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UN and regional groups should refine their partnerships to build stability: Annan

UN and regional groups should refine their partnerships to build stability: Annan

Kofi Annan addresses Security Council meeting
When a country emerges from war, regional organizations are often well-placed to foster peace, but United Nations assistance is usually required to sustain the effort, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Security Council today.

Citing examples from Afghanistan, Haiti, Kosovo and Burundi, Mr. Annan said the UN can and should work together with regional bodies to establish peace and security and to help reconstruct States emerging from crisis and conflict.

But he told the Council's meeting on cooperation between the UN and regional organizations that many of the partnerships so far have been improvised, rather than targeted to specific strengths.

"I believe that more institutionalized channels of cooperation would help ensure more efficiency and effectiveness, and perhaps even economies of scale," he said, pointing out that future partnerships must be shaped according to the individual challenges that arise.

Mr. Annan said the UN will soon hold talks with regional groups about setting up cooperation mechanisms on several issues, including the protection of civilians in armed conflict, promoting tolerance and dialogue among civilizations.

The next high-level meeting between the UN and regional bodies is scheduled to take place in mid-2005, and he said the talks may eventually become an annual event.

The Secretary-General also praised regional organizations for having resources "on the ground" much more quickly than the UN in many cases.

"However, not all regional organizations can sustain their deployments over a long period. And the legitimacy that flows from UN operations is often needed for longer-term sustainability."

In the debate following Mr. Annan's address, many speakers - representing Member States and regional organizations - said that those groups played a vital role in promoting peace and stability.

Several speakers also stressed that future partnerships between the UN and regional bodies must be tailored to suit the specific case and always be flexible in case change is required.


Video of address to meeting