A new agreement between the Security Council and its African Union (AU) counterpart will allow the two bodies to better harmonize their actions in the interest of international peace and security, the Council heard today.
Four Permanent Representatives briefed the Council on the 15-member body’s recent week-long mission to Africa – the group visited Ethiopia, Sudan, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – in support of ongoing peace efforts across the continent.
The Council and the AU Peace and Security Council signed a joint communiqué on 16 June committing themselves to bolstering their cooperation efforts in areas such as conflict prevention, management and resolution, as well as peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa, who co-chaired the mission’s first leg in Ethiopia, said “it is important that there should be an exchange of views between the two Councils to make sure that whatever Africa is engaging in is to the benefit and is within the intentions of the international community, and in particular the Security Council.”
Mr. Kumalo added there should be an “exchange of views” yearly between the two Councils. He also mentioned the possibility of exploring, on a case-by-case basis, the possibility of the UN assisting the AU with resources, especially where the organization was acting on the Security Council’s behalf.
Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry of the United Kingdom, who co-chaired the initial segment of the Council’s mission with Mr. Kumalo, said the joint declaration is crucial given the “sheer number of issues where we have a commonality of interest and a common purpose.”
Given the Council must look to regional actors to help in maintaining international peace and security, “it follows as night follows day that the Peace and Security Council of the AU is delivering better peace and security in Africa.”
Greater cooperation on all matters concerning peace and security – from demobilization to ending conflict – is vital, he said, and before either the UN or AU takes action, each should be aware of what the other is planning.
The Council mission also visited Khartoum, Sudan, where it met with President Omar al-Bashir and other senior Government officials, mainly to discuss the Darfur region.
Mr. Kumalo and Mr. Jones Parry welcomed Sudan’s acceptance of the new hybrid UN-AU force, the third phase of a three-step process to replace the existing but under-resourced AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS), but stressed the need to maintain the pressure on both the Government and the rebels to ensure the force is implemented.
“Bringing both sides to an accord within the shortest time scale is the best way of providing long-term security and peace in Darfur,” Mr. Jones Parry said.
The Council also heard a statement from Ambassador Jorge Voto-Bernales of Peru, who led the segment of the mission in Côte d’Ivoire, and was briefed by Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière of France, who headed the Council’s stop in the DRC.
Mr. Voto-Bernales said Council members encouraged all Ivorian sides to press forward with the Ouagadougou Peace Agreement, the accord that sets out a series of measures to deal with the political divide in the West African country, which has been split between the Government-controlled south and the rebel Forces Nouvelles-held north since 2002.
Despite technical issues, “at the political level, the determination of the parties to apply the agreement remained intact,” he said. Elections are slated for later this year, and he observed that among all parties, “there is a consensus about the need for a certification of the electoral process to be carried out by the UN at each stage of the process.”
Mr. de la Sablière told the Council that the mission’s talks with leaders and officials in Kinshasa, the DRC capital, focused on such topics as security sector reform.