H. E. Ambassador KENZO OSHIMA
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Public Meeting of the Security Council on the Situation in Côte d`Ivoire
28 March 2005
We would like to express our appreciation and thanks to the Deputy Foreign Minister of South Africa, Mr. Aziz Pahad, for his statement, in which he gave us an insightful assessment of the situation in Cote d'Ivoire from the point of view of the African Union's efforts to implement the peace plan. We also thank Principal Deputy SRSG, Mr. Alan Doss, for his informative briefing. We welcome the presence of the Secretary-General.
We share the deep concern over the existing stalemate in the political process in Cote d'Ivoire, where, according to the Secretary General's report, “there is a very real danger that events may spin out of control with incalculable consequences for the people of Cote d'Ivoire and the sub-region as a whole.” Regrettably, the strong will of the Ivorian parties for a negotiated solution seems sorely lacking. The incident involving the attacks in Loguale in February has shown how precarious the situation is and how easily it can deteriorate into something much more serious, and the way the “armed youth” involved in the attacks were handled subsequently cast serious doubt on the Ivorian parties' political will to advance the peace process.
In these difficult circumstances, the efforts of the African Union and ECOWAS, although they have not yet yielded tangible results, become all the more important, and we strongly support their continued engagement, in particular President Mbeki's mediation effort, as a clear demonstration of African ownership in the peacemaking for Cote d'Ivoire. These African initiatives must be encouraged and should be supported with appropriate action by the United Nations system and decisions of the Security Council.
I would like to highlight three points in this connection.
First, we hope that the mediation effort of President Mbeki will be intensified in the coming weeks, as has been explained by Deputy Foreign Minister Pahad in today's statement. And it is important that the Council continue to be informed by the AU and President Mbeki's team on how they assess the evolving situation and what they expect of the United Nations and the Security Council in order to help advance the peace process in Cote d'Ivoire. For this purpose, it is critically important to strengthen the information exchange and the effort of coordination and cooperation between the AU and President Mbeki's team and the UN team on the ground.
Second, all Ivorian parties must be made fully aware that any failure to cooperate in the facilitation of President Mbeki's efforts will render them subject to the sanctions regime in accordance with resolution 1572. No human rights violations, acts of provocation or attacks against UNOCI and the Licorne, or hate incitement must be allowed to continue. If the current obstruction of the peace process continues, the Security Council must show its readiness, in consultation with the AU, to immediately apply sanctions against those individuals responsible for the sabotage. This would send a clear message from the international community to the Ivorian parties that sabotaging the peace process will not be tolerated.
Third, we strongly commend the effort made by UNOCI and the Licorne to maintain security and stability in the tenuous situation in Cote d'Ivoire, and recognize that UNOCI is playing an increasingly important role in Cote d'Ivoire. On the other hand, we believe that, given the degree of interconnectedness among the conflict situations in the region of West Africa, it would seem appropriate to review the operational concepts of the various UN peace missions deployed in West Africa with a view to creating inter-mission synergies among them for their flexible and effective operational use. In this connection, we have noted with interest the related observations in the Secretary-General's report issued in March on inter-mission cooperation among the peacekeeping missions in West Africa. We would like to encourage further exploration of this idea.
As to the appropriate force level of UNOCI itself, we look forward to further discussions in the Council, including on how we can best optimize the PKO assets and resources that are deployed and available in the sub-region of West Africa as a whole.
In conclusion, Mr. President,
The strong determination and commitment of the parties concerned is essential, and without it, neither initiatives for the peace process nor the PKO presence will result in a lasting solution to the problem. While the peace and reconciliation process is at an impasse, the socio-economic as well as humanitarian situations of the country continue to deteriorate, directly affecting the people of Cote d'Ivoire. UN and international humanitarian relief efforts must be supported. Now, more than ever, the Security Council and the international community must seriously consider taking steps to regain the commitment of all Ivorian parties to the peace process.
Thank you, Mr. President.