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West Africa mission shows relevancy of UN, Security Council told

West Africa mission shows relevancy of UN, Security Council told

Amb. Jones Parry briefs Security Council
Anyone who wonders about the relevancy of the United Nations in today's world should have accompanied the Security Council mission to West Africa where UN employees were helping governments better meet their country's needs, British Ambassador Sir Emyr Jones Parry said today.

Introducing a report on the 10-day Security Council fact-finding mission he led to seven countries late last month, Ambassador Jones Parry said UN staff members in the field were cooperating with governments while encouraging durable independence of action.

Meanwhile, the international community should devise a clear strategy for helping countries reduce dependency, avoid a resurgence of conflict and fulfil their true potential, he said.

Stopping in a different capital or major city every day, the 14-member delegation held talks in Accra, Ghana; Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire; Monrovia, Liberia; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Abuja, Nigeria; Bissau, Guinea-Bissau; and Conakry, Guinea.

The Council team focused especially on UN peacekeeping missions in Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Only Russia did not participate.

The challenges facing West African Governments included managing post-conflict situations, building durable institutions, establishing the rule of law and creating conditions for economic development that both harnessed a country's resources and offered a prospect of meeting its people's expectations, Mr. Jones Parry said.

Disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration and resettlement (DDRRR) of militia ex-combatants were classically important, the British Permanent Representative said. The "R" for reintegration was the most difficult of that process because if jobs were not found quickly, mischief could be found for idle hands to do.

Many issues should be tackled regionally because all too often they migrated from one country to another, making the position of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) a pivotal one, he said.

With ECOWAS, the mission had taken up a number of horizontal issues, such as the situation of child soldiers, building peace, achieving good governance and discouraging small arms proliferation, Mr. Jones Parry said.


Video of Security Council meeting [2hrs]