret that international resources were not commensurate with specific needs for capacity-building. Therefore, the SADC supported the Secretary-General's call on Member States to contribute to the OAU peace fund. He was encouraged by the practical recommendations regarding refugee assistance and the enhancement of professionalism of public officials, and the creation of a positive environment for investment and economic growth. The proposals to secure a more dynamic relationship between business leaders, the United Nations, the OAU and subregional entities were appropriate, and could facilitate an understanding of the debilitative effects of Africa's problems.

Central to Africa's renaissance was the economic regeneration of the continent through economic reform so vital in attracting foreign direct investment, he said. However, one of the major obstacles to African development was the inability to address the debt problem generally, as well as its servicing. The problem of unsustainable debt burden persisted. He called on the international community to explore and implement more vigorous and effective methods for a lasting solution to the problem. Developed countries must rethink and reverse the decline in levels of official developmental assistance (ODA).

Africa was determined to demonstrate to the world that it was prepared to tackle its own problems. The SADC trusted that that determination would serve as encouragement to the international community to invest in Africa's renaissance.

Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom) spoke for the European Union and the associated States of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Cyprus, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The Secretary-General's report contained concrete recommendations, and its holistic approach was welcome. The report encouraged the Union to continue its efforts in peace-building and conflict-resolution. The Union was committed to a proactive approach, as well as post-conflict peace-building. Those goals were set out in its Common Position on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, which had been signed in 1997.

The Union supported the development of closer relations between the United Nations and regional and subregional groups, he said. It supported the

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efforts to enhance Africa's peacekeeping capacity. Also, it subscribed to the idea that early warning must be complemented by early action. It supported the proposed establishment of an international mechanism to assist host governments in maintaining security and neutrality of refugee camps.

Sanctions should be better targeted at decision makers, he said, and the Union endorsed the call for more rigorous enforcement of sanctions by the international community. It supported the Secretary-General's focus on the need for effective measures to ensure strict implementation of arms embargoes, and welcomed the recommendation that Africa participate in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. The Union would continue to support efforts aimed at establishing national control measures on arms and on clearing anti- personnel landmines.

The Union was the world's leading source of aid to Africa, he said. The European Development Fund had earmarked over $15 billion for African countries up to the year 2000. It offered, under the Lome Convention, the most open markets for exports from African countries, and was the continent's largest trading partner. Poverty in Africa must be tackled, and the Union reaffirmed its commitment to international development targets.

The report expressed the view that it was in the interest of all States to support Africa's economic, political and social regeneration, he noted. The Union supported that analysis and stood ready to play its part to ensure follow-up to the proposals contained in the report. The Union hoped the Council wold take early action where appropriate. The political momentum generated by the report should not be lost.

SADAKO OGATA, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said that with 7 million people of concern to her office, Africa continued to be the continent with the largest global number of refugees and internally displaced persons. Since the end of the cold war and the settlement of some long- standing conflict, however, the office had been increasingly involved in repatriation operations. Today, despite many problems, solutions were foreseeable for many of Africa's refugee problems. Addressing and resolving refugee problems was an indispensable contribution to peace and stability in the continent. Not only were forced population displacements a grave violation of human rights, they also threatened the stability and ultimately the peace and prosperity of entire regions. The current crisis in Sierra Leone had displaced almost half a million people; in Burundi almost 300,000 persons were displaced and there remained unresolved crises in the Horn of Africa.

She said the mixed groups hosted in refugee camps -- refugees coexisting with fighters, criminals and genocidaires -- had been the greatest challenge to the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

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(UNHCR) throughout the Great Lakes crisis. She was concerned that the trend would expand further, if no measures to deal with mixed groups in a rapid and effective manner were designed and implemented soon. Maintaining the civilian character of refugee camps was the responsibility of host governments, as clearly stipulated by the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention. However, different situations required a variety of responses.

Rather than setting up a single "mechanism", a "ladder of options" was needed by which the deployment of international police or military forces would be the step of last resort, she said. In "normal" situations, adherence to certain basic principles of the OAU Convention was sufficient to ensure that camps were not used for military purposes -- for example, locating them away from borders, or prohibiting the circulation of arms. In situations in which it could be difficult for host governments to implement the required principles, international assistance was needed for building their capacity to enforce law. That could involve the provision of equipment and other logistical support for police forces, including training and even financial support. In the former eastern Zaire, a very close operational relation had been established between the UNHCR and military forces responsible for the maintenance of law and order in the camps.

There were situations, however, in which building or supporting local capacity were inadequate to maintain the civilian character of camps, she continued. Separation of refugees from criminals could require the deployment of international police or military forces. She supported the Secretary- General's call for the creation of an international mechanism to assist host governments in maintaining the civilian character of camps. She hoped the Security Council would give concrete follow-up to that recommendation and would examine the possibility of creating a stand-by international force in support of humanitarian operations. Given the delicate and specific nature of any separation of refugees from criminals in a camp situation, her office was ready to help develop procedures and techniques for police and military forces to carry out that type of activity. It was essential to also define principles and decide on a division of work for dealing with those who would be separated and excluded from international protection.

She said other issues of interest to UNHCR included: the negative effect of sanctions on vulnerable groups; the social and environmental effects of the presence of refugees and the importance of rehabilitation work in affected areas; the need to address the gap between humanitarian assistance, and the long-term reconstruction and development of war-torn societies; and the essential focus on civil societies in African countries. The challenge more specifically was on developing grass-roots activities to promote community reconciliation in post-conflict situations and ultimately contribute to the prevention of further conflicts.

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SYLVIE JUNOD, of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), reaffirmed the relevance of international humanitarian law and the need for humanitarian action for victims of conflict, which paved the way for reconstruction and ensured sustainable development. Brutalities and acts of atrocities against civilians, particularly women and children, and refugees and displaced persons required the restoration of respect to humanitarian principles by all parties to a conflict. The ICRC, therefore, supported the appeal in those countries in which such structures had collapsed and in which the annihilation of human beings considered to be rivals had occurred. Such a trend was linked to the privatization of war and the emergence of forces dependent on private groups over which State authorities had little influence.

She said that the challenge was to bring back Africa's rich values. The long-term preventive task was to make each person aware of the fact that there were limits to violence in all circumstances. Each State needed to incorporate into its national legislation adequate measures dealing with humanitarian law and the prosecution of offenders. While African countries had begun that process of legislative reform, it was sadly obvious that war criminals managed to escape criminal procedures. It was necessary, therefore, to establish a permanent international criminal court, which would serve to send such perpetrators a clear message that impunity would no longer be tolerated.

She said that despite the mobilization of humanitarian action in post- conflict situations, nothing could replace the political will to resolve the root causes of conflict with all available means, including force. Humanitarian assistance was not a substitute.

GERHARD HENZE (Germany) said the Secretary-General's report had rightly drawn the conclusion that significant progress in Africa would require sustained international attention at the highest political level. Only then could marginalization of that continent and so-called "Afro-pessimism" be avoided. One of the most important conclusions to be drawn from the report was that a renewed spirit of partnership was urgently required. The Secretary-General pointed to the responsibility Africans needed to assume for their own affairs, on the one hand, and to the obligations of the international community, on the other hand. Acknowledging and respecting African partnership and offering and accepting advice, support and cooperation must be core values of that partnership. Consolidation of that partnership would mean overcoming a widespread case-by-case oriented approach of mainly reacting under the impression of a full-fledged crisis. That partnership must be at the centre of "a framework of interlocking and mutually reinforcing multilateral institutions".

Highlighting three important aspects of that framework, he said that the first task should start in New York at the United Nations. The Security

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Council urgently needed to be reformed. There was also a need to overcome what the Secretary-General described as "the paralysis which threatened to undermine the credibility of the Organization as a whole". Reform of the Council must, among other things, put Africa in a position to shoulder the responsibility of permanent membership. Second, the OAU and subregional organizations in Africa should be strengthened, particularly the improvement of their respective capacities in the areas of conflict prevention, confidence-building and peacekeeping. Germany was contributing bilaterally as well as through multilateral channels towards achieving that goal. It agreed with the Secretary-General that those efforts had to take place within the context of the United Nations primary responsibility for matters of international peace.

His country maintained its position that an international conference on peace, security and stability in the Great Lakes region of Africa, under the chairmanship of the United Nations and the OAU, could have a positive impact on the situation there, he said. Third, Germany believed that the establishment of a permanent international criminal court should be pursued with utmost priority in light of what the Secretary-General called a dramatic and unacceptable deterioration in the level of adherence to humanitarian norms in crisis situations.

Addressing the goal of stopping the proliferation of arms, he stressed that under German law, any export of weapons into zones of conflict or tension was illegal and strictly prohibited. That provision was implemented in the strictest possible way.

ROBERT R. FOWLER (Canada) said collaboration in capacity-building in Africa must not have the objective of equipping Africans to respond to crises in the continent in order to absolve the international community from doing so. Such a selective allocation of responsibility would undermine the very notion of collective responsibility and action that underpinned the Charter. Collaboration in the further development of indigenous peacekeeping capability should instead aim at ensuring that African States received the support they sought to assume a greater role in future United Nations peacekeeping operations. Member States must act with dispatch in responding to crises if the United Nations was to be effective and credible. Canada had provided about $2 million in support of the OAU mechanism for conflict-prevention, management and resolution. Responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security could not be sub-contracted.

Progress could not be achieved in an economic vacuum. Development was itself a human right, as well as the principal long-term objective of all African countries. Long-term and sustainable success could be achieved only if African countries enacted sound economic policies which would help integrate the continent more fully into the global economy. Canada shared the

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Secretary-General's belief that ODA remained a vital component of collective efforts to harness the potential of Africa and had a critical role to play in ensuring that African States found and remained on the path of poverty- reducing economic growth and social development.

S.E.M. ALI HACHANI (Tunisia) said Africa continued to be a "theatre of conflict"; yet, its determination to restore and maintain peace was strong. The establishment by the OAU of a mechanism to prevent conflict aimed to fulfil the equation of peace, security and development, counting first and foremost on African capacity. That had signalled a new stage to Africa's approach to confronting its problems.

The Security Council had the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, he said. The United Nations and the OAU had already undertaken steps to develop and reinforce Africa's capacity to maintain peace. The activities of the two organizations were complementary. Accordingly, the United Nations should give material and financial support to the OAU machinery. The international community should promote the new impulse of African States, taking into account the social realities of the continent.

New economic policies reflected Africa's commitment to development reform, he said. Structural adjustments and economic liberalization had difficult social and budgetary consequences. Some States had encouraging economic results; others had encountered huge impediments to their development. A comprehensive, effective plan must, therefore, be prepared to promote Africa's development and facilitate its integration into the global economy.

PARK SOO GIL (Republic of Korea) said the strategy of conflict- prevention was an essential element in addressing conflicts in Africa. Such proactive measures as the dispatch of fact-finding missions at an early stage and preventative deployment of peacekeepers should be further developed. The international community should also undertake resolute efforts to staunch the arms flow into the region and ensure stricter compliance with Security Council arms embargoes. There should also be efforts to hold combatants financially and criminally responsible to their victims under international law and to develop international legal machinery to facilitate efforts to find and seize assets of transgressing parties and their leaders.

He added that practical measures should be forthcoming on how to ensure the separation of bona fide refugees from militants, and a zone of peace for children in conflict situations should be established. Refugees should also be settled at a reasonable distance from any border, in camps of limited size. To help sustain the encouraging pace of economic growth and reform in Africa, the international community needed to provide active financial and other types of support to the various initiatives already under way or planned for African

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NABIL A. ELARABY (Egypt) said the report reflected the United Nations will to learn lessons from the past and envision its role for Africa's future. Any lasting solution to Africa's current conditions must take into account the historic economic and political experience of the continent. The current debate was being held in the Security Council; he would, therefore, direct his comments towards the themes of peace and security, with the understanding that other topics would be taken up by the General Assembly.

The OAU had played an active role in preventing crises, signalling African States' transcendence of their former excessive sensitivity to any interference in each others' affairs. While the region was discharging more and more of its responsibilities, there was, sadly, increasing reluctance regarding United Nations participation. Past setbacks had caused the international community to experience a type of paralysis that was still evident in the Council. Its failure to intervene on a timely basis in Congo- Brazzaville was an example. Noting developments in Somalia, he said Egypt would continue its efforts to establish peace in that country, in coordination with interested parties. While affirming the need for respect for the rule of international law and Council resolutions, Egypt believed that the Council should consider the proposals put forth by the League of Arab States and the OAU on the lifting of sanctions against Libya.

Despite the soundness of recommendations put forth in the report regarding sanctions regimes, experience had revealed the difficulty of targeting sanctions to decision makers and of enforcing universal adherence to sanction regimes. On the issue of weapons, he noted the great achievement of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Africa and other efforts that affirmed the continent's commitment to peace. The private inflow of arms to the region required immediate attention.

Regional arrangements must complement the Organization's efforts, he said. While it was important to establish national machinery for pursuit and enforcement, the failure of the international community to pursue criminals for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia indicated the importance of international will. While camps should be kept free for all refugees, all aspects of refugees must be dealt with, including mitigating the social and environmental impact on host countries. Refugee camps must be established away from borders, he stressed. The international community's commitment to Africa would be made evident by deeds. He supported the proposal that the Council reconvene at the ministerial level on a biannual basis, as well as the proposed summit to be held on Africa.

FERNANDO ENRIQUE PETRELLA (Argentina) said that like Latin America, Africa had suffered severe effects of the cold war era which were still being

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felt. The causes of conflict in Africa were wide-ranging and called for comprehensive strategies, uniting the goals of peace and security with sustainable development, good governance and democracy. Argentina, after decades of political instability and crisis, had regained stability. It understood the people of Africa's longing for peace.

Since the 1950s, Argentina had participated in the decolonization process in Africa and established diplomatic, economic and cultural relations with newly independent States. Argentina had been present in Africa and had sought to contribute to its peace and development. It had participated in operations to maintain peace, provide humanitarian assistance and promote good governance in a number of African countries. It would continue to do so and stood ready to cooperate in the future, as needed. Argentina was ready to cooperate actively in Africa's development, and was currently involved in activities including eradication of disease.

ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) said that the numerous conflicts battering the African continent stemmed from its colonial past. Reviewing actions of former colonial powers and their consequences, he said Africa had to rebuild from scratch. With its liberation, Africa dedicated itself unreservedly to the elimination of colonialism in all its forms. Today, inter-African concerted action was a vibrant reality, which attested to the will of Africans to seek the ways and means for more harmonious collaboration and for a shared stability and prosperity. The establishment of a central body within the OAU to prevent conflicts illustrated African awareness that there existed in Africa a political will, even if that required some financial and logistical support from the international community.

There was no salvation for Africa without economic recovery, he said. In that regard, the Bretton Woods institutions were fulfilling their promises, even if the social cost was often very high. Numerous and complex problems remained, however, as well as many political and economic liabilities. Despite the development in Africa of a democratic culture of free enterprise, that titanic effort required support. While Africans were determined to establish democracy throughout their continent, it must be promoted at their own pace.

Concerning the proliferation of weapons on the African continent, he welcomed the proposal for a compilation of information on weapons trade. That must be part of a framework of effective international cooperation aimed at dismantling and neutralizing arms networks which fuelled terrorist groups in their efforts of destruction and death. If the embargo on the delivery of weapons represented an effective means for preventing armed conflict, economic sanctions, on the other hand, only served to penalize civilian populations. The excesses experienced through the sanctions regime made its reconsideration absolutely necessary.

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VOLODYMYR YEL'CHENKO (Ukraine) said the vast movements of refugees and displaced persons in some African countries continued to be an alarming factor which contributed to political instability. Internal conflicts were threatening the very survival of those countries. In that regard, the issues of peace, security and stability and the problems of economic development of Africa should be addressed simultaneously, as they were closely related. It was also imperative that the international community enhance its political, material and technical support to the OAU to improve its capabilities in resolving the problems and conflict situations within Africa.

AHMED SNOUSSI (Morocco) said that despite progress in the economic and political spheres, conflicts in Africa compromised efforts to achieve peace and stability. He wondered whether it was not time to establish a clear definition of genocide. In some cases, the term was applied to situations in which hundreds had died, while in other areas, the death of hundreds of thousands of persons was not termed genocide.

Morocco was aware of its responsibilities regarding Africa, he said. It followed with concern developments in conflict hot spots, and supported efforts by the international community to find lasting solutions. The situation regarding north Africa and the Lockerbie affair could not be ignored. Regional organizations, Arabic, African and Islamic groupings and the Non-Aligned Movement had all advocated a just settlement of the matter.

The precarious situation in Africa continued to be of concern to the international community, he said. The situation included chronic debt, degradation in the health and social sectors and other factors. He welcomed Portugal's initiative to convene a Euro-African summit to examine solutions to the continent's problems, and proposed holding a meeting at the ministerial level to prepare for that summit.

Development assistance should be structured to reduce dependence of African countries, he said. Creditors must eliminate the debt of the poorest African countries, and industrialized countries should examine the possibility of removing trade barriers to African products. Morocco's King Hassan II had proposed, in 1994, a "Marshall Plan" to help develop African economies. Such an effort would require the international community's commitment to allowing Africa to become a genuine partner in the global community and would presuppose a new approach by industrialized countries. Understanding, political will and resources were all required.

OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said there could be no development without peace and no peace without development. Reduction of poverty was a necessary condition for realistically promoting human rights, stability and security. The Norwegian development cooperation programmes with African countries had increasingly addressed questions of governance, democracy-building and human

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rights, factors which were crucial in the prevention of conflict. Norway also viewed humanitarian aid in close conjunction with efforts to promote peace and prevent conflict.

He said that poverty reduction represented one of the most urgent challenges in Africa. It was crucial in terms of economic development, political stability and regional as well as global security. It was also in itself a realization of some of the most fundamental human rights in the social and economic arena. To succeed in that endeavour, the international trend of reduced disbursements of development assistance must be reversed, increased resources must be channelled to the social sectors -- specifically education and health -- and focus should be on the poor segments of society.

Initiatives to stop the unlawful use and excessive accumulation of small arms should be an integral part of domestic and foreign policy, he said. Mali's proposal to establish a moratorium on small arms for West African countries was encouraging, and Norway was pleased to have been able to participate in discussions of that proposal at a recent seminar in Oslo.

He said that the development efforts of many African countries were currently hampered by the lack of adequate coordination among donors. Better coordination at the country level was crucial among donors, and between donors and the African countries. Such coordination was also crucial in responding to conflict situations in order to harmonize policies and actions, to avoid the proliferation of mediation efforts, and where sanctions had been imposed by the international community, to improve their effectiveness.

ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said there was little justification in lamenting the human and material loss of conflicts in Africa and elsewhere, when policies of yesteryears contributed towards creating irreparable socio- economic and political divisions in every society. Prevention was always better than cure and the Secretary-General had reaffirmed that idea in the context of the African situation. His country therefore supported the suggestion that the international community should encourage concerned governments to seek a political solution to a conflict situation by working through special mediators and commissioners. While the significant role of regional organizations in peacekeeping and peacemaking activities was welcome, the primary responsibility of the United Nations in that regard should not be compromised in any way.

In that context, he continued, his delegation wanted to know how effectively the newly created Executive Committee on Peace and Security was contributing towards promoting the Organization's efforts in that area. On sanctions, his country believed that further study needed to be undertaken to make it more focused and effective in achieving the desired objective without too much of the collateral damage. Peacekeeping remained an essential tool in

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the hands of the United Nations to address a conflict situation. However, his delegation concurred with the view that the activity was becoming increasingly complex, with additional responsibilities being added to its mandate.

"We believe that due care should be taken not to load a peacekeeping mission with too much of responsibility beyond its agreed jurisdiction", he continued. Post-conflict peace-building efforts should be calibrated carefully and should take into consideration the distinctive role of the various United Nations organs and agencies in that function. In particular, the key role of the General Assembly in the formulation of post-conflict peace-building activities needed to be recognized. Bangladesh commended the Secretary-General on the appointment of a Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict and fully supported the idea to make children a "zone of peace" during any conflict.

His country also supported the idea that the rights of all civilians, including relief workers in situations of armed conflict should be respected and protected, he said. Non-governmental organizations could play a complementary role in supporting efforts to make governments more accountable and responsive. He identified lack of development as the source of all conflicts and urged the international community to encourage African countries to focus on that area, with particular emphasis on investing in the social sector. Development was also an essential component to eliminate poverty, which fed all discontents and hatred. No domestic efforts could be successful in developing countries of Africa unless matched by equally robust and positive international support.

AHMAD KAMAL (Pakistan) said Africa remained one of the poorest regions in the world, and poverty was further exacerbated by pressures of debt servicing, deteriorating terms of trade, declining ODA, falling commodity prices, increasing protectionism in developed countries and negative effects of structural adjustment arrangements. The total debt of Africa was around $350 billion, and African countries were unlikely to be able to pay it back with their own resources. Explicit debt reduction would have a more positive impact on African economies than debt rescheduling. Creditors should agree to convert all remaining bilateral debt of the poorest African countries into grants.

The response by the United Nations to incipient crises and even fully blown tragedies had been slow in the past, he added. The massacre of over half a million people in Rwanda was a painful reminder of that sluggish response. The United Nations needed to fully prepare itself for any future emergencies. The best way to do that would be to develop an efficient early warning system and to build appropriate capacities to effectively respond to simmering crises in Africa and in other parts of the world.

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ARIZAL EFFENDI (Indonesia) said that vigorous efforts must be taken to finally resolve the unsustainable debt burden of African countries. It was a travesty for the African countries to continue to pay more than 17 per cent of their total export earnings to donors and commercial lenders, while many struggle to meet the most basic needs of their people. There should be support for international agreement to clear the debt stock of the poorest countries in Africa. Likewise, creditor countries should convert into grants the remaining official bilateral debt of the poorest African countries. Financial institutions also should significantly ease and quicken access to facilities in order to provide sufficient resources for economic growth and social development in heavily indebted countries.

He added that South-South cooperation held promise to support Africa's development objectives because many developing countries were clearly in a position to render assistance. Such assistance could be elaborated in such areas as trade promotion and strengthening food production and distribution. That also provided a good opportunity to draw on the experiences of the African countries and to determine priorities. The countries of the South could not afford to miss the opportunity to act in solidarity and to contribute to lasting solutions to their common problems.

SATYABRATA PAL (India) said the solution to Africa's problems were the solutions that were found in Europe after 1945: aid, development, and trade and cooperation. Those problems, however, were not the type that could be addressed by the Security Council since they were completely outside of its mandate. His delegation was therefore pleased that the Secretary-General's report was also being submitted to the General Assembly and other relevant bodies of the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) study on "Africa's Recovery in the 1990s" noted that Africa benefitted little from the policies followed in the 1960s and the 1970s, he continued. The adjustment policies forced on the continent in the 1980s did not contribute to its long-term development objectives. Those weaknesses in national capacities produced the macro- economic disequilibrium, and the consequent need to adjust.

It was virtually impossible now to determine whether the decline or stagnation in parts of Africa were caused by domestic policies, external shocks or by the adjustment policies imposed upon them. There was a fair amount of consensus that responsibility must be equally shared among the three. Current political orthodoxy recommended a weakening of the State in Africa and elsewhere, through privatization, a reduction of the role of the government and greater reliance on market forces. It was not explained how a weak State could be expected to simultaneously tackle strong interest groups who were believed to have exploited national economies and political systems, or even more to impose the harsh adjustment policies that were still needed to

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integrate nations into the global economy. Adjustment and liberalization inevitably imposed social tensions, and carried the risk that large sections would be pauperized.

The interim period, he continued, needed to be bridged. Governments going through that period of transformation must have the money to pay for social support; without that, adjustment policies would fail. That failure would carry with it the even greater danger that the democratic experiment would also flounder, and create precisely those tensions that found release in violence. It had been recognized in Eastern Europe that countries in transition needed massive financial support to pre-empt violence and entrench democracy. It was a pity that Africa, which had the same problems, did not receive anywhere near the same support.

Humanitarian assistance was taking an increasing share of the ODA, at a time when aid levels were falling sharply, he said. That had led to a reduction in resources devoted to addressing the underlying causes, those long-term problems of development which international assistance could best address. Referring to the UNHCR report on "The State of the World's Refugees 1997", he said aid had been channelled to humanitarian assistance to raise the comfort levels of donor States, not necessarily to address the real needs of recipients. He reminded the Council not to forget the many remarkable achievements Africa had made, when progress had depended on African decision and action.

DAUDI N. MWAKAWAGO (United Republic of Tanzania) said that Africa continued to dominate the Council's agenda, a matter of shame to the continent and to the common humanity shared by the whole world. It was a matter calling for urgent reversal and for which the region bore primary responsibility. Nevertheless, it was a matter that Africa could not surmount alone. Pious hopes or even eloquent rhetoric could not be a substitute for concrete action. Sadly, Africa had had many initiatives over the last 10 years to no avail. Perhaps it was time to find out why there had been so little on the ground.

He said that the result of well-meant programmes such as the heavily indebted poor countries debt initiative of the Bretton Woods institutions had proved disappointing. Africa continued to face a crippling debt burden. While Africa did not desire to dishonour its debt obligations, a cancellation of such debt would release and make available the critical resources it needed to build appropriate infrastructure for its prosperity and peace.

ABDUSALLAM O. IBRAHIM (Libya) said Africa's instability had its roots in colonialism and that the seeds of violent conflicts in the region were also sowed by the introduction of colonial boundaries. Efforts should be made to end the conflicts. There would be no peace without economic prosperity. Africa's debt burden was like traps imposed by foreign governments and

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creditors, and Africa must demand their cancellation. If developed countries had good faith in Africa's development, they should desist from actions such as imposition of economic sanctions against countries such as his own and Nigeria. The time had come for former colonial Powers to apologize for their past actions and to pay compensation.

His delegation was surprised that the Secretary-General's report made no mention of the effects of the conflict situation between his country, and the United States and the United Kingdom. The people of Libya were suffering from the unjust sanctions imposed against their country. If the Security Council wished to help resolve African problems, it should lift the sanctions against Libya and act on the proposals for peaceful resolution of the issue put forward by the OAU and also by the League of Arab States. The Security Council, on the other hand, could wait for the outcome of the adjudication of the issue by the International Court of Justice.

Libya wanted consolidation of cooperation between the OAU and the United Nations in the area of peace and security. He urged support for the OAU mechanism for the peaceful resolution of conflicts. Libya opposed any policy or moves aimed at introducing outside mechanisms for the resolution of conflicts in Africa. He also hoped that today's deliberations of the Council would not be an isolated event and that issues of concern to Africa, such as peace and development, would be dealt with by other organs of the United Nations.

ALVARO FORERO (Colombia) said that the unfair fate of Africa beset by prejudice and recipes for solutions imposed by an international community that failed to understand its complexities was a sufficiently clear lesson to act with caution and respect. The gravity of the African problem must not be postponed pending the equally urgent need for peace. Priorities should not be given to political areas over economic ones in the quest for development. Dogmatic positions favouring one concept over another, peace over development, should be avoided. While Africans were responsible for their own destiny, the international community should make sure that it did not have to do more than it could.

He agreed with the Secretary-General that the Security Council should take up on an urgent basis public identification of arms merchants. The neglect of that issue by the international community had a morally unacceptable connotation. In that regard, multilateral mechanisms to compile information on unlawful arms trafficking were needed.

Concerning the humanitarian issue, he said that the operations in Bosnia and Somalia shed light on the difficulty of acting in hostile environments without the consent and support of the parties. It was essential to find effective machinery for those who received humanitarian assistance and those

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who supplied it. Meanwhile, it was not a good idea to erase the dividing line between responsibilities carried out by force and those designed to assist the social and institutional efforts of States, which must be totally transparent and undertaken by consensus.

SAMIR MOUBARAK (Lebanon) said the situation in Africa was of deep concern and required international response. Africa should be given the resources necessary for its development. It was high time to end its debt burden, and to limit the proliferation of arms in the continent. The foundations for sustainable growth of the region should be laid. The Bretton Woods institutions should be involved in that effort. Colonialism had bequeathed the continent with deep problems and a common political will was required to deal with the region's problems. The return to normality in conflict areas in Africa required massive injection of financing and coordinated international action. It was the legitimate right of Africa and the duty of the international community to help Africa.

The debate on Africa's resurgence should not remain a dead letter. Lebanon supported priority to be given to Africa's development. In an interdependent world, it made no sense not to do so, he added.

Archbishop JEAN-LOUIS TAURAN, observer for the Holy See, noting the elements highlighted by the Secretary-General's report, said the problems facing Africa were linked: injustices fostered wars; conflicts led to poverty; extreme poverty resulted in the displacement of masses of peoples; and the impoverishment of whole societies brought about despair and passivity.

Outlining the Holy See's priorities regarding Africa, he said the lack of respect for the human person, which had characterized the life of Africans, sowed hatred and continued to foster countless conflicts. What happened today in Rwanda, despite appeals for clemency, was not the way to foster democracy. Persistent poverty had led to passivity and despair. Armed conflict was engendered, most often, by a thirst for power; the constant flow of arms from one country to another increased violence and led governments further into debt, delaying economic and social development.

He said the problems of Africa must be resolved by Africans themselves. But they could not succeed if they were abandoned; and if they became toys in the hands of hegemonies and foreign interference, be they near or far. Africa needed friends who were inspired to help its leaders take the path to a respectful political dialogue, a fair public administration and fraternal solidarity.

GIULIO TERZI DI SANT'AGATA (Italy) said that the African picture was changing, however slowly, and prospects looked brighter today than in the

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past. The holding of free elections, the consolidation of democratic governments and the increase in growth rates contained the seeds of hope. African countries were capable of solving by themselves the crises afflicting the continent.

He said that the international community, as the Secretary-General had underlined, should aim to help African governments create an environment favourable to investment flows and alleviating the debt burden. Development cooperation must increasingly aim to create economic partnership rather than economic dependency. Particularly needed was the integration of African countries into the flow of international trade and investments, at a time that was seeing a drive towards the liberalization of exchanges, while Africa was seeing a decline in its export rates and in the flow of direct investments.

In the Great Lakes region, he said, hundreds of Italian cooperators and volunteers were active in the most dramatic moments and Italy also supported parallel forms of preventive diplomacy, such as the initiative of the Community of Sant'Egidio to bring together the parties in Burundi, following its successful experience in Mozambique. It must not be forgotten that in Africa there had been peacekeeping operations crowned with success, such as in Mozambique, or that were showing signs of being on the road to success, such as in Angola. Those experiences proved that when the right basic conditions were in place, the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation could be a most effective instrument.

He urged an especially strong commitment by the entire international community to launch broad-based initiatives in defence of the sectors of the population that were the weakest and most vulnerable to war-related violence.

BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARRILLA (Cuba) said the Security Council was considering problems and advances in Africa, which must also be taken up in other parts of the United Nations system. Cuba was pleased that the Secretary-General's report included historical elements. There was need to remove the tremendous external obstacles standing in the way of Africa, and to do away with distortions and post-colonial exploitation, as well as alleviating the plight of the poor.

Of all regions that constituted the developing world, the African continent had, without doubt, suffered the most, he said. Massive colonization and centuries of colonial exploitation had resulted in unparalleled economic and social problems. While other regions of the developing world had known slavery, it was in Africa that slavery had been reborn in modern times. Genocide had been committed, millions had been kidnapped and the region's resources had been plundered more than in any other area. Africa continued to suffer under the "philosophy of plunder". The

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economic system termed "globalization" must not merely increase the opportunities of the few at the expense of the majority.

The debt owed to the continent had not been paid, he said. Primary responsibility lay with those countries which had for years benefitted from Africa's resources and the work of its men and women. It was not enough to offer historical apologies. The solutions to Africa's problems could not be found in the marketplace alone. Unequal trade, as well as protectionist and discriminatory measures, widened the gap between developed and developing countries. Developing countries did not want charity; they sought treatment without discrimination, fair prices and equal access to markets. They sought the cessation of exploitation that its peoples were exposed to.

Cuba was proud of the African blood flowing in the veins of its people, and also proud of the contributions made by Africans, he said. With the greatest respect and humility, Cuba was determined to cooperate and support Africa. Within the context of its limited resources, Cuba was determined to continue supporting Africa. Peace could not be imposed. No lasting solutions to Africa's problems would be found through arms. Imposing democratic models, diminishing States' sovereignty or imposing neo-liberal adjustments would not lead to peace. While millions lived with hunger and disease, there would be no peace in Africa. While there was no social peace, there would be no peace. Africa had tremendous potential. All it needed was the opportunity which had initially been available to all developed countries: the chance to demonstrate the capabilities of its people and the profundity of its culture.

FELIPE MABILANGAN (Philippines) said that the socio-economic situation in Africa was of priority concern. It was troubling, however, that tackling problems and paving the way to accelerated and self-sustaining growth through decisive actions had been lacking. The ODA to the continent had consistently declined over the past five years, and the debt problems of many African countries had yet to see a comprehensive and durable solution.

The proliferation of arms, particularly small arms and mines, should be curtailed, he said. His country had supported the Security Council's various sanctions on the flow of arms into the crisis areas of Africa, and Member States should be encouraged to do their part in restricting such activity. Also, democracy as the guiding principle of efforts in Africa could not be compromised. There was a need to realize good and strengthened democratic governance, to promote transparency and accountability, and to enhance administrative capacity in individual States.

SOTIRIOS ZACKHEOS (Cyprus) said a major concern of the international community was the alarming number of armed conflicts, mostly internal, in the African continent. His country was especially concerned with the plight of more than 8 million refugees and displaced persons. Despite progress in some

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African countries, serious economic problems persisted. The international community should give special attention to debt relief and to the needs of the least-developed countries, as well as African countries that were in danger of marginalization as a result of globalization.

Cyprus had always had strong ties with the African peoples, he said. Special bonds were also forged during the decolonization era and by the presence of Cypriot communities in many African countries. Cyprus was providing scholarships for Africans in graduate and post-graduate programmes, and it had participated in election-monitoring in some African countries. His country pledged continued support in international efforts for strengthening peace, cooperation and development in the continent.

SEMAKULA KIWANUKA (Uganda) said that the Secretary-General's report came at a time when, in spite of enormous problems, positive change was under way in Africa. A new political leadership was championing democracy, human rights and good governance. It had championed economic reforms and the stabilization of currencies. Economic growth had more than tripled since 1990 in many countries. All those changes pointed to a potentially stable and democratic Africa.

To build a durable peace, it was imperative to address the root causes of conflict, he said. Economies that did not grow could not develop, and sustained economic growth was essential for sustainable development. Without sustainable development, poverty could not be eradicated. "Poverty is a war that Africa must fight and win." To win that war, policies were needed that were multidimensional in the broad social development sector, targeting women, the growing population of unemployed youth and the poor in general.

He said that the Green Revolution that had modernized agricultural production in Asia had bypassed Africa. Serious attention must be paid to the agricultural sector, which must be modernized through the application of appropriate technologies, credit to the farmers and the provision of rural infrastructures. Besides a few countries in the region, Africa had never undergone industrial revolution and thus remained an exporter of raw materials and unable to enter the global economy. Africa's debt burden of $328.9 billion was totally unsustainable and had crippled African countries' efforts to build their economies. Africa called for a serious review of the debt burden. The Secretary-General's recommendations for the conversion of all remaining bilateral debt of the poorest African countries into grants and for clearing the entire debt stock of those countries could hardly be improved upon.

JAAP RAMAKER (Netherlands) said his country shared the Secretary- General's view that economic reform was needed in many parts of Africa. African countries should indeed strive to make themselves more attractive to

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foreign investment. While implementing economic reform programmes, the position of the weakest section of society should be given special attention. Much of the Netherlands' development effort was geared to that objective. It welcomed critical examination of aid flows. The Netherlands strongly favoured increasing the effectiveness of development assistance. Assistance meant for Africa should be spent as much as possible in the region. Of the $3 billion allocated to development assistance in 1996, $800 million was used for projects and programmes for Africa. More than 50 per cent of the amount was spent in Africa itself. The Netherlands' contribution to debt redemption worldwide was significant, amount to about $648 million for the period 1991- 1996.

For the first time in decades, he said, African economies were reporting substantial real growth. Positive developments in Africa were seen to be gaining momentum. If political will was summoned, both by the international community and by Africa itself, a better future for the region, for millions of people who desired to live in peace and to see their living conditions improving, was within reach.

SAMUEL INSANALLY (Guyana) said that while no one could deny the negative consequences which conflicts held for African countries, the primary causes of political and social instability in the region lay in the weak economic and physical infrastructure prevailing in most countries. The ravages of colonialism were not easily remedied. Unless there was a true appreciation of the fundamental issues involved, there could be no guarantee of finding definitive and durable solutions to outstanding problems. For the seeds of democracy, good governance and human rights to germinate and grow, one must remove the detritus of colonialism and lay down structures that would be conducive to a new culture. It must be borne in mind also that not all species of development could be transplanted in their original forms. They must be adapted to suit the local soil.

He said African countries were in no position to attract foreign investment, which only flowed to countries deemed to be safe havens. As a consequence, many African countries could not take advantage of arrangements to provide them with preferential market access for their commodities. Not surprisingly, although Africa represented almost 22 per cent of the world's population, the continent accounted for only 2 per cent of world trade.

DIRK WOUTERS (Belgium) said he hoped the interest shown in the current debate would translate into concrete actions. The report was not an end in itself; it was an instrument to guide the international community. Belgium did not hesitate to face the past to draw lessons and define a new policy approach. In 1995, it had formulated an agenda for new levels of cooperation with sub-Saharan Africa. More recently, it had undertaken an overall

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evaluation of its peacekeeping policies, following the events of 1994 in Rwanda.

The United Nations should seek to resolve conflicts while addressing their root causes. Cooperation between regional organizations offered great possibilities in that regard. Sanctions were a useful instrument, but their potential negative consequences for vulnerable sectors meant that less indiscriminate means should be developed. Much remained to be done to make up for the absence of norms governing conventional weapons, and small arms in particular. Belgium welcomed the initiative to investigate arms trafficking in Africa and planned to contribute to the effort. Belgium was contributing to increasing African countries' contribution to maintaining peace in ways meant to complement -- not replace -- the role played by governments in the region.

Humanitarian action could not replace political action, he said. Without addressing the root causes of conflict, humanitarian interventions would be merely palliative. Development in Africa was a long-term undertaking. Africa must draw up its own models of democratic societies, in which minorities were involved in decision-making. Societies that relied on foreign aid did not meet the conditions needed for durable stability. Development assistance should be targeted towards reducing the dependence of recipient countries. Belgium associated itself with efforts to assist Africa's escape from the debt trap.

MOHAMMAD J. SAMHAN (United Arab Emirates) said that despite positive developments in the past decade, some parts of the African region were still engulfed in conflicts and instability. There was need for mobilizing international assistance to enhance Africa's capacity to develop its human and other resources for development. Some basic steps should be adopted to help Africa, including the summoning of the necessary political will by African States to start implementing comprehensive strategies to contain conflicts. The peculiarities of each situation should be taken into account in all approaches to conflict resolution. An early warning system should be in place, and negotiation and arbitration should also be employed. Cooperation between the United Nations and regional groups should be enhanced.

He said double standards should be avoided in the application of the sanctions regime. He urged the Security Council to lift the sanctions imposed on Libya in the light of the recent rulings by the International Court of Justice in the case brought by Libya against the United States and the United Kingdom over the Lockerbie incident. His country had undertaken many joint development projects with a number of African countries exceeding $3 billion. He said the United Nations and its agencies, as well as the international development agencies, should help solve Africa's economic development problems.

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MOHAMED ABOUD MAHMOUD (Comoros) aligned himself with the statements made by the Chairman of the OAU, and the Chairman in April of the African Group. He welcomed the various signs of economic recovery evident on the African continent; however, much remained to be done.

If a State was to play its role as a guarantor of freedoms, its institutions must be able to function effectively, he said. The Comoros needed large scale international support to allow its institutions to function effectively. Ever since its independence in 1975, the Comoros had been shaken by a series of raids by international mercenaries. The Government called on the Secretary-General to encourage Member States to ratify the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries that was adopted in 1989. In addition, its socio-economic issues needed to be resolved.

Its incomplete independence was a significant element that should not be overlooked, he said. Furthermore, it was high time that action be taken to ensure that such outdated acts as the present revolt against the Comoros cease to exist. He appealed to the international community and the Security Council to assist it in entering the twenty-first century as a re-united country.

MARTIN BELINGA EBOUTOU (Cameroon) said that the international community had indicated its reluctance in the last few years to enter into any financial risk, essential to peacekeeping and economic recovery in Africa. That was giving rise to a number of questions, and to the feeling that an entire continent had been marginalized and abandoned, doomed to war, disease and poverty. The Organization and the Security Council could now regain credibility, for they had done much to liberate the continent.

Priority should be given to preventive diplomacy, for maintaining peace and preventing the firing of guns could brook no delay, he said. That was the vital duty of the Security Council. In that regard, he appreciated the initiatives undertaken by the Secretary-General to stem certain African conflicts. Cameroon expected the United Nations to implement resolutely preventive diplomacy to avoid degeneration into armed conflict.

The proliferation of illegal weapons in Africa was worrisome, and the statistics were enlightening. Upon the end of the cold war, armaments shifted into the production of light weapons, and black market operators imposed their illicit proliferation in Africa. Those weapons were so inexpensive that they were available to any African citizen. The Secretary-General's recommendation to compile a list of those "merchants of death" had his support. Peace and development were intrinsically linked. Progress could be real only when common progress was made on all fronts. Lack of development threatened prosperity and international peace and security.

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For information media. Not an official record.