It is a pleasure to be here in Addis Ababa and to address the African Union Peace and Security Council again.
I would like to say a few words about all three of the items on your agenda today: counter-terrorism, and the crises in South Sudan and Burundi.
Terrorism and violent extremism are a growing threat on this continent. Al Shabaab, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Boko Haram, and the Lord’s Resistance Army have established a presence and expanded their activities across borders.
Terrorism is also impacting peace operations, particularly in Mali and Somalia.
The radicalization and recruitment of young men and women is a cause for great concern.
I commend the African Union’s efforts to strengthen its counter-terrorism efforts by coordinating its activities. Sub-regional initiatives are another welcome development.
This new programmes make the need for coordination and partnership between the African Union and the United Nations even more urgent, across a broad spectrum of activities.
As I have said before, bullets may stop terrorists, but only development, good governance and respect for human rights can prevent terrorism.
This is why I recently launched a UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. The Plan provides more than 70 recommendations to Member States and the United Nations System.
It recommends that Member States consider adopting their own National Plans, and that regional organizations cooperate on border security, kidnapping and terrorist financing.
I hope the African Union will back a consensus resolution to support the Plan in the General Assembly, which will convey a strong message of unity in the face of violent extremism.
African Governments must be at the forefront of this effort.
Moving to South Sudan, I am deeply disappointed that the signatories to the peace agreement failed to meet the 22 January deadline for the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity.
I call on all parties urgently to resolve the disputes that are preventing the establishment of the government. The parties must place the interests of their young nation and its people, who have suffered long enough, above their own.
It is critical that African Union Member States and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, IGAD, hold the signatories accountable for following through on their commitments.
The United Nations stands ready to lend its full support to President Festus Mogae, the African Union, its High Representative President Alpha Oumar Konaré, and IGAD, in their efforts to end the unimaginable suffering of the South Sudanese people.
Burundi has descended into a deep political crisis in the past nine months. The country now stands perilously close to the brink.
I commend the leadership of the African Union and the East African Community for the steps taken so far to prevent a further escalation of the violence. You have already made an important difference.
By authorizing the deployment of the prevention and protection mission MAPROBU, this Council has sent a strong signal to the entire continent and the world that you will not stand by while the violence escalates and human rights abuses continue unpunished.
I commend your decisive leadership.
Now we must do everything we can to put in place an inclusive political process. We will work with our partners to support dialogue and find ways to prevent a further deterioration of the situation, through my Special Adviser, Mr. Jamal Benomar, and his team, and the rest of the UN presence on the ground.
Fifteen years ago, the commitment of regional governments and the support of the international community led to the Arusha Agreement, which ended decades of terrible violence.
Today, I am convinced that Burundi can be brought back from the brink. But we must all urgently direct our efforts in the same spirit and towards that same goal.