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Africa to be Security Council’s top priority this month, says President

Africa to be Security Council’s top priority this month, says President

Security Council
The President of the Security Council for September today announced that issues affecting Africa will dominate the 15-member body’s work programme this month.

“My priority will obviously be Africa,” Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert of France told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, adding that the Council hopes to continue to mobilize the international community to assist Africa in tackling the challenges the continent faces.

To this end, Mr. Ripert said that on 25 September, there will be a high-level Council summit to discuss African peace and security, characterizing the event as major, given the importance and number of individuals expected to participate in the debate.

“What we would like is both to examine crises but not necessarily for the heads of state and government to give their solutions, but to look at how we could improve the response of the UN to this emergency and how to assist African governments and African organizations in dealing with crises,” he noted.

These crises are complex and often involve such issues as the environment, immigration and natural resources, Mr. Ripert said, adding that as a result, peacekeeping forces alone cannot resolve today’s conflicts.

The President announced that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, currently visiting Sudan, will brief the Council on 12 September regarding his trip, which will also take him to Chad and Libya. In addition, consultations will be held this Friday regarding the authorized hybrid UN-African Union (AU) peacekeeping force (UNAMID) in Darfur.

Also regarding Africa, Mr. Ripert said there would probably be consultations on Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR), given the repercussions of the humanitarian situations in the two nations on the Darfur crisis.

“As we’ve said, the situation is not improving,” he noted, citing the nearly 400,000 refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Chad, and the more than 200,000 others in the northeast of the CAR. “It’s getting worse.”

Mr. Ripert said Council members would work to pass a resolution on the deployment of a possible international presence in the area with both a police and military component.

Outside Africa, other issues to be discussed include Haiti, Iran, Afghanistan, the Middle East and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is being set up to prosecute those people responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.