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    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/GA/1737
        13 November 2000
     Security Council’s Expanded Role, “Double Standards” among Issues Raised As Fourth Committee Concludes Discussion of Peacekeeping Operations

    NEW YORK, 10 November (UN Headquarters) -- As the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to conclude its general debate on the comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations, several speakers addressed the role of the Security Council, including what they described as double standards in the enforcement of resolutions, as well as the expansion of the Council’s role into areas that were more properly the responsibility of the General Assembly.

    The representative of Cuba questioned the use of setting artificial targets for the rapid deployment of peacekeeping operations when double standards and discriminatory standards prevailed in the Security Council.  Further, he questioned the utility of creating new decision-making positions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations without promoting a collective awareness of the root causes of conflicts.  The challenge was to allocate the Organization’s resources according to the legitimate interests of the overwhelming majority of Member States.  Would developing countries be safeguarded by giving more powers to the Security Council and to Headquarters structures, to the detriment of the General Assembly’s role in other areas? he asked.

     Pakistan’s representative expressed regret that the Security Council, instead of addressing priority areas, was focusing on peripheral issues beyond its primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security.  Efforts were being made to broaden the scope of Council activities by including human rights, humanitarian law, socio-economic and development issues, which clearly fell in the domain of the General Assembly.  The dangerous trend of undermining other United Nations bodies must be curtailed.  In addition, the selective implementation of Security Council resolutions had raised questions about the Council’s neutrality.  All its resolutions must be implemented without any exception or discrimination.

    The representative of New Zealand welcomed the recommendations of the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations on strengthening the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  He agreed, however, that extra funding for peacekeeping must not come at the expense of development resources.  At the same time, he underlined the importance of contingency preparedness, sound advance planning, and training, both before deployment and after an operation.

    Kuwait’s representative said his country was host to the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) and provided two-thirds of the budget for its forces, in addition to its other United Nations assessments.  UNIKOM was easing tensions and contributing to the security of the entire region and it was important that the mission be allowed to fulfil its responsibilities.  However, UNIKOM had to cope with ceasefire violations in the security zone, and recent actions by Iraq threatened to destabilize the border situation. 

     Other speakers in this morning’s general debate were the representatives of Ukraine, Singapore, Belarus, Argentina and Tunisia.

     The Fourth Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. to take action on several draft resolutions relating to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.

    Committee Work Programme

     The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to conclude its discussion of comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.

    Statements

     VSEVOLOD SOBKO (Ukraine) turned just to the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations –- the Brahimi report.  He endorsed the Panel’s recommendation to establish national pools of civilian police officers that would be ready for deployment in peace operations as quickly as possible, and to create on-call lists of approximately 100 police officers within the United Nations Standby Arrangements System.  He also supported the recommendation to remove the Civilian Police Unit from the military chain of command in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

     He expressed regret that the safety and security of United Nations peacekeeping and related personnel remained among the most grave and painful problems in conducting such operations.  A large-scale crisis in Sierra Leone this year had witnessed an unprecedented number of peacekeepers taken hostage.  The violent deaths of peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel in Lebanon, East Timor, West Timor and Guinea were still in memory.

     Ukraine strongly condemned any violence against peacekeeping and humanitarian personnel, he said.  Like many other troop contributors, Ukraine had experienced the bitterness of human losses among its peacekeeping personnel and remained deeply convinced that the top priority of any peacekeeping operation or mission must be the adequate security and safety of its personnel.

     Taking note of the Secretary-General’s report on the safety and security of personnel, which addressed the safety of civilians, he said his country could not consider the document as a general and comprehensive review of the security of all peacekeeping personnel, given its lack of analysis of the security of military personnel.  He encouraged the Secretariat to complete that task, as recommended by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.  It also wished that the Brahimi report had paid more attention to that significant problem.

    YAP ONG HENG (Singapore) asked whether the international community had the political will and courage to do what was needed to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.  The United Nations now had a unique opportunity to fulfil one of its primary purposes effectively, and its very credibility was at stake.

    He said that certain areas needed serious fixing.  The Security Council needed to create clear, achievable mandates through consultation with all players, and must be willing to say no to an operation when conditions were not right.  The Department of Peacekeeping Operation also needed to be revamped, with restructuring and staff increases, to strengthen its capacity to plan, mount and manage operations effectively, even if it meant extra funding.  Member States needed to demonstrate political will and provide the means for rapid deployment.  And, certain anomalies had to be put right, including the under-representation of troops from developed nations, and delays in assessment payments and the reimbursement of peacekeeping expenses.

    Singapore, he said, was firmly committed to peacekeeping, and had contributed, in support of standby arrangements, personnel and specialized units to a number of United Nations peacekeeping operations, the latest being military observers to Ethiopia and Eritrea.  He said that the Brahimi report offered sound ideas to strengthen all such efforts.

     RAFAEL DAUSA CESPEDES (Cuba), supporting the statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that increasing attempts to exceed the limits of the United Nations Charter would lead to a growing divergence of peacekeeping operations from the fair concepts that had given rise to the United Nations in the first place.  It was particularly important to ratify basic peacekeeping principles, when attempts were made to impose concepts that disguised the power-mongering of certain States in the mask of humanitarian intervention.

     He said the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations badly required restructuring.  Its debates had been turned into sterile academic discussions, which left its members no choice but to sanctify the mandates and resolutions adopted by the Security Council without the slightest opportunity to influence them.  Sixty-five per cent of the Brahimi Panel’s recommendations had come from the Special Committee, which clearly demonstrated how little importance was attached to the Special Committee’s deliberations.

     He stressed that a comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations could not overlook the root causes of conflicts.  Peacekeeping operations would never be a definite solution to economic, political and social problems, he said.  Development and peace were inextricably linked, and there could be no just and lasting solutions without tackling the actual causes of conflicts.  Even the most seemingly irrelevant activities and the least ambitious United Nations programmes had a real impact on the maintenance of international peace and security.

    The challenge was to allocate the Organization’s resources according to the legitimate interests of the overwhelming majority of Member States, he said.  What would be the use of building an ivory tower with new decision-making positions at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations without promoting a collective awareness of the political, social, economic and cultural roots of conflicts?  What was the use of setting artificial targets for the rapid deployment of peacekeeping operations when double standards and discriminatory standards prevailed in the Security Council?  Would developing countries be safeguarded by giving more powers to the Council and to Headquarters structures, to the detriment of the General Assembly’s role in other areas?

     MOHAMMAD AL-ADSANI (Kuwait) said that peacekeeping operations around the world were playing a pivotal role in relieving tensions on providing humanitarian protection.  In strengthening that role, urgent matters to be addressed were:  clear mandates; payment of assessments; and consultations between troop-contributing countries during all stages of peacekeeping.  Increasing capabilities in training, early warning and preventive diplomacy were also important.  He noted with satisfaction the commitment of troops to standby arrangements and the recommendations of the Brahimi report.

     Kuwait had been hosting the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM), which was easing tensions and contributing to the security of the entire region.  UNIKOM had to cope with ceasefire violations in the security zone, and recently, the actions of the Iraqi regime threatening to destabilize the border situation, as described in a 4 October 2000 letter to the Security Council.  It was important that the mission be allowed to fulfil its responsibilities.

     His country provided two-thirds of the budget for UNIKOM forces, in addition to its other United Nations assessments, and had close working links with the mission, he said.  He thanked the personnel and all countries who had committed units.  He paid tribute to all those who were risking their lives to preserve peace, and welcomed all efforts to improve the effectiveness of peacekeeping.

     SERGEI LING (Belarus), associating himself with the statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said a positive solution to the issue of consultations between troop-contributors and the Security Council would open the way to providing clear and credible mandates for peacekeeping operations.

     He emphasized the importance of drawing up a comprehensive plan to ensure the safety and security of United Nations peacekeeping and humanitarian personnel.  The only way to ensure the willingness of Member States to contribute peacekeeping personnel was to ensure their security in the field.  His Government was currently training troops and military observers to assist the United Nations in overcoming understaffing in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  It would also contribute $2.5 million to the Organization’s peacekeeping budget by the end of the year.

     ANA MARIA MOGLIA (Argentina) endorsed the statements of Colombia on behalf of the Rio Group, and said that now was an opportune moment to strengthen United Nations peacekeeping.  Her country would continue to participate in missions.  Despite budgetary constraints, its experience within various organs of the United Nations made it committed to strengthening the peacekeeping system and avoiding unnecessary delays.  There was now general awareness of what needed to be done in that regard, and the Brahimi report provided a basis for international consensus to accomplish it.

     Since the diagnosis had been made, she said, Member States should now deliberate and move forward.  Political will must be translated into the resources needed to make the necessary changes and in sharing peacekeeping risks.  She supported improvements to the system of consultation with troop contributors and reiterated the responsibilities of the permanent members of the Security Council.  Developing countries should not be asked for additional funds to make changes, as they were shouldering the military burdens.  Her country, which provided more troops than any other Latin American country, was particularly concerned about the security of its personnel and supported the need for integral security plans for every mission.

     MOAHMED SALAH TEKAYA (Tunisia), associating himself with the statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the reports on the fall of Srebrenica and the Rwanda genocide had allowed the United Nations to draw lessons from those tragic chapters in the history of peacekeeping.  Those two reports, as well as that of the Brahimi Panel, would help the Organization respond to peacekeeping requirements and problems.

     The question of troop and resource contributions clearly remained fundamental, he said, both for the planning period and for rapid implementation and follow-up.  That was a collective responsibility for all Member States, in particular, those with the greatest means and capacity.

     While appreciating the Department’s efforts in dealing with the urgent and complex situations that had developed over the last few months, he said closer cooperation between troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat would lead to better management of such situations.  Past experience called for significant improvements in the quality of consultations between the Council and troop contributors, from the planning of new operations and throughout their development.  Close and meaningful consultations would improve the chances of success for those operations.

     He noted that financial difficulties continued to affect the capacity of the United Nations to reimburse troop- and equipment-contributing countries.  That, in turn, affected the capacity and will of contributing countries, particularly developing countries, to participate in new peacekeeping operations.  Payment of assessed contributions by all Member States, on time and without conditions, would help resolve that problem.

     TREVOR HUGHES (New Zealand) said as a longtime contributor to peacekeeping operations, his country welcomed the Brahimi report, as well as the Secretary-General’s proposals to implement its suggestions, particularly those related to the strengthening of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations support to missions.  New Zealand looked forward to working with other delegations to make those suggestions reality.

     He agreed that extra funding for peacekeeping must not come at the expense of development resources.  In addition, his country’s experiences had underlined the importance of contingency preparedness, sound advance planning and training, both before deployment and after an operation.  In staffing matters, he supported geographical and gender equity.  He also looked forward to the Secretary-General’s proposals on protection of personnel in the field.  Security Council members did have a responsibility to adopt “challenging” mandates, as long as the mandates are realistic, especially as concerned force levels.

     The Brahimi report, he said, noted that the Permanent Members of the Council were contributing fewer troops to United Nations operations, while acknowledging that four of them had sizeable forces in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operations.  In New Zealand’s case, 31 per cent of its army was currently committed to United Nations operations, in addition to participation in other arrangements around the world.  In that context, private meetings between the Council and troop providers were beneficial and should be institutionalized.  Finally, he said that delays in expense reimbursement, due to failure of Member States to pay their dues, were intolerable.

    SHAMSHAD AHMAD (Pakistan), associating himself with the statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed regret that the Security Council, instead of addressing priority areas, was focusing on peripheral issues beyond its primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security.  Efforts were being made to broaden the scope of Council activities by including human rights, humanitarian law, socio-economic and development issues, which clearly fell in the domain of the General Assembly.  The dangerous trend of undermining other United Nations bodies must be curtailed.

    The United Nations had recently come under strong criticism for its inability to effectively respond to crisis situations, he said.  That had been due to lack of determination on the part of Security Council members, political bias and the inability of certain sections of the Secretariat to respond promptly and appropriately to the crises at hand and their inadequate preparations in managing resources and personnel.  He emphasized the need for a uniform, early and effective response to crisis situations, regardless of their geographic location.

    Citing the Brahimi Panel’s emphasis on the role of regional States in ensuring the success of peacekeeping operations, he said the role of regional States and organizations should be restricted to the prevention of armed conflict, and their actions must be in consonance with Chapter VIII of the Charter.  The Security Council’s credibility was undermined each time it ignored a conflict and left it to be resolved by major players.  Another aspect was the selective implementation of Security Council resolutions, which had raised questions about the Council’s neutrality.  All its resolutions must be implemented without any exception or discrimination.

    Regarding the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, he said the Department had suffered enough from a lack of efficiency, a failure to observe established procedures, insufficient accountability and responsibility, irregularities in the selection of staff, redundant posts, ambiguous chains of reporting and the absence of major contributors from important posts.  He strongly opposed suggestions that it needed more staff.  It was interesting that the Department needed a third Assistant Secretary-General, when the post had been kept vacant during the surge in peacekeeping operations over the past few months.

    Reiterating Pakistan’s continued commitment to, and support for, United Nations peacekeeping efforts, he pointed out that his country was host to the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), one of the oldest peacekeeping operations.  However, despite its continued presence, peace in South Asia remained fragile.  The root cause of the conflict between Pakistan and India was the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.  The international community must help to establish lasting peace in South Asia by enabling the people of that territory to exercise their right to self-determination.

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