2005 Statement


H. E. Ambassador KENZO OSHIMA

Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations


At the Wrap-up Session of the Work of the Security Council for the Month of March 2005
Entitled “The African Dimension of the Work of the Security Council”

30 March 2005

Mr. President,

First of all, I thank you for the initiative you have taken to convene this session, which is both important and timely, to wrap up your presidency, and I wish at the same time to congratulate you on your effective handling of the business during the current month.

Mr. President,

Issues related to Africa continue, unfortunately, to be a major preoccupation of the Security Council, as demonstrated by the fact that an overwhelming majority of UN peacekeepers and related financial resources are dedicated to Africa. And the work of the Council this month has been no exception. It is therefore important that we focus our attention at this meeting on how the Council could address issues of Africa effectively and efficiently, bearing in mind both the regional perspective and the aspects of specific conflicts and situations. I would like to make a couple of brief points in this regard.

First, we have said that the notion of Africa’s own ownership should be emphasized and supported as an important guiding principle in addressing many issues related to Africa that the Council is called upon to deal with. We are encouraged that this African ownership is increasingly accepted by Africans themselves and supported by the international community. It is increasingly finding its clear and robust expression, for example, in the important roles played by African regional and sub-regional organizations.

This has clearly become the trend in a number of conflict resolution and post-conflict peace-building situations, as shown by IGAD initiatives in the north-south peace negotiations in the Sudan, by the African Union Mission in Darfur, by the AU in particular through President Mbeki’s mediation effort in Cote d’Ivoire, and by ECOWAS with regard to the situations in Togo and other places

This is very welcome, and it must be not only encouraged but also, where support is needed, that support, moral, political as well as financial and material, should be extended as much as possible by the international community. At the same time, ways should be found to develop closer and pragmatic working relationships and institutional linkages between the UN and key African regional organizations, in particular the AU.

For example, resolution 1590 regarding the Sudan adopted last week is the latest good example. That resolution requests the Secretary-General to report on how UNMIS can, through appropriate assistance to the AU mission, AMIS, reinforce the efforts to foster peace in Darfur. We look forward to the Secretary-General’s report with great interest, and stand ready to actively discuss the matter in the Security Council in the weeks to come.

Furthermore, we understand that the AU is exploring the possibility of sending its troops to contribute to the peace processes both in the DRC and Somalia - another initiative if it materializes, that reinforces the African sense of ownership. We hope that the Council and the African Union will further enhance their cooperation and coordination in this regard, so that the AU will be able to play a greater role in addressing the problems that Africa faces, with the necessary assistance where needed from the international community.

The second point I wanted to make is that there is a need to promote inter-mission synergies and cooperation among various UN missions in Africa. We note with interest that cooperation and linkages are being developed among various PKOs deployed in the same sub-region of Africa in recent years, as, for example, in coordinated patrols between MONUC and ONUB along the borders and periodic high-level talks between these two missions to address their common problems.

In West Africa, a number of UN missions deployed in that sub-region have initiated the practice of sharing logistical assets and materials through their inter-mission coordination mechanism.

Such inter-mission linkages in Africa should be further strengthened, and we hope to see a systematic review of the operational concepts of the various peace missions deployed in the sub-region conducted. My delegation already referred to this suggestion at the open meeting to discuss the situation in Cote d’Ivoire earlier this week. This kind of inter-mission linkages may also be explored, for example, in Sierra Leone, through an arrangement that would allow UNMIL forces to be made deployable across the western border of Liberia, to provide a security stop-gap measure that the withdrawal of UNAMSIL may require. With greater integration and inter-mission synergies, the flexible and more effective use of the operational assets and resources of the various missions deployed will become possible, to the advantage of all and also possibly to save the mission costs.

The ideas suggested in the report of the Secretary-General of 2 March 2005 on the inter-mission cooperation in West Africa should also be explored with regard to the missions operating in the other sub-regions, such as MONUC and ONUB. We encourage the Secretariat to explore such a possibility, with the cooperation of troop contributing countries of these missions.

Thank you, Mr. President.