Chairmen of Security Council sanctions panels report progress but urge more action

Chairmen of Security Council sanctions panels report progress but urge more action

UN Security Council in session
The imposition of Security Council sanctions against various warring parties has served to foster peace, but more remains to be done to maximize the effectiveness of this tool, the chairmen of panels monitoring those measures reported today.

Addressing the Security Council in their personal capacity, the heads of sanctions committees dealing with Iraq, Angola and Liberia, as well as the panel set up to monitor measures against Usama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, the Taliban and their associates, reported progress in recent months while urging continued international action.

"Due to the complexity of the issues on the agenda, the meetings of the committee have also been marked by frank discussion and even controversy," said the Chairman of the Iraq sanctions committee, Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby of Norway. "We have not been able to achieve results on all issues, but we have been able to handle the work to the benefit of the Iraqi people."

Ireland's Ambassador, Richard Ryan, reported on the work of the Angola sanctions committee, which was dissolved last week when the Council lifted the measures against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). He said the penalties had gone far in promoting peace in Angola. Until 1999, there had been "widespread if not total disregard" for the sanctions. That situation changed dramatically in 2000, when the Council "put the international community on notice that the sanctions against UNITA should no longer be treated as a paper tiger" and established a mechanism giving "new teeth" to the measures.

Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso of Colombia, briefing on the work of the committee on sanctions against Usama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, the Taliban and their associates, stressed the importance of combating terrorism, calling it "one of the greatest challenges to international peace and security." The Security Council was working to "make up for lost ground" in that fight by adopting preventive measures. "Neither the committee nor the international community can limit themselves to exhausting all of the traditional procedures to sentence someone after a terrorist act has been committed," he said. "We have to use our imagination to come up with ways to make [the sanctions] more effective."

Kishore Mahbubani, the Ambassador of Singapore and Chairman of the Liberia sanctions committee, reported some progress but pointed out that obstacles remain. On the positive side, as envisioned by the Council, the measures against Liberia had "succeeded in achieving… further progress in the peace process in Sierra Leone." At the same time, he reported "continued violations of the sanctions by the Government of Liberia and by other groups." In order to address this challenge, he called for a number of measures, including continued visits to the affected region by Council members and coordination of international efforts to prevent sanctions busting.

Also reporting to the Council today were the Chairman of the Security Council's Ad-Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, Ambassador Jagdish Koonjul of Mauritius, and the Chairman of the Working Group on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, Wegger Christian Strommen of Norway.