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Security Council, regional organizations discuss cooperation for peace and security

Security Council, regional organizations discuss cooperation for peace and security

UN Security Council in session
The United Nations Security Council held a high-level meeting today with the heads of major international regional organizations in a bid to reinforce global cooperation in safeguarding international peace and security against threats ranging from conventional conflict to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.

After hearing UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appeal for reinvigorated partnership in creating mutually reinforcing mechanisms, regional and global, that are flexible and responsive to today's reality, leaders of the various organizations took the floor to stress the importance of cooperation and coordination of their various efforts.

The Organization of American States (OAS) had assumed responsibility for regional peace and stability to ensure that local disputes did not become international crises and had built structures to preserve peace and security, its Secretary-General, César Gaviria, told the session, which met under the theme "Facing New Challenges to International Peace and Security."

The OAS could be of use to other regional organizations, for example, in counter-terrorism efforts, he said in reply to comments. It had focused on the critical issue of cooperation and promotion of existing conventions and other international instruments, which promoted real international legitimacy.

Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa said that given the importance attached to fighting terrorism, the League had established a focal point to enhance coordination of counter-terrorism efforts. In cooperation with the UN, it had played an important role in providing a comprehensive vision to address the vulnerabilities of the countries of the region.

Mr. Moussa also said the Security Council had been right in refusing to authorize war in Iraq. But once the war had started, the Council remained silent, seriously affecting its role and the multilateral system as a whole. "Judging by the way things are, can we believe that the Council is in charge of maintaining international peace and security?" he asked.

He also questioned whether the Council had tried to build on calls for a just and comprehensive peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Secretary-General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Jan Kubis said that since 11 September 2001, issues related to preventing and combating terrorism had come to the top of the agenda.

Because of its broad and supportive membership, its comprehensive approach to security and its operational flexibility, the OSCE had demonstrated a high degree of effectiveness in developing and rapidly deploying multidimensional activities. It had also proved to be a good partner for other organizations involved in complex peace operations such as in Kosovo, Georgia, Tajikistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Interim Chairman of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Fholisani Sydney Mufamadi, Minister for Provincial and Local Government of South Africa, said strengthening regional organizations would in turn strengthen the UN.

"We live in a world which requires Governments to deal with one another in the context of multilateral fora and organizations, as well as through the traditional mechanisms of bilateral diplomacy," he said.

Ioannis Magriotis, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, current President of the European Union (EU), said the Union was committed to building mutually reinforcing and effective relationships with the UN, as well as with other regional organizations in prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.

That required action at the political level – in terms of capacity building – of partner organizations and through operational interaction, he added. The EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina was the first example of the practical possibilities of cooperation between the EU and the UN, he said.

For his part, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Executive Secretary of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said the West African subregion would very much welcome a collaborative working relationship with the Council and other UN organs.

There was a clear and pressing need for collaboration between ECOWAS and the UN in the area of conflict resolution and management, he said, pointing to the conflicts in Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia.

Closing the session, Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez of Mexico, which holds the Council's rotating Presidency for April, said his delegation had convened the meeting out of its concern over security at the regional level, and he thanked all the representatives of regional organizations who had participated in the debate.