Two-day Security Council meeting hear 54 speakers on Secretary General's 1998 report on Africa
The West was prepared to spend $40 billion to fight a war in the Balkans, and less than 1 per cent of that to save the lives of tens of millions in Africa, the representative of Nigeria told the Security Council at the end of its two-day open debate on the situation in Africa.
In Kosovo, the international community spent $1.50 a day per refugee, while refugees in Rwanda and Sierra Leone received an equivalent of eleven cents, he continued. Those facts raised deeply troubling moral questions which must be addressed. The Council must match words with deeds and apply a single standard when responding to conflicts and thus fulfil its obligation for the maintenance of international peace and security.
The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo said a Congolese national was no different from a national of Kosovo or East Timor. He had the right to life. The colour of his skin did not make him a substandard being. He called on the President of the General Assembly and the United Nations Secretary-General -- two Africans -- to tell the world that the people of Africa would not understand that, when it came to conflict, they would be neglected by the Council. He appealed to the Council to help implement the Lusaka ceasefire agreement.
Rwanda's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation, Augustin Iyamuremye, also appealed to all parties to respect the provisions of the Lusaka agreement, which called for the Council, in cooperation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU), to establish, facilitate and deploy a peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to ensure implementation of the agreement.
In the course of the two-day debate, the Council heard from 54 speakers as it reviewed the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Secretary- General's April 1998 report on the causes of conflict and promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa.
Voicing a theme expressed by many, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of India, Vasundhara Raje, said the development of African peacekeeping capacities should not be an excuse for the Council to abdicate its responsibilities. Regarding public health, she said the malaria challenge and its adverse economic impact in Africa could be considered a cause and not a consequence of underdevelopment. The need for funds to combat AIDS in Africa touched upon the general question of neglect and non-application of cutting-edge scientific and technological research in the areas of health in the developing world.
A number of speakers stressed that foreign debt servicing was a serious issue facing many African countries. Africa's poverty was exacerbated by constantly deteriorating terms of trade, falling commodity prices, increasing protectionism in developed countries and declining official development assistance (ODA). Many speakers emphasized that peace and development were inextricably intertwined.
Other speakers stressed the need for targeted sanctions and controlling the flow of arms to areas in conflict.
Today, the Council was addressed by the Foreign Ministers of the Philippines, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Togo, Slovakia, Sudan, Senegal, Mozambique, Ghana, Jamaica, Portugal and Comoros.
Also, the representatives of Libya, South Africa, Finland (speaking for the European Union and associated States), Egypt, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Belgium, Japan, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Cuba, Swaziland, Uruguay, Zambia, Uganda and Pakistan made statements.
The representatives of Canada and the United States paid tribute to the outgoing Permanent Representative of Nigeria, Ibrahim Gambari.
Today's meeting, which began at 10:14 a.m., was suspended at 1:04 p.m. and resumed at 2:10 p.m. It was adjourned at 5:56 p.m.
Council Work Programme
The Security Council this morning resumed its open debate on the situation in Africa. It had before it the progress report of the Secretary-General (document S/1999/1008) on the implementation of the recommendations contained in his April 1998 report on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (document S/1998/318). Yesterday, the Council heard from 23 speakers. (See Press Release SC/6734 of 29 September.)
DOMINGO L. SIAZON, Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, said that efforts aimed at preventing armed conflicts must continue to be directed towards those parts in Africa where the potential for conflict remained high. At the same time, the international community must support Security Council resolutions aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of arms embargoes and peacekeeping capacities of African countries. Legal regimes must be established which penalize those who continued to transfer arms into conflict areas, and creative energies must be used to stop the flow of small arms.
Stopping the proliferation of small arms would have the greatest chance of success if accompanied by confidence-building initiatives, he said. Principle regional actors must be involved in the contemplation of actions, as well as in the actions themselves. Providing assistance to the victims of conflict must be pursued as a complement to measures aimed at conflict resolution. Humanitarian aid was an immediate response, but also a necessary step towards recovery, rehabilitation, and development. Another critical component was the strengthening of economic foundations for sustainable development of African countries. The Secretary-General was right when he said that recent dramatic cuts in assistance to Africa had hurt Africa’s efforts to implement difficult economic and political reforms.
The challenges of Africa were challenges to all, he said, but Africans should be the first to respond resolutely to them. Good governance was the key to enduring peace and progress, and for democracy and good governance to succeed, adequate development resources must be provided. United Nations and international development initiatives must be reinvigorated. It was also important for the international community to find a solution to Africa’s unsustainable debt burden. Any international action, however, must take into account the Organization of African Unity (OAU) framework for action, on debt, and individual States must encourage stability and development in Africa by engaging African States as fellow members of the community of nations.
AUGUSTIN IYAMUREMYE, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation, of Rwanda, said Rwanda was aware of the attention the continent was receiving from the Council, and of the enormous amount of assistance that had been provided to it to stop the genocide. He commended the Secretary-General for his brilliant report. He said he could announce with pride that Rwanda had been able to overcome the two major problems to its security: the genocide had been ended; and almost 3 million refugees had been returned to the country. Peace and security now prevailed over the territory of Rwanda in its entirety.
Nevertheless, the genocidal forces, Interahamwe and the former Forces armées Rwandaises, were extremely active and highly armed, he said. Those forces of evil had only one objective: to complete the genocide in Rwanda, establish it throughout the subregion and abolish all who did not share their ideology of genocide. In the past, Rwanda had repeatedly put forward those facts, but the international community had not listened. It appealed again to the international community. Those forces of evil were hovering around Rwanda and prepared to continue their extermination in the Great Lakes region.
He appealed to all parties to respect and uphold the provisions of the ceasefire agreement signed in Lusaka. That agreement had important clauses pertaining to political negotiations that would establish a new order in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and disarm armed groups. Rwanda would strictly monitor implementation of that agreement, and hoped the international community would do the same.
That agreement also said that the Security Council, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, and in cooperation with the OAU, would be called upon to establish, facilitate and deploy a peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in order to ensure implementation of the agreement and would give it the mandate to find all the armed groups there. In that respect, the agreement states, the Council would define the mandate of the peacekeeping force accordingly. So far as Rwanda was concerned, "armed groups" meant, among other things, the genocidal forces and the Interahamwe.
For centuries, the three components that made up Rwanda society had lived in peace, with the same culture, language and customs, he said. Colonialism had contributed to the desegregation of that society. It had institutionalized ethnic divisions. Earlier, the concept of genocide would never had taken root in any of the groups of the population. The point was not to reassess the past, but rather to state that Rwanda was now in the process of rebuilding its social fabric, and creating a rebirth from its own ashes. Considerable progress had been achieved in national reconciliation and unity. Significant progress had also been made in such areas as justice, human rights, status of women, economy and development.
As for the conflict in the subregion, he said the one cause of destabilization in the countries of the Great Lakes region was already well known. Different militia groups that advocated and practised the ideology of genocide were the source of instability throughout the region. The international community should contribute to the complete implementation of the agreement signed in Lusaka. If it did not fight against the ideology of genocide and intellectual revisionism, the peace and security of the entire region would be jeopardized. Rwanda called, once again, for the international community's complete attention, given the importance and relevance of that agreement.
JAKAYA KIKWETE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Republic of Tanzania, said that, against all odds, African leaders had increasingly taken the lead in dealing with development and conflict issues. Summarizing the regional initiatives taken in that regard, he pointed to the critical need for support from the Council to implement such agreements as the Lusaka agreement of July concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Africa faced serious challenges and needed concrete support in building its capacity in both conflict-prevention and peacekeeping. The Council needed to look at ways of better working with regional initiatives. Trust funds and standby arrangements were inadequate and ineffective. More efficient and better-resourced arrangements would also permit broader participation.
Africa faced entrenched problems whose resolution required the collective commitment of the international community, he continued. African conflicts had created a ready market for arms merchants, whose trade made the conflicts more intense than if the flow of arms had been restricted. The relationship between conflict situations and refugees was also obvious. Refugees were an enormous burden on poor countries in economic, social, political and environmental terms. Even so, in the African way, for humanitarian reasons and from a responsibility to international obligations, African countries took in neighbouring refugees. That sacrifice could not be continued without increased international support, both for the affected countries and for the United Nations agencies involved in assistance to the refugees.
In addition, he said, Africa needed support to establish the necessary structures of governance and the rule of law. Africa was not, and could not be seen to be, inherently unstable and riven by conflict. "Africa does not need more exhortations", he said. "She needs support in strengthening her structures. She needs concrete resources with which to pursue her course of action." Further, it was no coincidence that most conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa were confined to countries with a high illiteracy rate and a per capital income of no more than $260. Strategies to assist Africa in overcoming present difficulties had to consider debt burdens as obstacles to alleviating poverty. Donor debt-relief initiatives were welcome, but for an impact on poverty to be made, far-reaching measures were needed.
Responsibility for creating the favourable domestic conditions to spur investments and development belong primarily to Africa, he said. But, the investment and assistance to help Africa in that effort would, in the long run, render assistance unnecessary. The economies thus generated in Africa would serve as models for other conflict-prone regions. Africa, however, could not accomplish that Herculean task alone.
Concerns about Africa at the level of the Security Council were welcome, he concluded. Africa's prosperity would create opportunities for the entire international community. Most African countries were working hard to heal problems. They were healing ethnic divisions, caring for refugees, building civil societies and establishing structures for genuine democracy. Leaders understood that the future depended on trade, science and technology. Many of them were labouring to ensure good governance, transparency and structural reform. Today was Africa's hour of need. With its great promise and potential, Africa was a credible investment for all. Dismissing that promise would be a detriment not only to Africa, but to the international community, as well.
JOSEPH KOKOU KOFFIGOH, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Togo, said the Secretary-General, in his report of April 1998, had urged the international community to cooperate with regional and subregional organizations in Africa by supporting their efforts for peacemaking and peace-building. In the presidential statement issued after the ministerial meeting in September 1998, the Council had advocated strengthening partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations. He hoped that would lead to specific action.
He said that in many parts of Africa, democratic elections were becoming the rule. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was trying to strengthen its mechanism for the prevention, management and settlement of conflicts. The focus should be on managing post-conflict situations. In many cases, parties to a conflict had stockpiled large quantities of weapons. It was imperative that the international community support the countries concerned to carry out programmes for disarmament and demobilization, with concern for the long-term need of reconstruction and recovery.
If the Council would authorize a speedy deployment of the force in Sierra Leone, it would help the Government initiate a plan for demobilization, he said. The recent situation in Guinea-Bissau could offer lessons about how to proceed in Sierra Leone. Thanks to the Government of France, some 600 men had been deployed in Guinea-Bissau, but the men were not able to go forward and the situation in that country deteriorated. A delay in the deployment of forces in Sierra Leone would have a negative impact on its neighbours. He recalled that in the past, there had been a high price for delays.
Continuing, he said African countries were still economically weak. The burden of trying to cope with conflict had an impact on socio-economic development. For a long time, Africa would continue to need support to re-establish and maintain peace. He called attention to language and cultural differences which could serve as obstacles to peace. He regretted that equal attention had not been given to all crises in all situations. When the United Nations dealt with crises in Africa, cost always seemed to be the decisive factor. He hoped there would be a correction in that tendency, which had served to marginalize Africa.
VASUNDHARA RAJE, Minister of State for External Affairs of India, said she would address several points highlighted in the Secretary-General's 1998 report on Africa, although a number of those fell outside the domain of the Security Council. It was wise to avoid rival mediation efforts, which sometimes led to tensions between the mediators and fed back into the conflict. Contact groups and special conferences might be helpful, but those should be set up only when all parties to a conflict were prepared to talk. Targeted sanctions were an interesting option. The focus of the exercise, however, should be to lessen the impact of sanctions on the innocent, in Africa and elsewhere, rather than on easing the administrative burden for the international banks through whom financial sanctions were imposed.
She said that Africa had suffered massive capital flight, estimated at approximately $22 billion between 1982 and 1991. Those outflows represented the fruits of corruption and had been invested in banks in developed countries. Africa urgently needed those funds back, and, to do so, needed the help of the foreign governments where those banks were based. Corruption could not be staunched at source if bribes could be safely squirreled away abroad. While the United Nations Secretariat was working with African States to make the violation of Council arms embargoes a criminal offence under national legislation, any legislation enacted by African States would be ineffective unless there were equally strict legal checks in the arms-exporting countries.
Surprisingly, she said, the Secretary-General's Africa report was silent on mercenaries, who sustained several ongoing conflicts and had committed horrible violations of human rights and humanitarian law. Moreover, mercenaries actively marketed their services to antagonists in Africa. Most of them came from countries outside the continent that had recently pruned their armies. Again, that was a problem for Africa whose solution did not lie in African hands. The other important omission was terrorism, which had bedevilled African security. India supported the recent call by African leaders to work for an "international and global convention for the struggle against all forms of terrorism". In addition, as her country had contributed to almost every peacekeeping operation mounted by the United Nations in Africa, it would remain committed to peacekeeping efforts there.
Continuing, she said the development of African peacekeeping capacities should not become an excuse for the Council to abdicate its responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security. Moreover, the Council should not refuse to set up peacekeeping operations in Africa because they required extra resources, involved physical risks to peacekeepers, or could be protracted in duration. All regions of the world should be dealt with equally and transparently, and Africa deserved the Council's attention to the prompt dispatch of United Nations peacekeeping operations, when necessary. Recommendations on the subject of humanitarian assistance, however, required closer examination and should not be accepted as a basis for action. Confusing figures on how well Africa had fared last year in terms of development had made it difficult for Member States to objectively judge the situation. Any discussion of humanitarian assistance needed to be broken down according to geography.
The economic aspects of the African question, including the decline in net inflows and the limited scope of foreign investment, were also disturbing. On public health, the malaria challenge and its adverse economic impact in Africa could be considered a cause, and not just a consequence, of underdevelopment. Combating AIDS in Africa, in light of the estimated funds needed for treatment, touched upon the general question of neglect and non-application of cutting-edge scientific and technological research in health in the developing world and the need for urgently exploring innovative ways of financing it.
JAROSLAV CHLEBO, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, told the Council there was no doubt that in recent years the continent of Africa had made significant progress on its way to stability and prosperity. But it still remained "afflicted and threatened by a great number of conflicts and tensions", he added.
Mr. Chlebo said the increased assistance of the international community was important for enhancing African peacekeeping capacity. But it could not be a substitute for the responsibility of Africa itself to seek political, rather than military, responses to problems, and to uphold the principles of good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Slovakia fully supported increased cooperation between the United Nations and Africa on peacekeeping. It also commended the activities of ECOWAS and, in particular, the Presidents of Togo and Zambia, which led to ceasefire agreements in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, respectively.
Mr. Chlebo recalled that his country has contributed nearly 3,000 peacekeepers to various United Nations operations, including - in Africa - Angola, Rwanda, the Uganda-Rwanda border, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It was ready now to send a 150-strong engineering unit for mine-clearance duty in Western Sahara. In terms of peacekeeping troops as a percentage of population, Slovakia belonged among the leading troop-contributing States.
Mr. Chlebo said the United Nations and the international community "must take all measures available to enforce ... the Security Council’s arms embargo, inter alia, through the identification of the sources of arms flows". A "bitter example" of the violation of arms embargoes was Angola. The United Nations peacekeeping operation in that country "has failed, and the effort of the international community has been brought to naught because of the continued supply of weapons to the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA)".
MUSTAFA OSMAN ISMAIL, Minister for External Relations of the Sudan, said paragraph 102 of the Secretary-General's report referred to the conflict in the south of the Sudan. That crisis was left over from colonization and had continued for over 50 years. The current Government had made serious efforts to achieve peace in the south, and welcomed all good faith efforts. It had accepted the Declaration of Principles from the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD). His Government was willing to declare a permanent ceasefire in the whole of the south of the Sudan. But the rebel group had obstructed the ceasefire and killed relief workers, most recently in April. He appealed to the international community and to the Council to adopt sanctions to pressure the rebel movement to join the peace process, as it had done with Jonas Savimbi in Angola.
The report stressed the importance of socio-economic development in dealing with the causes of conflict, but resources had not been sufficient for rehabilitation and reconstruction, he said. If not enough attention was paid, that opened the door for further conflicts. Development played an important role in the creation of peace.
Yesterday, the reference by the Foreign Minister of Canada to allegations of slave trading in the Sudan had been surprising and amazing, he said. Canada was almost the only country that made such accusations, yet, it did not have resident diplomatic representation in the Sudan, nor had it sent any official fact-finding delegation to the country.
The Ministerial Council of the Arab League had, in September, looked into the misleading media campaign made by some suspect organizations, particularly the Christian Solidarity International, he said. It had unanimously decided that the campaign was aimed at destroying Sudan's image and sparking sectarian strife. A copy of that resolution had been sent to the President of the Security Council. The Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-governmental Organizations had adopted a resolution recommending withdrawing Christian Solidarity International's consultative status, in view of its excesses. The draft resolution submitted by the European Union to the Commission on Human Rights last March on the situation in the Sudan had not made mention of the slave trade. The Union's draft had mentioned kidnappings occurring during tribal conflicts in remote areas. Concrete steps were being taken to eliminate that problem.
The Government of the Sudan had dealt with the allegations of slave trade with all seriousness, as it was a heinous crime that went against all religions, he said. Article 20 of the 1998 Constitution provided that every human being had the right to freedom and security, dignity and honour in accordance with the law, and could not be put to work forcibly or tortured. Article 163 of the 1991 Criminal Code provided for punishing with imprisonment and fine all who tried to force anyone to work.
He said he had asked representatives of European countries for any information on the presence of the practice in his country, but all had declined. The Government had asked the OAU to send a fact-finding mission if it had any information on the slave trade. There were hundreds of high-level professionals from the south and of the Christian faith in politics, the army and academia. Would they all turn a blind eye if slavery was taking place there? he asked.
He asked the Canadian Minister for the name of one person who had been enslaved, and the identity of his purchaser. In view of the gravity of the accusation, he said, and as Canada was a member of the Security Council, the Canadian Government should send a fact-finding mission to ascertain the falsity of the accusation, which was the worst insult that could be hurled at a country. He then asked the Council to send a fact-finding mission to investigate the strike made by the United States against the pharmaceutical company in his country. The Sudan would cooperate with any fact-finding mission from any country -- or the United Nations, the European Union, the OAU, the Arab League, or the Organization of the Islamic Conference -- sent to investigate the accusations regarding the slave trade.
JAQUES BAUDIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Senegal, stressed the importance of continuing to think about the sources of conflict in Africa. Stating that there was a new generation of complex conflicts, he called attention to: the fratricidal conflicts between groups seeking power within a country; mutinies of factions of national armed forces moved by political demands; the heightening of problems caused by armed ethnic bands, especially in refugee camps; and the policy of some countries to revise their border policies. Those conflicts were made worse by the increase in banditry, drug trafficking and the illicit transfer of small arms. The list was not exhaustive.
He was pleased that the Council had decided to strengthen its support for the regional organizations and to support mechanisms for host countries to maintain the neutrality of refugee camps. It was important to strengthen the OAU's early warning system and the conflict management centre. He appealed to development partners for an increase in resources to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Equal importance should be attached to post- conflict peace-building. Post-conflict management remained one of the weak points of joint action.
The countries involved should enjoy special treatment with regard to reconstruction and reconciliation, he added. It was also important to take into account the situation of child soldiers. He emphasized the serious development constraints that African countries were facing, stressing the importance of the intolerable debt-servicing burden and its impact on African countries involved in the twofold process of political and economic reform.
He went on to say that, due to the cooperation of the international community, Africa had succeeded in training thousands of peacekeeping troops. Joint multilateral manoeuvres among participating African countries were scheduled, to train for future crises. The United Nations must act quickly and well. Certain nations must get beyond the reflex action of simply raising the problems, without any real will to find the appropriate solutions. He recalled a sentence by the French writer Mirebeau, who said that in this world anything could be defended except inconsistency. He hoped that Council members should give some thought to that idea.
JAMES VICTOR GBEHO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ghana, said the case for proving Africa’s readiness to pull itself up by its boot-straps when it came to challenges to peace and security on the continent had been well established by all previous speakers. As had been noted by an earlier speaker, there could be no peace without development, nor could there be development without peace.
The United Nations Charter gave ultimate responsibility for international peace and security to the Security Council and yet Africa was desperately in the throes of conflict, he continued. By holding the debate, the Council acknowledged the critical role that it had to play in improving the environment for development in that region of the world. The Security Council, therefore, had to assume its full responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in Africa. Regional peacekeeping missions and other efforts by Africa could, therefore, be no excuse for the Security Council to shirk its responsibility to African countries.
They had had to bear such responsibility in West Africa not only because they felt a sense of ownership for confronting and managing conflict, but also because the response by the international community had recently been either muted or lukewarm. In a few instances, the response had been too little, too late. It was the conviction of the Government of Ghana that the Council’s duty to maintain peace without ambivalence must be upheld and emphasized.
He reiterated a point he had made in the General Assembly last week that the time had come for the international community to do in Africa as much as it had done in other areas in guaranteeing peace. In the past few months - in Kosovo and East Timor - the international community had demonstrated was the kind of resources it was willing and able to mobilize at short notice. He was pleased with that effort and congratulated the countries involved. Africa urged the Security Council to move with similar dispatch concerning the tragedies of Africa, in order to dispel any perceptions of discrimination.
In Ghana’s view, Africa’s case had often required less onerous assistance in terms of human lives and military dispositions than was necessary in post-conflict management, he said. The root of many conflicts in Africa lay in its difficult socio-economic situation. There would thus be neither peace, nor security until the issue of poverty was seriously addressed. The achievement of peace and security required an international approach.
While he appreciated the assistance by developed countries for enhancing Africa’s peacekeeping efforts, that should be coordinated to avoid parallel bodies competing for attention and, therefore, wasting energy. The international community must also support efforts to stem the illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons in West Africa. The Government of Ghana, in recognition of the need to address the serious problem of arms proliferation in the subregion and the related issue of the forced participation of children in armed conflicts, intended to jointly host soon, with the Government of Canada, a subregional workshop on the Mali Moratorium and to establish a framework to keep children out of conflict.
Africa recognized its responsibility to take steps to create a viable environment for sustainable development, he said. Good governance, accountability and measures towards poverty alleviation were part of that process and the Secretary-General’s report acknowledged African efforts in that direction.
ABUZED OMAR DORDA (Libya) said Africans were not happy that some nations saw today's meeting as an opportunity to talk about the extent to which they had helped Africa. Recalling the debt of gratitude that Africans owed was offensive, particularly since Africans had not fogotten what had been taken from them. The rich and the powerful did not give Africa anything but words, while in other places they spent without limit. Yet, Africans were asked to contribute to the United Nations or be deprived of the right to vote. He said the Secretary-General had done his duty, making reports, suggestions and demands, but the resolutions were not up to him. The United Nations had left Somalia to drown in its trouble. Angola was also abandoned. Where was the United Nations in the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa? he asked. Africa's wounds could not be healed by good intentions or public debates. Concrete action was needed.
He called on the international community to undertake a variety of actions, including to: endorse OAU efforts in accordance with formulas adopted by the OAU; finance the requirements for the implementation of OAU resolutions; and in the area of health, to adopt and support international programmes under the auspices of the OAU and the United Nations to deal promptly with AIDS. There should be a similar programme against malaria and other diseases. All international organizations should contribute to such work.
He said democracy meant the right of the people to choose their government and a formula for democracy could not be imposed. To achieve democracy, one needed to take into consideration many geo-political, social and cultural factors. Disagreements arose when a particular model was imposed, ignoring the level of cultural development. To try and make reality fit a prefabricated formula was like trying to make someone's body conform to a pre-made suit. Not long ago, generals ruled in Portugal, Spain and Greece and other countries. In Africa, belonging to a tribe or religious sect was much stronger than any political affiliation. If the United Nations wanted to help, it should not try to impose a particular form of democracy.
He called on the Organization to affirm: that any formula for democracy must entail freedom; prevent international financial institutions from imposing conditions that would prejudice choices in governing; establish training institutes; and encourage international investment and the provision of technical know-how. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) must initiate studies for industrial projects in which African countries could provide resources and industrial nations provide the finance and know-how. The United Nation should support the present African economic groupings.
The Council must not fall subject to pressure regarding sanctions, he said. He recalled the impact of such action on his country.
DUMISANO S. KUMALO (South Africa) said that African countries that had fought for liberation and against colonial rule, with the help and support of the United Nations, believed that it was important for multilateral institutions to provide a forum at which the international community could continue to debate positive ways of articulating and advancing the interests of developing countries in crisis. Concrete steps to enhance peace, security and development in Africa should be undertaken. A debate in the United Nations General Assembly on these issues would add to the collective wisdom needed to address them.
Whereas the United Nations continued to be the foremost organization in the maintenance of international peace and security, African countries were ready to address issues of conflict in the continent, he said. He underscored the importance of creating a more democratic system of international governance, as would be reflected by a restructuring of multilateral institutions, including the United Nations and the Security Council.
He said his Government believed that an intrinsic link between peace and development existed, which required an integrated approach to conflict resolution. Support by the international community and, in particular, by the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions, was of the utmost importance to the efforts of African countries to create an enabling environment for sustainable development, as well as the restructuring of their economies.
The lack of timely and decisive United Nations response to conflict situations in Africa had been a frustration for developing countries, he added. Swift United Nations involvement in Kosovo was cited as a typical example, epitomizing the lack of enthusiasm for a similar United Nations response in Africa, such as the tragic situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The United Nations had an obligation to be seen by the peoples of the world as a truly even- handed interlocutor and peacemaker, he said.
The meeting suspended at 1:05 p.m.
When the meeting resumed at 2:15 p.m., MARJATTA RASI (Finland), speaking on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Cyprus, Malta and Iceland, told the Council of the European Union’s concern at the extension of armed conflicts, the influx of military equipment, and the increasing role of non-State actors in armed conflicts in Africa. Prospects for development and prosperity in countries affected by those conflicts had been shattered, she said. But, primary responsibility for Africa’s future rested with the Africans. The use of force was not conducive to lasting peace and security. It was essential for Africans to engage in a process leading towards democracy, power-sharing and respect for human rights.
The international community could not be indifferent to events in Africa, she said. While she welcomed the Council’s renewed determination to contribute to conflict resolution there, it was necessary to strengthen the United Nations’ capacity for conflict prevention and address the root causes of conflict. Unimpeded access by refugees, displaced persons and vulnerable populations to international humanitarian organizations was a fundamental principle, and the European Union strongly condemned arbitrary denial of those rights. The overwhelming majority of casualties in today’s African conflicts were civilian, most of them women and children. In that context, the European Union called upon all parties to conflicts in Africa to stop the recruitment of child soldiers. It was essential to bring to justice those responsible for violations, and to end the culture of impunity.
The European Union was ready to assist in building conflict-prevention capacities in Africa, particularly through the OAU and African subregional organizations, she said. It considered the sustainable development of Africa to be a high priority. Its commitment to Africa was based on shared interests, values and objectives. It was the world’s leading source of development assistance to Africa, providing more than two-thirds of total ODA flows to sub-Saharan Africa, and was now negotiating renewal of the Lomé Convention, its partnership with the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. It welcomed progress recently made at the Cologne Economic Summit, including the Summit’s recognition that the central purpose of relief from the burden of external debt -- a serious impediment to sustainable development for many African countries -- was poverty reduction.
SEYMOUR MULLINGS, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Jamaica, said that over 80 per cent of his country's population was of African descent. Jamaica was in solidarity with Africa in its struggle for peace. Africa needed more than just words of sympathy, however, it needed a programme to be implemented on a sustained basis to help end the cycle of conflict. The root causes must be tackled, to achieve long-term results. More concrete action must be taken by the Security Council in relation to conflict in Africa. There was a growing perception of "foot-dragging" by Council in terms of authorizing peacekeeping forces to conflict areas in Africa, while attention and resources were being diverted to other parts of the world.
Collective action was the best approach to addressing the complex situation, he continued. He appreciated the efforts of regional organizations, which had made significant contributions to restoring peace and democracy in Africa. But, the Security Council should not abdicate its role in the maintenance of international peace and security. It should continue to work in close cooperation with regional organizations to promote mediation and negotiations between contending parties.
Turning then to the proliferation of small arms, he said there was urgent need to halt the use, transfer, illegal manufacture and trade of small arms. Regarding Africa's economic and social development, he welcomed the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) external debt initiative from the meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized countries this year, aimed at alleviating the debt of 11 sub-Saharan countries. That should be the start of a more concerted move to eliminate Africa's debt. There was no place for "Africa fatigue" or "Africa pessimism", he said. Africa's survival was the concern of the entire international community. It was time to arise and rebuild.
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT (Egypt) said the Secretary-General's report contained entire chapters that did not come under the competence of the Council. Yet, the report was directed to the Council. The difference between the competence of the Council and the other bodies of the Organization needed to be distinguished. The Council must keep in mind the delicate balance between it and the other organs.
He said African nations had shown a greater willingness to assume collective responsibility to maintain peace and security on the continent. The fact that the OAU and the regional organizations were carrying out a more important role did not relieve the United Nations of its responsibilities with respect to dispute settlement. According to the statements by the heads of State in the General Assembly, the United Nations was more interested in other parts of the world, to the detriment of Africa. He had observed a reluctance on the part of the Council to adopt the measures necessary to avoid conflict or to achieve progress in instituting peace and settling disputes among parties to conflicts.
He expressed dismay over the situation in the Horn of African, stating that the tragedy in Somalia had continued for 8 years. There was no effort from the Council to end the conflict. The Council should be more proactive in obtaining national reconciliation in Somalia. He hoped that the Secretary- General's report on Somalia of 16 August 1999 would contribute to a Council examination, so that it could fulfil its mandate with regard to that crisis. He also hoped the Council would work towards an end to the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was one of the most serious challenges on the African continent, involving the armies of six countries. He urged the Council to adopt the measures that would ensure the
implementation of the ceasefire agreement that would entail a large-scale peacekeeping operation.
JAIME GAMA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Portugal, said the Security Council should, whenever possible, act in strict coordination with African regional organizations. However, it was unrealistic to hope or demand that the United Nations provide quick and full solutions to the conflicts in Africa if the belligerent parties themselves -- and those who directly or indirectly supported them -- were unwilling to show the necessary political will to abide by the agreements they had signed. It was also worrying that, while the international community was accused of showing a lesser interest in resolving African conflicts than those elsewhere, the decisions of the Security Council that had been taken and which sought to guarantee peace were openly flaunted.
In Angola, for example, where the United Nations had dedicated significant human and material resources, there were reports of persistent violations of the sanctions imposed by the Security Council on UNITA, which sought to prevent that movement from acquiring the weapons that would allow it to continue the war. On the economic front, Africa should not merely be an exporter of raw materials for the more developed countries, thereby remaining on the margins of a trend towards the new economic globalization. Africa’s integration into the world economy would more readily succeed with the continued and deepened process of regional integration in Africa, which by its very nature would reduce risk of political instability among States and create, at the same time, more attractive markets for foreign investment. He added that the reduction or forgiveness of debt should be accompanied, on the part of debtor countries, by solid macroeconomic reforms and policies, which eliminate existing distortions through a rigorous and transparent management of the funds made available.
HARRY P.HARYONO (Indonesia) said cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in enhancing and strengthening African capacity for peacekeeping, particularly in areas of training, dissemination of information, civilian police, and logistic support, remained crucial. While the reinforcement of the African capacity in peacekeeping was a priority, it should not relieve the Council of its obligation for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Reviewing some of the challenges facing African States, he said the easy availability of weapons and munitions had been a disincentive to peaceful political settlements. Civil wars were not entirely an internal phenomenon as weapons to fight such conflicts often originated from external sources. Conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building were meaningless unless they enabled a society to develop. Absolute poverty was unacceptable. Likewise, more must be done for the approximately three-quarters of all people now living in Africa who were infected by the HIV/AIDS virus. Debt relief and cancellations, while critically needed, represented only one of a number of major requirements within the integrated framework necessary to ensure sustained growth and sustainable development. He supported the Organization of African Unity (OAU) call for an international agreement to clear up the debt stock of the poorest African countries.
Continuing, he said that just recently the international community had acted in a concerted and comprehensive manner to resolve an issue which had received much global attention. If the same concerted and comprehensive attention were applied to Africa, it would surely resolve many of the major problems facing that continent.
LEE SEE-YOUNG (Republic of Korea), said the problems facing Africa required a comprehensive approach, integrating security, political and socio-economic dimensions. That holistic approach was possible only in the context of the United Nations system and required the support of African countries and the international community as a whole.
There was an urgent need to build capacity to prevent conflicts through early warning and early action, he said. The establishment of post-conflict peace- building support structures in Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and other countries were good examples, while the Secretary-General's Trust Fund for Preventive Action was useful for enhancing United Nations capabilities for conflict prevention in Africa and elsewhere.
Another area meriting priority attention was rapid response to contain deadly conflict and alleviate human suffering, he continued. The possibility of establishing a stand-by arrangement for providing logistic support to African troops involved in peacekeeping operations in early stages of conflict should be explored.
Regarding the flow of arms, he said that arms embargoes should be imposed and strictly implemented in all conflict situations. With cross-border arms flows rampant, cooperation was required at the regional level. African countries should be encouraged to adopt national legislation making the violation of Security Council arms embargoes a criminal offense. Noting efforts to refine the use of sanctions, and the difficulties of achieving "smart sanctions", he stressed that collateral suffering must be minimized through the imposition of specifically targeted sanctions. Two other important areas were: ensuring the security and humanitarian nature of refugee camps; and establishing good governance. Based on democracy and respect for human rights, and supported by free market principles, good governance led to peace, stability and prosperity in the long run.
ANDRE ADAM (Belgium), said Belgium emphasized the need for action in Africa and had proposed that the fifty-fourth session of the General Assembly be dedicated to the theme of Africa. He welcomed the establishment of the Lusaka agreement. To encourage and support the parties to the conflict required considerable effort and support from the international community. There were many in Africa who saw no prospect for improving their lot except through armed conflict and who fought for illusory gains at the cost of indescribable suffering.
He called for a covenant of partnership, with specific economic, financial and social goals. Such a pact should mobilize the energies and resources of donor countries, international financial institutions and beneficiary countries. Belgium would step up its contacts and financial support. He said Belgium had a special capacity in the region. It had a reserve of men and women with experience in Central Africa and its customs, languages and economy. Belgium's agricultural institutes had great experience in tropical agriculture. The worldwide reputation of its Institute of Tropical Medicine in Anvers was well-justified.
Africa should help the international community to help it, he said. For the good intentions of the world to be beneficial, African leaders should help to improve the situation of peace and good governance. Development grew and flourished in the context of peace and stability.
YUKIO SATOH (Japan), said that despite the progress Africa had made in development, democratization and regional cooperation, obstacles to achieving political stability and economic and social development remained, particularly grinding poverty and recurring conflicts that had resulted in 8 million refugees and displaced people. Many parts of Africa were witnessing a vicious cycle in which poverty was exacerbated by frequent conflict at the same time that poverty itself was one of the causes of conflict. Poverty should be the primary focus now and in the twenty-first century, with the United Nations and other international organizations, States and civil society coordinating their efforts towards its alleviation.
He said debt was the most serious issue facing many African countries. Japan had been rescheduling debts and extending grant aid for debt relief and would make further efforts to address the problem. It would continue to extend effective, efficient and high-quality ODA to African countries, despite its domestic budgetary difficulties, while strengthening its cooperation with the various United Nations bodies and agencies.
Regarding conflict prevention, he said the roles of the OAU and ECOWAS must be strengthened further, while close cooperation between those regional organizations and the United Nations must maximize international efforts to bring peace to the troubled countries. His government also intended to contribute to the success of the international conference on the issue of small arms, to be held no later than 2001. He was prepared to support all aspects of post-conflict reconstruction and development, ranging from the rehabilitation of refugees and displaced persons, to the reintegration of ex-combatants to the restoration of damaged lives and the economic reconstruction and development of the countries concerned.
ANDRE MWAMBA KAPANGA (Democratic Republic of the Congo), said that since 2 August 1998, his country had suffered from armed aggression, resulting in enormous suffering of the innocent people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The suffering and misery imposed on the people already wounded by three decades of waste and poverty must spark indignation of the universal conscience and the international community should do all it could to end the situation. The credibility of the United Nations depended on that.
The heads of state of six countries had signed, on 10 July in Lusaka, Zambia, the ceasefire accord, commonly called the "Lusaka Accord", he said. The Democratic Republic of the Congo attached particular importance to the implementation of the agreement. His Government had affirmed in the Lusaka Accord its acceptance of a mechanism for disarming militias and armed groups in its territory, and their repatriation. The assistance of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in that process was required. Aggressor countries would thus be prevented from finding a pretext to attack again, after the verified withdrawal of troops from the territory.
He denied allegations made by the representative of Rwanda, he said. Until 2 August 1998, the Forces Armees Congolaises had been led by Rwandese. From that date, the Rwandese had occupied the north-east part of the territory, from where the Interhamwe supposedly passed through to attack Rwanda.
After the signing of the Agreement, the aggressors had delayed implementation, he said. The aggressors were creating an excuse to prolong their presence in the territory. The inter-Congolese dialogue had not yet started, and the choosing of facilitators not been resolved, since the aggressors had not followed up on his Government's proposals. No withdrawing of troops had been observed. They continued to appoint governors in the provinces and even raised custom barriers to the provinces they occupied, carrying out their wicked intention to divide the territory. These events were taking place in front of the international community, without the United Nations or the OAU being able to raise the slightest protest, despite the Council's reaffirmation of the need to respect the integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
How could we explain to the African population the discriminatory treatment to which they were being subjected by the international community? he asked. He recalled that many had drawn attention to the speed with which decisions had been taken to act to end conflicts in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He recalled the blinding swiftness with which human and financial resources had been assembled, and the precision with which frameworks had been defined within Chapter VII of the Charter.
How was it that the Council dragged its feet when it came to Africa, citing budgetary reasons, acquitting itself of responsibility, and relying on hypothetical buffer forces? he asked. In Europe, Asia and the Middle East, deployment of forces ended only after political solutions were imposed on the parties. But in Africa, the tragedies in Somalia and Angola showed that early withdrawal worsened situations. He called on the President of the General Assembly and the United Nations Secretary-General -- two Africans -- to tell the world that the people of Africa would not understand that when it came to conflict, they would be neglected by the Council. Those two must sound the alarm and wake the United Nations from its stupor.
The United Nations, through Security Council resolution 1234 (1999), had clearly stipulated that his country was the victim of aggression by its neighbours: Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, he said. He noted resolution 1258 (1999) and reiterated the words of the Secretary-General: the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had inflicted new suffering on a country already overwhelmed by poverty. There were some 700,000 displaced persons and over 300,000 refugees, in addition to massacres, ethnic cleansing operations, rape and destruction of property.
The international community must do everything possible to assist in reaching a peaceful settlement, he said. He appealed to the entire international community and the Security Council in particular, to become involved in the implementation of the Lusaka Agreement. The Council must pressure the aggressors to respect the ceasefire, withdraw their troops and return home. It must rapidly deploy a massive peacekeeping operation. It should assist in ensuring the success of the inter- Congolese negotiations. A Congolese national was no different from a national of Kosovo or East Timor: he had a head, eyes, arms, legs, and hair. He was a human being. He had the right to life and to have his fundamental rights respected. The colour of his skin did not make him a substandard being. The international community was obligated and duty-bound to prevent reprehensible acts from being committed.
AHMED SNOUSSI (Morocco) said the international situation on the African continent was disquieting. There were places where the broadly held idea that Africa was a perpetual region of crisis was accurate. The trade imbalance and the foreign debt burden continued to increase. Many Africans were in a state of blinding poverty. The African debt was $350 billion dollars in 1998 while exports had shrunk, achieving only 3 per cent of world flows. Future prospects were not promising.
At the same time, he said, good governance and rule of law were becoming an established fact in many countries. Morocco contributed a large part of its budget to cooperation with other African nations. In view of the breadth of the challenges facing the African continent, the international community was duty bound to give its full support to African efforts. It was only through genuine partnership that Africa could achieve the growth rate of 7 per cent needed to reduce poverty. The tasks outlined in the Secretary-General's report deserved attention and support.
He expressed support for the Secretary-General's recommendation for an international conference to step up and reinforce efforts to combat, prevent and eliminate illicit trade in small arms in all its aspects. He encouraged exporting countries to exercise stricter control on the export of weapons to countries where conflicts were raging. Africans were attempting to settle conflicts on their own but the international community was not giving enough assistance. The donor countries should backstop African efforts for settlement of conflicts. Nothing justified the international community's contribution of only 50 per cent and sometimes only 20 per cent of the resources required to meet humanitarian needs in Africa.
He said sanctions should remain an exceptional procedure to be used only when all other means of settlement of conflict had been exhausted and taking into account the impact on the civilian population. He appealed to all to remember that the use of that dangerous instrument deserved deeper thought.
MOHAMMAD SAMHAN (United Arab Emirates), said the current debate reflected the international community's keen interest in effecting positive change in Africa. He agreed with the Secretary-General's analysis on development in Africa and expressed concern about the use of arms, conflicts and competition for power and natural resources. Those trends had led to great destruction and the displacement of persons. The responsibility for addressing those situations fell on the African countries themselves, especially in connection with implementing ceasefires and responding to endeavours aimed at ensuring stability. The Security Council must activate peacekeeping operations, preventive diplomacy and post-conflict peace- building, while also stopping the flow of arms.
The recommendations and resolutions of the OAU's thirty-fifth summit held in Algeria expressed the desire of African leaders to continue peaceful settlement efforts and undertake the necessary social and economic reform, he said. At the same time, it was essential that the international community -- especially the development organizations -- should provide loans to African countries, cancel their external debts to help them improve their economic, humanitarian and social sectors and encourage foreign investment. His own country had provided over $5 billion to the African continent, he said.
He called for the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on Libya, after it had honoured all its obligations concerning the Lockerbie issue. He hoped the Council would reach consensus on measures to promote international cooperation and lead the continent to a new era, in which it would play a more central role and its people would enjoy peace and stability.
SOUEF MOHAMED EL-AMINE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Comoros, said his country had for more than two years, been suffering a unique crisis that threatened its very integrity. One of its islands, Anjouan, had revolted and declared independence. But Balkanizatin of the territory would not be accepted. The unfortunate choice to revolt had been motivated by the precariousness of the country's economy and anxiety about the future. Such factors as a heavy burden of debt prevented the Government from taking charge of many areas in the social sphere. The problems that had led to the island's revolt were economic, rather than political, and they were legitimate. It was only the form of expression that was unacceptable.
He welcomed the General Assembly's special session on the sustainable development of small island States and said he would be following its results with interest. In his country's crisis, the OAU's inter-Comorian conference in Madagascar five months ago had given rise to enormous hope for a successful outcome. To the surprise of one and all, however, the separatist delegation had not signed the agreements, asking instead for time to consult with their base. Those delaying tactics had led to a worsening of tensions.
Anjouan must not become a staging point for trafficking, money laundering or dumping toxic waste, he said. Who was maintaining the militias and the factions? he asked. Such areas must be elucidated to avoid permanent instability in the Indian Ocean. Efforts to improve the situation must be supported and that included restoring economic and political centrality. If the State became fragile, in addition to the secessionist movement, that could be a fatal blow. Comoros must not become a Somalia, he said.
Bruno Rodriguez Parilla (Cuba) said poverty and alienation were the current norm in the African continent. Countries there urgently needed massive and multifaceted assistance. There were more armed conflicts in the African continent than anywhere else in the world. More than a third of African States were going through an ongoing conflict. It could not be ignored that the roots of the current problems were found in centuries of colonial exploitation, during which African States were stripped of many valuable natural resources, while millions of people were enslaved.
The current unequal economic growth in the world could not be ignored, he said. The African continent was still being exploited for its natural resources and was not being developed. In 1998 the African continent had received less than $5 billion in direct foreign investment. Furthermore, the deficit there had skyrocketed to $16 million that same year. In addition, about 44 per cent of the African population lived very poor conditions. Solutions to those problems were needed, especially in the age of neo-liberalism, when the differences between developed and developing nations had become larger.
More than 8 million of the world’s 23 million refugees were to be found in Africa, he said. In spite of that, the media had covered the situation in Kosovo to the point of saturation, but had barely covered the refugee problem in Africa. It was important to devote the necessary resources to that continent. There had also been very little coverage to the millions of African suffering from malaria and AIDS. Currently, there were 23 million AIDS cases reported and 9 out of 10 people who died of AIDS were from Africa.
It was important for his country, with strong African roots, to continue helping African people, he said. Almost 1,400 Cuban workers were currently providing help in Africa, and among them were 200 Cuban doctors who worked free of charge. Also, many African students were studying in his country. In 1998, about 1,100 students from Africa graduated from university in his country. He hoped the international community would assist the African continent.
MOSES M. DLAMINI (Swaziland) said that international efforts, including those of United Nations, to assist Africa with the turbulent situations it faced "have not been easily forthcoming". The people of Africa had been "deprived continuously of their right to enjoy peace and security in their mother continent". That was a cause for dismay.
Proposals for action on conflict prevention recently identified by the Secretary-General were welcome and "should not only remain on paper but be implemented as and when necessity demands", he continued. Africa continued to count on the international community and the United Nations for help towards eradicating poverty, humanitarian problems and the root causes of conflict.
He recalled that the ceasefire agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had been widely welcomed, and he expressed the fervent hope that all parties to the conflict would abide by the ceasefire. He reiterated the call made by Zambia’s President Chiluba for a peacekeeping force for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
He went on to say that reports of renewed fighting in Angola were discouraging, and he added that "the time has come for the international community to condemn the acts of destabilization by the rebels led by Dr. Jonas Savimbi". He added that he was concerned as to whether the "seeds being sown in the Council are falling on fertile ground". The Council was moving at the pace of a tortoise. Africa had never produced any weapons of war, but wars fought in Africa were fought with guns produced elsewhere. He called for a strong resolution in the Council on what must be done to those members of the Council who continued to traffic in arms in Africa.
JORGE PEREZ-OTERMIN (Uruguay) said he applauded the Council's commitment to promote the interests of Africa. Today's open debate strengthened the transparency of the Council's work. He supported the efforts of African regional organizations to establish peace on the continent. The United Nations also had a role to play in that constant search for peace, and he congratulated the Council for its efforts. He also underscored the efforts of many African countries to establish peace and to sustain economic growth, showing that they were aware that the greatest efforts must come from Africans themselves.
He supported the call for greater foresight and precision in establishing the mandates of United Nations missions. They must contain the necessary elements to avoid failure. Uruguay had a strong commitment, despite its size. It had contributed more than 5,000 troops to peacekeeping operations in Africa and would continue to support African endeavours.
PETER KASANDA (Zambia), noting the devastating consequences of conflict on the lives of the African people, said there was nevertheless a growing realization that Africans themselves should find solutions to those African problems. The efforts of the Organization for African Unity (OAU) and sub-regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), were beginning to engender such solutions –- for example in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where cooperation between the United Nations and African bodies had laid foundations for possible peace in that country. But those efforts could not succeed unless the Council assumed its responsibilities there. On 1 September, Zambia’s President Frederick Chiluba offered the Council proposals pointing the way forward in the search for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The institutions created under the Ceasefire Agreement were already working, and a vacuum must not be allowed to develop and filled by men of violence. The Council must act speedily to send in a peacekeeping force.
Conflicts in Africa were being exacerbated by the drive for fat profits by international arms merchants, and the widespread availability of small arms continued to cause great concern. Uncontrolled sales of small arms had contributed to undermining sanctions regimes wherever they had been put in place, as for example in Angola. The loopholes in the sanctions regime against UNITA should be closed in order to diminish the capacity of that rebel movement to wage war against the people of Angola.
Zambia supported stronger collaboration between African regional and sub- regional mechanisms for conflict management, resolution and prevention. The Council should accordingly work hard to strengthen support for regional and sub- regional initiatives, as well as to enhance coordination with those mechanisms in the areas of conflict prevention and maintenance of peace and security in Africa, and indeed worldwide. Africa was taking deliberate steps to embrace democracy, good governance and respect for human rights. It had determined that the only legitimate road to political power was through the ballot box. During their meeting in Algiers last July, African heads of State and Government resolved in future to deny recognition to leaders who assumed political power through extra- constitutional means such as military coups. It must not be forgotten, though, that democratic values and institutions did not thrive in conditions of widespread poverty, conflict and depravation. The international community should assist Africa in all those areas in order to guarantee peace and development in the African continent.
SEMAKULA KIWANUKA (Uganda) said his country shared the views of the Secretary-General, the OAU, and of the Commonwealth Secretariat following the signing of the Lusaka agreement on 31 August. When the five belligerent parties all put their signatures to the same agreement, the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had entered a new phase. The former belligerents were now peacemakers.
Uganda’s priorities in the forthcoming peace process were to achieve total security in all parts of its territory, protection of the lives and property of all Ugandans, and peace and security throughout the Great Lakes region, he said. Clearly, instability in neighbouring countries had an adverse effect on Uganda’s own stability and development, and the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had possessed both internal and external dimensions. The peace agreement addressed both those dimensions. Uganda was, and had always been, strongly committed to seeking peaceful solutions to the Great Lakes conflict. It was, therefore, gratifying to note that for the first time all parties to the conflict were in agreement on the future of their region. Now, all of them - including the Democratic Republic of the Congo - must resist the temptation to engage in hostile and provocative propaganda.
The agreement laid down five principles to serve as the basis for a durable peace, he continued. But, it was important to stress that signing the agreement was but the first step in a long process of peace-building. The members of the Joint Military Commission established by the agreement had already started their work. Uganda and the heads of the States parties believed that the peace process should not be held hostage by the internal divisions and minor disagreements. Accordingly, the Committees, too, had already set down to work. But the peace agreement remained fragile. Adequate financial and logistical support was needed to hold the peace together - and to deter those who were tempted to resume the fight. He, therefore, welcomed the Secretary-General’s dispatch of military and civilian police to survey the situation. But, the situation demanded more than surveys. Resources were needed to facilitate the deployment of peacekeepers in the region.
Finally, Uganda was less than happy with the Council’s responses to challenges in Africa, he said. The world knew about the tragic happenings in Rwanda. The contrast with what happened in Kosovo and East Timor was too glaring. To Africans, it was something much worse than benign neglect. The Council had the responsibility to respond to all conflicts with equal urgency and concrete action.
INAM UL HAQUE (Pakistan) said the international community must concentrate its efforts on poverty eradication in Africa. Poverty was the overriding factor responsible for the problems facing Africa. Without pursuing the objective of sustainable development, the possibilities of achieving solutions to conflicts in Africa would remain elusive. Liberal financial and technological support was urgently required to strengthen human resource development and to build and enlarge essential infrastructure for socio-economic development in Africa. Unfortunately, the international response had so far fallen far short of expectations.
He said Africa's poverty was exacerbated by constantly deteriorating terms of trade, falling commodity prices, increasing protectionism in developed countries, negative effects of structural adjustment arrangements, declining ODA and the pressure of debt servicing. Reviewing the economic challenges facing African countries, he said the continent was confronted with a hostile international economic climate, where exploitation of the weaker economies continued apace and where conflicts were allowed to fester, since the international community averted its gaze and did not wish to accept responsibility. Pakistan's relations with African countries were a priority area of its foreign policy.
He went on to say that he hoped that the streamlining and strengthening of mediatory mechanisms, as well as the effective monitoring of illicit arms flows, would have positive effects on the efforts to promote stability and peace in Africa. More needed to be done to ensure strict adherence to international humanitarian norms by combatants in crisis situations. A culture of peace could not develop or prosper in a situation of despair and alienation.
IBRAHIM GAMBARI (Nigeria) said the strong link between peace and development was clear in Africa, where the lack of sustainable development was linked with the proliferation and intensity of conflicts which, in turn, hampered development efforts. The ability to resolve and manage conflict in Africa would free resources that were now going for war, enable energy to be redirected towards development goals and enhance the enabling environment for foreign private investment.
Despite the proliferation of conflicts in Africa, successes had also been achieved in solving conflicts, he said. The initiatives and peacekeeping efforts such as those by Economic Community of West African States' Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG) and individual countries like his own were predicated on the imperative of peace and stability for the development process. Sub-regional efforts in the context of ECOWAS and ECOMOG must be given further impetus. It was not wise to expect a few countries to shoulder a disproportionate share of the burden of peace and security in the sub-region. The Security Council must assume its full responsibility for peace and security in Sierra Leone by, inter alia, authorizing without delay the deployment of up to six battalions for the new United Nations peacekeeping force for Sierra Leone, as Mr. Annan had proposed.
Preventing conflict was key to maintaining peace and stability, but without vigilance, the early signs of impending danger could escape notice, he said. Therefore, the United Nations and regional organizations must fine tune common indicators for early warning and engage in joint training of field staff. Africa was the least industrialized continent in the world; even the factories that operated there generally did so at less than 30 per cent of capacity, he said. Africa's share of private foreign investment was declining, with a peak of $10 billion in 1982 to some $5 billion in 1996. The crushing burden of external debt compounded the problem. In the late 1970s, Africa's external debt stood at some $48.5 billion, while today the figure was well over $300 billion. The debt problem was a desperate disease for Africa; it required serious measures of debt relief and outright debt cancellation. As a share of the world's total trade, Africa's exports and imports had declined from about 4 to 2 per cent. Some 37 per cent of African private wealth was held outside Africa, compared to 4 per cent for Asia.
Positive developments in the international political and economic order must be taken advantage of, with measures also taken to minimize their negative impact on our countries and peoples. African economies must be diversified and efforts made to strengthen sub-regional integration and turn the African Economic Community from rhetoric to reality. Efforts must also be intensified to create the enabling environment for external private investment.
He said the world's response to the crisis in Kosovo should be compared with the response to the conflicts in Rwanda or Sierra Leone. For Kosovo, the international community spent some $1.50 a day per refugee, while African refugees in Rwanda and Sierra Leone received an equivalent of 11 cents. After the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's military offensive in the Balkans, Western European countries and their allies pledged well over $2 billion for the reconstruction and rebuilding of Kosovo -- even when the estimate was that only $500 million was needed.
As Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Stephen Lewis said, it was morally repugnant that the West was prepared to spend $40 billion to fight a war in the Balkans, and less than 1 per cent of that to save the lives of tens of millions in Africa, he said. Those observations raise deeply troubling moral questions which the United Nations and the international community must address. What was needed now was for the Security Council to match words with deeds and apply a single standard when responding to conflicts. In so doing, the Council would fulfil its Charter obligation to assume responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
ROBERT R. FOWLER (Canada) said that since this was the last time Professor Gambari would address the Council, it behoved the Council to note the occasion. During his 10-year assignment, he had made a great contribution to the Organization. His service had covered a tenuous time in his great nation and he had always conducted himself with enormous grace. Mr. Gambari had made steadfast efforts to streamline and modernize the Organization and thus enlarge the United Nations' performance. The United Nations would miss his wise counsel.
PETER BURLEIGH (United States) said he seconded the remarks of the Canadian representative and wished to add that Mr. Gambari's hardheaded pragmatism and directness had been appreciated by the United States.