|For information only - not an official document.|
|19 October 2000|
|General Assembly Continues Discussion of Annual Security Council Report|
NEW YORK, 18 October (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly this morning continued its discussion of the annual Report of the Security Council, with speakers addressing a wide range of issues, among them, the role of the Council in maintaining peace and security, expansion of that role to include issues beyond its domain, such as HIV/AIDS, and more transparent working methods.
The representative of Bangladesh told the Assembly that the Council was no longer seen as a fire brigade. There had been a substantive evolution in the Council’s perception of peace and security. The past year had seen the Council play a more proactive role, which was discernible from the Council’s assumption of primary responsibility in major crisis situations.
Pakistan’s representative said it was widely held that the Council had finally come out of its cold-war inertia. It now seemed to be performing a more proactive role than before, though not necessarily a more effective one. He was concerned by the growing propensity to expand the role of the Security Council, in fields such as HIV/AIDS, civilians and children in armed conflict, women and peace and security, and so on. Those issues clearly fell in the domain of the General Assembly and its various bodies, he said.
The representative of Malta said that if the first step in addressing a problem was to decipher its true nature and root causes, the publication of the incisive reports of the Secretary-General on the Organization’s dismal performance in Rwanda and Srebernica were, indeed, the right point of departure.
The representative of Cyprus said while there might be good reasons for closed meetings to be occasionally called, by nature they lacked openness and, thus, gave off a message of exclusion to the rest of the United Nations membership. No number of briefings, after the event, could compensate for full transparency and the information received by witnessing the Council’s open meetings. Further, no reform could be more effective and useful than the willingness of the Security Council to implement its own resolutions and decisions.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria told the Assembly that efforts to address conflict situations would not yield the desired results unless new security challenges were confronted, such as poverty and disease, intolerance and discrimination, human rights abuses and disregard of the rule of law. Malaria was as great a threat as HIV/AIDS to international peace and security. He invited the Council to address the scourge.
Statements were also made by the representatives of the United Kingdom, Libya, Myanmar, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Angola, Canada, New Zealand, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Sudan and South Africa.
The Assembly will reconvene tomorrow at 10 a.m. to continue its consideration of the Report of the Security Council. At 3 p.m. today, the Assembly will meet in an emergency special session on the illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory.
Assembly Work Programme
The fifty-fifth regular session of the General Assembly met this morning to continue its consideration of the Report of the Security Council (document A/55/2).
CONSTANTINE MOUSHOUTAS (Cyprus) said there was no doubt that, in general, the working methods of the Security Council had improved. The numbers showed that, despite the decrease of closed meetings, there were still far more in comparison to regular open formal meetings. Though there may be good reasons for those closed meetings to be called from time to time, by nature, they lacked openness and thus emanated a message of exclusion to the rest of the United Nations membership. No number of briefings after the event could compensate for full transparency and the information received by witnessing the Council’s open meetings.
He said that the conflicts and crises in the world had not diminished. Many long-standing problems remained unresolved, including that of Cyprus, due to the lack of political will and the failure to implement the Council’s mandatory resolutions and decisions. There must be no selectivity in the implementation of Security Council resolutions. Turning to the report, he offered the following observations: The Security Council should exercise more restraint in considering issues that might fall within the domain of the General Assembly. The need for a good relationship and coordination between the responsibilities of those two main United Nations organs could not be overemphasized.
He agreed with India concerning the incorporation into the report of an assessment by the Security Council of the usefulness of its own actions. He also agreed with the German proposal of giving explanations to the General Assembly after the exercise of a veto. Further, it was important that the Security Council become more sensitive to the collateral humanitarian impact of sanctions. Sanctions should be very sparingly used. The whole sanctions regime should be reviewed. Finally, no reform could be more effective and useful than the willingness of the Security Council to implement its own resolutions and decisions.
Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said that, despite the attention the Council was paying to Africa, the international community had to acknowledge the difficulty of achieving positive results on African issues. Conflicts on Africa were rarely straightforward bilateral conflicts between States demanding a classical peacekeeping response. Nowhere was it clearer than in Africa that peace and development went hand in hand. It was no coincidence that one of the most troubled countries in Africa –- Sierra Leone -– was, by some measures, the poorest country in the world. Diamonds, instead of fuelling Sierra Leone’s development, were fuelling bitter conflicts. The same was true in Angola and, applied to other natural resources, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The international community, including the United Nations, needed to develop a comprehensive approach to the problems of peace and development on the continent. There was no point in pouring resources into a country ravaged by conflict unless the other deficiencies were also addressed. Similarly, it was important for those involved in the business of development to look ahead, see potential conflicts and imagine ways to avert them or mitigate their effects. The continent had thrown up some of the great men and women of the current generation, but the overall weakness of leadership in Africa could not be ignored. What was particularly worrying was the way in which African problems fed on each other. That was why United Nations engagement with regional organizations –- such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) or the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) -- was essential.
It had, for some time, been a concern of the United Kingdom that the Council should carry out its work with the maximum amount of innovation and transparency, he said. The Council has shown itself to be prepared to contemplate imaginative procedural innovation when the occasion required. He hoped that the Council would welcome that trend towards openness, and that it would be prepared to try procedural innovations when necessary in the course of the coming year. It would be good to see the wider membership using the greater opportunities for addressing the Council to debate points more spontaneously.
GUMA AMER (Libya) said the report of the Security Council made it clear that the world was still suffering from many problems, which affirmed that the international community had not been able to establish an apparatus for peace and security. The Council should cooperate more with the General Assembly, which would allow it to diffuse many crises. The Council must operate with full transparency and clarity. It had held too many closed sessions and the report failed to explain what occurred in those consultations. His Government called on all Member States to make their views known regarding the report.
He discussed various agreements on conflicts in Africa, specifically in the Great Lakes region, Burundi and elsewhere. To alleviate poverty and disease, measures should be taken to make African countries part of the world economy and to deal with its foreign debt. All foreign debt in Africa must be eliminated if the world community truly wanted to assist the continent, which had been victimized by colonialism.
On the matter of sanctions regarding the Lockerbie incident, he said some Member States had opposed the “politicization” of the issue. Over a year ago, a resolution was passed that would have relieved the Libyan people of sanctions, but no action had been taken. His country had repeatedly condemned international terrorism. How was it that the United States had requested compensation for the victims of Lockerbie, even though the case was in court? The Security Council, in light of statements by the Secretary-General, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Arab League, should lift the sanctions against the Libyan people. That would be the only way to return credibility to the Security Council. In conclusion, he said the will of one country must not be permitted to rule the Security Council.
WIN MRA (Myanmar) said the situations the Council had addressed in the past year demonstrated the difficulty of achieving sustainable peace and security. Measures taken to strengthen early warning and conflict prevention capacities were encouraging. The new culture of prevention would help the Council fulfil its primary function. The Secretary-General should be authorized to start planning a mission prior to Council approval, to keep situations from escalating. Effective peacekeeping was a key to international peace and security, but robust rules of engagement should be explicitly spelled out. The Organization's credibility should not be impaired again due to weak mandates.
He said two other issues of immediate concern to international peace and security were small arms and HIV/AIDS. The urgency of those issues was reflected by the special session on HIV/AIDS and the international conference on small arms, both to be held in 2001. The Council's consideration of thematic issues was heartening, but the debates should not insidiously lead the Council into areas that were the purview of other forums. The Council could avoid that if it dealt with only those aspects of the issues that touched on peace and security.
The past year had shown there were serious situations requiring an immediate response from the Council, he said. Involving the Council in matters of domestic jurisdiction, on grounds of a perceived threat, left doubt about the real motive, which adversely affected the Council's credibility. The Council must reserve its attention and resources for where they were really needed. Given the shift in the nature of peace and security threats, complex situations required cooperation with regional organizations and other relevant actors. Those crises required the exercise of extreme sensitivity. They should be handled strictly in accordance with the Charter.
SUN JOUN-YUNG (Republic of Korea) said that, since the issue of protecting United Nations field personnel had been introduced during his country's presidency of the Security Council, in May 1997, a number of important follow-up measures had been taken. The recent increase in deliberate attacks on United Nations personnel were deplorable. All peacekeeping missions should be given sufficient mandates and ample resources to guarantee their safety, as well as their success. He welcomed the Report on United Nations Peace Operations -- the Brahimi Report –- as the basis for increasing the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations. The financial burden of implementing its recommendations, however, should be shared in a balanced way when peacekeeping missions required new or increased budgets.
He said that the Security Council must be more representative, transparent and effective in order to deal with the daunting challenges of the new millennium. The goal of the open-ended working group was to make the views of Member States, particularly those that were capable and willing to contribute, systematically reflected in the decision-making process for important security issues.
Regarding the Security Council's proceedings, he emphasized the importance of allowing troop-contributing countries to participate in the decision-making process for peacekeeping operations. He also hoped that the Council's public meetings would become more frequent, in order to increase transparency and to keep non-members better informed. In addition, there must be continuity in briefings to non-members of the Council, especially after informal consultations. They must be conducted in a timely manner, to ensure their usefulness for non-members.
J. ENKHSAIKHAN (Mongolia) said that, with regard to past General Assembly proposals, he wondered if or in what setting the Council considered them. Also, could the Assembly have some feedback on the proposals made so far? He welcomed the Council’s response to crisis situations. Some crisis situations, however, such as what was now occurring in the Middle East, were not on the Council’s agenda. That raised the question of selectivity concerning some difficult situations. He wanted to underline his support for current attempts to introduce more transparency in the activities of the Council. Concerning the report’s format, however, he reiterated that the Council should strive to make it more analytical.
During the last several years, the Council had made important efforts in peacekeeping, he said. The lessons of Srebrenica, Rwanda and Sierra Leone had made it abundantly clear that a thorough and critical review was needed to make the peacekeeping operations succeed in meeting commitments under the Charter. Like many previous speakers, he believed that the question of humanitarian intervention should be approached with the utmost caution. Though the principle of State sovereignty should not be used to shield massive and gross violations of basic human rights, it should not be ignored by the Council or any of its members.
Thus far, the efforts to reform the Council had not resolved some of the fundamental issues on the agenda of the open-ended working group. Council reform must be accelerated. Like many others, he believed that the expansion of the Security Council should be made in both categories, permanent and non-permanent. In the former category, representatives of developing countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America should be represented, along with the major industrialized countries. A reasonable increase in the non-permanent seats should reflect the representative character of the Council and enable a growing number of Member States to contribute to its work. An essential part of the reform process should be dealing with the veto power, the use of which should be considerably curtailed.
JOAQUIM A.B.B. MANGUEIRA (Angola) said that the Security Council report prompted reflection on international efforts to maintain peace and security. To improve those efforts, it was necessary to reinforce the roles of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General in fulfilling Security Council mandates, and to strengthen the Council's relationships with such regional organizations as the OAU. That would help create a forum for settling conflicts and allow the Security Council to be more decisive. Other groups that could play a role in strengthening the Security Council are the Special Committee on the United Nations Charter and the open-ended working group on equitable membership, increased membership, and other matters related to the Council and the Brahimi Report.
He recognized the efforts of the Security Council in seeking peace and stability in Angola, especially with the adoption of resolution 1295 (2000). But, it could do more in implementing the sanctions, by requiring them to be applied by States, private organizations and others. In areas of the world effected by Council actions, it needed to follow up on its resolutions and ensure they were respected. It was time, in Angola, to live in peace and rebuild the destroyed economy.
PAUL HEINBECKER (Canada) said the Security Council should give greater weight to human rights and humanitarian principles in deciding when to act. To that end, the protection of civilians in armed conflict now had become more prominent both in the Council’s discourse and in the actions it mandated. The Council must ensure, however, that its engagement on those issues was not just rhetorical, but substantive and action-oriented. Kosovo had been a hard lesson on the changed nature of security. That demand had been faced once again with civilian suffering in East Timor. Each demanded a more consistent approach to addressing new forms of conflict. In a global age, mass victimization and the abuse of human rights was not tolerable. State sovereignty could not be a shield behind which such acts were perpetrated with impunity. There must be accountability.
Too often, peacekeeping operations were unduly influenced by outside political or financial considerations, rather than operational necessities, he continued. Moreover, serious capacity problems within the United Nations must also be addressed. He therefore welcomed the Brahimi Report and hoped that its recommendations would be implemented. He was encouraged by the recent steps taken to improve the instrument of sanctions, as evidenced by the Council’s unprecedented effort to make the sanctions work against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). As Angola had indicated, the identification of “sanctions-busters” could lead to tighter and better implementation of sanctions.
If conflict prevention did not succeed, the international community would be “confronted with the question of whether and how to step in to end and resolve conflict”, he said. That dilemma became more acute in the case of intra-State conflicts, particularly those involving human rights abuse or humanitarian emergencies. The Canadian Government had taken the lead in advancing the debate on those questions, by spearheading the launch of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, the results of which would be made available to the General Assembly one year from now. It was hoped that the Commission would take two apparently incompatible policy objectives -- sovereignty and intervention -- and produce an acceptable synthesis. Canada supported greater openness and democracy in the Security Council, but it firmly believed that any expansion of the Council must be limited to the non-permanent category only. “More vetoes would only give the Council political sclerosis”, he said.
MICHAEL POWLES (New Zealand), also speaking on behalf of Argentina, with whom New Zealand had had a close working relationship on the working methods of the Security Council, appreciated the clear organization of the contents of the report and applauded the initiatives the Council had undertaken, including the dispatch of missions to East Timor, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kosovo. He also welcomed the establishment of working groups to review or make recommendations upon thematic issues, such as the protection of civilians in armed conflict. There had been significant strides made over the past year towards enhancing the Council's working methods, thereby allowing non-members of the Council some of the rights afforded them in the Charter.
He referred, in particular, to the note by the President of the Council (S/1999/1291) issued just before the eve of the new millennium, which included several measures to enhance the access of non-members to information and to participation in Council meetings, those measures included making available draft resolutions and Presidential statements to non-members as soon as they are introduced to informal consultations of the whole; improving the quality of Presidential briefings to non-members, and stipulating of a range of meeting options whose formats provide for greater participation by non-members. The measures regarding the participation of non-members in Council meetings should be incorporated into the Council's provisional rules of procedure.
Nevertheless, he said, despite the progress, implementation of new procedures had at times seemed incomplete and uncertain. The undue preponderance of informal consultations of the whole continued to be a feature of the Council's conduct. He reminded the Secretariat that the Security Council comprised 15 members, and that its practice of consulting on some issues only with the permanent five must stop. Looking forward to the implementation of many suggestions in the Brahimi Report, he said that the recommendation that "countries that have committed military units to an operation should have access to Secretariat briefings to the Council on matters affecting the safety and security of their personnel" was of particular importance to his country.
RASHID ALIMOV (Tajikistan) said the report of the Security Council painted an impressive picture of its serious efforts to respond to threats to international peace and security. The various actions outlined in the report were also a testament to the Council’s ever-increasing volume of work. The situations in the Balkans, the Middle East, East Timor, Cyprus, Africa and Afghanistan that were outlined in the report were only a partial example of the urgent issues on today’s political map of the world.
He said the Council had also expanded its agenda to address such issues as civilians in armed conflict, the spread of light weapons and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It was important that the subjects put forward by the Council not only reverberated around the world, but also promoted the search for answers. Also, there had been no decline to threats to international peace and security. The Council would, therefore, have to step up its efforts to alleviate human suffering.
He said the enormous experience acquired by the Council over the last decade required an in-depth analysis. Democratic governments had doubled, yet mankind had also witnessed many violent challenges to democratic rule. Turning to his country, he said the Council agenda item in the report entitled “the situation in Tajikistan” briefly covered the history of his country. It had taken many decades to settle the inter-Tajik conflict, but it had been achieved. Achieving that peace had required enormous political will from both parties to the conflict and other States who had wanted stability. Peace had also come about through the efforts of Council members.
DUBEM ONYIA, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, said that his region had endeavoured to maintain regular contacts and consultation with the Security Council. It was important to recall that some African leaders had met with members of the Council in January this year, over the restoration of lasting peace to the Great Lakes Region. The Council had twice been honoured by the presence of Nelson Mandela and, last June, ECOWAS Ministerial Mediation and Security Committee on Sierra Leone held extensive consultations with members of the Council on the current situation in Sierra Leone. The close consultation resulting from these visits had played a significant role in renewing the confidence of Africa’s subregion and, indeed, the continent.
He said efforts to address conflict situations would not yield the desired results unless new security challenges were confronted, such as by poverty and disease, intolerance and discrimination, human rights abuses and disregard of the rule of law. Malaria was as threatening as HIV/AIDS to international peace and security, and he invited the Council to address that scourge. It was reassuring that the Council was seized with the problems arising from children and women in armed conflict. The international community needed to be more forceful in bringing to justice all those who committed war crimes, particularly against women and children.
In Africa, he continued, measures had been initiated to address the root causes of conflicts. Within the past year, the African Ministerial Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa had been established to reinforce the capacity for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts within the framework of the OAU. His country was confident that it would receive the desired support of the international community. Another area of concern was the political situation in the subregion, particularly in Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Liberia. Members of the Council could, and should, play a major role in supporting the efforts of ECOWAS and African leaders in the resolution of the current crisis in Côte d’Ivoire. Regional organizations and the United Nations should work together in furtherance of international peace and security.
There was an urgent need to review and strengthen peacekeeping mechanisms, he said. As a troop-contributor, his country was of the firm belief that Member States should never tolerate situations in which the security of peacekeepers was compromised. The reform of the Security Council constituted one of the major challenges facing the United Nations in the new millennium. For the Council to discharge its Charter obligations effectively, it must be truly representative of the Member States of the Organization. It should continue to improve its working methods, and make them transparent for the benefit of all countries.
ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said that the reporting period represented significant developments in the area of maintenance of international peace and security. First, the period had seen the Council play a more pro-active role, discernible from the Council’s assumption of primary responsibility in major crises situations. However, the Council’s inability to act on the situation between Eritrea and Ethiopia on time had been criticized, and perhaps justly so. As an elected Security Council member, Bangladesh made her endeavours in vain for Council action before another conflagration took place. The war in the Horn of Africa demonstrated, once again, the need for closer coordination and cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.
There had been a substantive evolution in the Council’s perception of peace and security, he said. The Security Council was no longer seen as a fire brigade acting only when conflicts flare. Another major development was the growing collaboration between and among the major organs of the United Nations, specialized agencies and other bodies. Notable progress had also been made in the Council’s consideration of sanctions. There had been remarkable progress in making some of the sanctions regimes -– those for Angola and Sierra Leone in particular -– more effective and targeted.
Another area under consideration was Council transparency, openness and participation. As the statistics showed, during the reporting period, the Council had 144 public meetings and 194 informal consultations. The briefing of the non-members of the Council by the Presidency had been greeted as real time transparency.
He strongly pleaded for the strengthening of this practice, as it provided a forum for information and exchange between the Council and the broader membership. The removal of the budget cap was fundamental to any substantive forward movement, he said. A basic problem facing peacekeeping operations was the commitment gap in terms of troops and personnel. Emphasis had been placed on deploying well-trained, well-equipped and well-motivated troops. The question arose: Where would these troops come from? One of the ways to solve the commitment gap could be to have each of the permanent members of the Council -– given their special status, responsibility and capacity -– contribute five per cent of the troops required for any peacekeeping operation.
SAID BEN MUSTAPHA (Tunisia) expressed the view that the report of Security Council was the major mechanism for evaluating its work. It was notable that the Council gave priority to the settlement of disputes in Africa in this report. Further, it showed that the responsibility for maintaining peace and security remained a vital one. The Millennium Summit had been an opportunity for determining these challenges. Tunisia hoped that the Council would hold to its role in the Charter and step up cooperation with other United Nations organs, especially the General Assembly.
The Brahimi report on peacekeeping operations must be considered in depth, based on conditions of collective responsibility, he said. It revealed that there was controversy as to how to resolve problems of international peace and security. Efforts to improve transparency in the Council must be increased. Changing its methods of work helped the Council discharge its activities more efficiently. It was important that the Security Council resolve conflicts in a more effective manner.
In that context, it behooved the Council to adopt the following measures: improve the report by making it an analysis of the motives behind decisions; allow other Member States to participate by holding more plenary meetings; provide access for affected countries to participate in its work; intensify direct contact between conflict States; and improve sanctions regimes by imposing binding measures. Criteria and objectives must be established for sanctions regimes and for the lifting of sanctions that may have consequences for third countries. Greater cooperation and coordination in the Security Council was required to meet the needs of Member States. This must be done for various mandates of United Nations bodies, which should be enshrined in future reports, he concluded.
SHAMSHAD AHMAD (Pakistan) said that it was widely held that the Security Council had finally come out of its cold-war inertia. It now seemed to be performing a more proactive role than before, though not necessarily a more effective one. Pakistan believed that the intensity and number of conflicts could be minimized if a sufficient degree of commitment, concern, engagement, objectivity and even-handedness was demonstrated by the Security Council. Selectivity in the implementation of Security Council resolutions had raised serious questions about the Council’s credibility. All resolutions of the Council must be implemented without any discrimination.
The Jammu and Kashmir dispute, involving the destiny of 10 million people, was a case in point, where the Council’s resolutions pledging them their right to self-determination had not been implemented for over half a century. The progress achieved in East Timor must serve as a model for resolving the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir, in conformity with the wishes of the Kashmiri people. The credibility of the Security Council was undermined each time it ignored a conflict and left it to the parties to resolve, or when regional organizations were asked to field for the United Nations.
Recently, a growing propensity to expand the role of the Security Council had been noted. Efforts were being made to broaden the Council’s agenda to include HIV/AIDS, civilians and children in armed conflict, women and peace and security, protection of humanitarian and United Nations personnel, human rights, international law and disarmament bodies. Those subjects clearly were in the domain of the General Assembly and its various bodies. There was also a need to review sanctions regimes because of their enormous adverse impact on the common people. Pakistan, therefore, hesitated to subscribe to the view that there could be “smart sanctions”.
ELFATIH MOHAMED AHMED ERWA (Sudan) said it was the right of Member States to receive ample and comprehensive information on the Security Council at the appropriate time, so that they, too -- through the General Assembly -- could participate in the search for solutions to threats to international peace and security. That, unfortunately, was not the case. What was available was only the annual report, which did not really facilitate interaction between the Council and the Assembly. That limited interaction was made all the worse by the nature of the report, which was nothing more than a chronological listing of items, without any explanation of the activities. Unless the report fully reflected the deliberations of that body -- how its resolutions were adopted, for example -- it would be of little use to the Assembly.
He said that an article in The New York Times on 6 March 1998, under the heading of “The Secret Council”, had drawn attention to the secrecy of the Council. The working group on Council reform had submitted several practical proposals to improve the transparency and working methods of the Council. Unfortunately, nothing had taken place in response. Article 24 of the Charter entrusted the Council with the responsibility of maintaining international peace and security on behalf of all the members of the United Nations. By that Article, the Council was also required to submit annual and periodic reports to the Assembly whenever necessary, so that Member States could study the issues. It was now incumbent on the Council to start submitting detailed reports of its work. A large number of delegations had stated that the report did not contain in-depth assessments and was, therefore, not useful. As the former Permanent Representative of Italy, Paolo Fulci, once said, “we are entitled to know who said what in the Council”.
WALTER BALZAN (Malta) said that, last year, his delegation had stressed the need for the members of the Council to work not in their own interest, but in the interest of the international community as a whole. If the first step in addressing a problem was to decipher its true nature and root causes, then the publication of the incisive reports of the Secretary-General on the Organization’s dismal performance in Rwanda and Srebernica was, indeed, the right point of departure.
He said the Brahimi report pointed, in no uncertain terms, to the present workings and practices of the Security Council, which needed to be reformed or entirely replaced. The procedural changes in the work methods of the Security Council might be challenging to implement, but it was the panel’s call for the Council to exercise more judgment that was likely to prove the most challenging to satisfy. While the Council had a duty to be impartial, that did not relieve it of the obligation to point a finger when the actions of one or another party to a conflict so demanded.
He said that to lay the blame for peacekeeping failures solely at the doorstep of the Security Council would be to misunderstand the depth of the changes that must take place throughout the Organization, if the reform was to succeed. He said that if non-members of the Security Council were to better appreciate what led the Council to take decisions that they were often called on to implement, it was crucial that, to the extent practicable, its deliberations take place in a transparent manner. He concluded by saying that the success of the Security Council’s actions depended very much on the level of credibility and respect that it commanded. In enhancing its level of transparency, the Council would be moving in the right direction.
DUMISANI S. KUMALO (South Africa) noted that when the international community addressed the issues of poverty and underdevelopment, it also minimized the potential for conflict. The Security Council needed to be infused with a fresh sense of urgency and renewed commitment to fulfil its mandate of maintaining international peace and security. The Council must create conditions of peace and security, in order to address the critical task of alleviating poverty and promoting development. South Africa supported the Council’s efforts to address other challenges threatening peace and security, such as the spread of HIV/AIDS; the use of children in armed conflict; disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation; and the protection of civilians. Other issues that received serious consideration in the Security Council included the need to improve the protection of humanitarian personnel and the need to protect natural resources. He called on the Council to support the total prohibition of anti-personnel landmines, as well as the prevention of illicit trafficking in small arms.
His country welcomed the renewed focus on dealing with conflict in Africa, but remained concerned that the necessary political will and resources were not forthcoming. Further steps towards democratization and sustainable development would promote peace and stability. However, a vicious cycle existed in which democratization and sustainable development were also dependent on peace and stability in order to flourish. There was clearly a need for the Security Council to review the methods of applying sanctions, in order to protect civilian populations from prolonged suffering and being punished for the crimes of others. Sanctions must be an instrument used only after careful consideration of their impact and be targeted carefully to effectively achieve the desired outcomes.
The Council should be commended for the increased use of open debates and open briefings on its work, he said. In particular, the open briefings on Kosovo and East Timor helped keep Member States abreast of developments and better able to support and affect the work of the Council. While the present report provided a compendium of the work done by the Council, it failed to give an analysis of the issues and the Council's performance, which was essential, since the Council was accountable to the General Assembly. That failure indicated an unwillingness to engage in review and accountability. Such an approach would raise the issue of reform and show the need for transparency and accountability. South Africa took note of the fact that there had been seven years of debate on the reform of the Council, which should be enough time to recognize the challenges.
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