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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Satement on behalf of the EU to the Security Council of the United Nations on the African dimension in the work of the Security Council

Date of Speech : 30-03-2005

Place : New York

Speaker : Marc Bichler

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Mr. President,

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia* , the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates, Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro and the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration.

Mr. President,

The European Union would like to thank you for organizing today’s wrap-up debate on the African dimension in the work of the Security Council. During this month, the Security Council actually dealt with African issues on an almost daily basis. Unfortunately there are good reasons for that. Large parts of Africa are still affected by armed conflict, which puts at risk, beyond the unjustifiable human suffering, the long-term stability of the whole continent. The vast majority of the more than 65.000 UN peacekeeping personnel are deployed in Africa. A new mission is being deployed in Sudan; other missions in Africa need to be reinforced or decided upon in the near future.

The European Union believes that the promotion of lasting peace and security in Africa, as a pre-condition to sustainable economic and social development, constitutes one of the major challenges facing the international community in general and the Security Council in particular. We attach great importance to our multi-dimensional partnership with Africa and its people. During their recent meeting in Brussels on March 22-23, the European Heads of State and Government underlined the particular importance of Africa in 2005. 

Mr. President,

The primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security lies with the United Nations Security Council. The latter’s important contribution to peace and security in Africa would certainly benefit from an increased cooperation and coordination within partnerships developed between the UN, the European Union, the African Union and sub-regional organizations in the prevention, resolution and management of conflicts, including by addressing the root causes. New models of flexible partnerships have already made valuable contributions in this context, as demonstrated for example in the case of the African missions in Burundi (AMIB) or Sudan (AMIS I & II).

The European Union believes furthermore that - beyond partnerships and practical cooperation - the institutional relationship between the UN and the African Union needs to be strengthened, in particular in the field of peace and security. Given the number of conflicts in Africa and their increasing complexity, such institutional relationships could maximise the efficiency of the international community’s efforts by relying on the comparative advantages of regional and sub-regional organisations and their complementarities with the UN system. In this context, the European Union welcomes the invitation to the Secretary-General, expressed in the statement by the President of the Security Council of 19 November 2004 in Nairobi, to explore new means of cooperation between the UN and the African Union.

Less than three years after its establishment, the AU has indeed made considerable progress and earned international respect as a credible and legitimate continental interlocutor for Africa. The AU has decisively assumed responsibility and leadership in dealing with some of the many armed conflicts that for so long have marred the African continent. Its efforts to stabilize the situation in Darfur are a recent manifestation of this strong determination

Mr. President,

The European Union is firmly committed to develop its dialogue with the African Union, to establish institutional linkages and to define an operational agenda particularly in the area and peace and security, in line with the Presidential Statement of the Security Council of 20 July 2004 on the cooperation between the UN and regional organizations in stabilization processes.

In November 2004, the EU adopted an Action Plan for support to Peace and Security in Africa which identifies practical ways to support African organizations in building autonomous conflict prevention and management capacities. The European Union has been offering personnel and financial, as well as logistical, technical and political support for most African mediation and peace processes. While military observers from EU member states participate in all UN peace keeping operations in Africa, we have also supported a number of peacekeeping missions decided and led by the AU or sub-regional organizations. To make financial support easier for this type of operations, the African Peace Facility, a €250 million development instrument serving the Continent’s peace and security agenda, has been developed by the EU at the request of the African Union and is fully operational since June 2004. In addition, EU member states have contributed individually to the peacemaking and peacekeeping efforts of the AU and sub-regional organizations

 Mr. President,

 Before concluding, let me just mention four areas in particular, in which the European Union feels prompt and resolute action by the Security Council is needed to avoid the prolongation of armed conflicts and human suffering: the need to end impunity, the stricter enforcement of arms embargoes, the halting of the proliferation of small arms and the importance of supporting effective DDR programs.

Mr. President,

While the primary responsibility for progress in Africa rests with leaders and their communities, let me conclude by reiterating the European Union’s call for relationships to be strengthened and partnerships to be broadened between the UN, the AU and sub-regional organizations in the area of international peace and collective security in particular.

The EU for its part stands ready to develop its own relationship with the AU into a real strategic and institutional partnership based on the principles of African ownership, full co-operation, equality and legitimacy.

Thank you Mr. President.

* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process

This page was last modified on : 31-03-2005

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