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22 October 2010 - Security Council - Peace and security in Africa - Statement by Mr. Martin Briens, chargé d’affaires a.i.

(UN translation)

At the outset, I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for having organized this debate on a topic of great importance to our efforts for peace and security. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his report (S/2010/514) and to welcome the presence and statement of Mr. Lamamra on behalf of the African Union.

My delegation associates itself with the statement to be made later by the representative of the European Union.

I should like to underscore the following points.

First, we commend the efforts undertaken this past year by the African Union, often in the most difficult conditions. The African Union plays a significant role in the Sudan by contributing to the African Union- United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur; through the African Union High-level Implementation Panel led by President Mbeki, who plays a facilitating role on the issues of Darfur and South Sudan; and, finally, through the role of the Joint African Union-United Nations Chief Mediator for Darfur, Mr. Djibril Bassolé, heading the Doha peace process. Similarly, in Somalia, the African Union’s establishment of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has prevented the seizure of Mogadishu by extremists. The contingents of Uganda and Burundi are making a significant effort to contain the violence of Al-Shabaab and protect the Transitional Federal Institutions.

We note that the African Union is one of the world’s regional organizations that have most developed their partnership and cooperation with the United Nations. This exceptional relationship — forged both between the Security Council of the United Nations and the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, and between the African Union Commission and the United Nations Secretariat — is justified, inter alia, by Africa’s prominent place on the peacekeeping agenda. We welcome the growing role played by African States within peacekeeping operations, which are mostly deployed in Africa. We also believe that it is important to preserve the universal nature of the personnel of these operations.

The African Union contributes a great deal to the United Nations. It contributes proximity to the situation on the ground, intimate knowledge of the regional environment, and the conviction that the continent is taking responsibility for its own security, pursuant to the United Nations Charter. Conversely, the United Nations contributes to the African Union legitimacy in the context of its Charter, skills, resources and shared experiences that can assist the Union in its crisis prevention and management missions on the continent. Today, all our efforts are aimed at ensuring that this original and mutually beneficial partnership, imbued with the spirit of Chapter VIII of the Charter, endures and improves.

In this respect, we believe that the official establishment in July of the new United Nations Office to the African Union in Addis Ababa will contribute to strengthening this partnership by further integrating the United Nations activities. I wish to congratulate the Assistant Secretary-General, Mr. Zachary Muburi- Muita, on his appointment to head the Office.

France, like its European Union partners, is greatly committed to supporting peacekeeping by African regional and subregional organizations, beginning with the African Union. The President of the Republic announced during the Africa-France summit in Nice in May that we intend to contribute €300 million over the next three years to bolster the peace and security architecture, in addition to our bilateral contribution to the European Union’s African Peace Facility. We also intend to contribute to the training of 12,000 men.

We attach a special importance to strengthening African capacities in the field of training and deployment. The network of regionally oriented national schools, which we support, is an effective tool for training the various components of the African standby force and strengthening military, police and civilian capacities.

France also contributes significantly to European assistance, which surpasses €1 billion, to the maintenance of peace and security on the African continent. As the Secretary-General underscores in his report, the European Union has become a key partner of the African Union in the field of capacity-building and support for deployed peacekeeping operations. I recall, for example, that in Somalia the European Union’s African Peace Facility has committed almost €95 million to AMISOM, and a decision to provide €47 million in additional financing was adopted last July.We must, however, abide by the operational rules of the European Union in this commitment, which means that, for instance, today we cannot finance lethal equipment with the Peace Facility.

In the case of Somalia, I wish to pay tribute in particular to the exemplary mobilization of Uganda, which hosts the European Union Somalia Training Mission and, with Burundi, contributes troops to AMISOM.

United Nations support for African Union operations calls for innovative responses on our part to the external and internal challenges we face.

From the security perspective, the difficulty today lies in our ability to respond to new forms of cross-cutting threats facing the United Nations and the African Union. I note that the range of peacekeeping and political mediation tools is often not well adapted to this type of situation. In the Sahel and on the west coast of Africa, we note an increase, and a growing overlap, in the factors of instability, terrorism, trafficking and rebellion, which undermine the security and the integrity of States. That is why support for security sector reform and promotion of the rule of law must, in time, become key elements of operations deployed by African regional and subregional organizations. How to achieve that? In that regard, the peacebuilding work carried out by the Mission for the consolidation of peace in the Central African Republic, within the framework of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and with the financial support of the European Commission, France and ECCAS, has opened up noteworthy paths of work. In addition, the African mission project for assistance to security sector reform in Guinea-Bissau, if it takes shape in suitable conditions, would also merit our attention, like its cooperation with the United Nations and the European Union. In other words, all of that shows that ways of supporting peace and security on the African continent are far from being fixed and uniform.

Internally, it is also very clear that the current difficult budgetary circumstances of contributing States should force us to seek greater efficiency in peacekeeping operations, while monitoring spending more closely. If we have decided to pursue our work that started in the context of the Franco-British initiative — which seeks to strengthen the chain of command of operations and to improve the cooperation with troop contributors — it is also to ensure stricter financial tracking of those operations, whose budget has increased exponentially in recent years.

We also believe that if the United Nations is to be committed to such a reform process, its partners cannot stay in the background, especially when their involvement is so great, as is the case with the African Union. In that regard, in the Secretary-General’s report, we note with interest the efforts undertaken by the African Union to reform its management methods and to diversify its peacekeeping funding sources. However, the issue of operations follow-up remains crucial. The United Nations must retain primary responsibility for the operations that it funds.

For those reasons, both budgetary and operational, we believe that resorting to United Nations funding, through obligatory contributions, of operations that it does not lead poses difficulties. That option should not serve as the cornerstone of broader and bolder consideration, which must be undertaken based on support for African peacekeeping capacities. In that regard, I would like to underscore that the new African Peace Facility of the European Union is a first appropriate response to the African request for predictable and sustained financing for peacekeeping operations led by Africa. We believe that we should be inspired by that voluntary step to support security on the African continent.

That brings me to conclude by underscoring that such support for African capacities concerns us all — the United Nations, the European Union, bilateral partners and international donors. But it is also, of course, the concern of African States themselves, whose willingness to take charge of their security governs any success. Rest assured that France will remain actively involved at their side.

Finally, I would like to voice my delegation’s support for the draft presidential statement.

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