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Council discusses missions to Central and West Africa

The UN Security Council discussed on Friday ways to refine conflict prevention strategies by involving regional or global organizations and exploring the links between peace and security on the one hand and social and economic development on the other. Addressing the 15-member body at a public meeting called to consider "Conflicts in Africa: Security Council Missions and United Nations mechanisms to promote peace and security," Ibrahim A. Gambari, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa said it was important to learn from previous experiences. Noting that in general, conflicts in Africa could not be resolved without taking their regional and global dimensions fully into account, he said it was necessary to design and implement preventive measures that had the prospects of success. "The recognition that the international community has not yet been particularly successful in post-conflict peace-building in Africa and, perhaps, elsewhere, [indicates] that more concerted efforts need to be made in these areas," he said. Gambari urged the Council to evaluate the current mandate and resources of the various UN operations in Central Africa for "much needed adjustment", especially in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He urged members to revisit the possibility of holding an international conference on the Great Lakes region to discuss the region's future. On West Africa, the Council should assess the capacity of regional organizations to participate in operations, he said, adding that it should also seek ways to implement resolution 1366 calling for the enhancement of the capacity for conflict prevention of regional organizations by extending international assistance. "When the missions return, the Council may also wish to consider measures to foster a greater coordination and coherence in the United Nations' response at the intergovernmental level to the interrelated issue of peace, security and development in Africa," Gambari said. "To advance that process, the Council and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) may wish to consider holding joint meetings periodically, as a means of mobilizing international support for Africa in areas of conflict prevention and resolution, for which the Security Council has the mandate, and of post-conflict economic rehabilitation, for which the Economic and Social Council has a unique responsibility." Opening the session, the Council President for May, Ambassador Munir Akram (Pakistan) said the missions to Central and West Africa would take a powerful message that the Council remained focused on the issues in the sub regions and remained actively engaged. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sablière of France, who will lead the Council mission to Central Africa from 9 to 16 June, said specific measures were necessary to neutralize the engines to the conflict in DRC, such as the plundering of mineral richness. There was also a need for strengthening the framework of the peace process and that was the specific goal of the Council mission, he said. United Kingdom Ambassador, Jeremy Greenstock, who will lead the Council mission to West Africa, said it was now clear that lasting stability there depended on sustainable peace in every country of the region. A Council mission to West Africa was abruptly postponed early May because of other urgent matters - the debate on Iraq. It is expected to return in late June or early July.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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