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Remarks by Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, Eugene-Richard Gasana, at the UN Security Council wrap up session

Let me start by thanking my colleagues, members of the Security Council, for their continued support to the Rwanda presidency and for their full cooperation, which enabled us to carry out the programme of this busy, unpredictable and nocturnal month of July 2014, ending tomorrow with another emergency meeting on Gaza.

I shall also congratulate Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, for assuming the presidency of the Security Council for the month of August 2014. I am particularly pleased that the UK presidency will organize an open debate on prevention of conflict, which is in line with the briefing that Rwanda had organized in April 2013 on the prevention of conflicts in Africa by addressing their root causes. I also appreciate that Ambassador Grant and his team will continue organizing wrap-up sessions under the format of a public briefing.

Dear colleagues,

 As you all know, the main topic of this month of July 2014 was the thematic debate on peacekeeping, as Rwanda is celebrating, this very month, its tenth anniversary in peacekeeping operations. You would recall that, two days ago, on Monday 28 July, Rwanda convened an open debate on regional partnerships in peacekeeping and its evolution, during which resolution 2167 (2014) was unanimously adopted. This resolution  expressed its determination to take effective steps to further enhance the relationship between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, in particular the African Union, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations. It further stressed the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing regional organizations when they undertake peacekeeping under a Security Council mandate.

Furthermore, Rwanda firmly believes that peacekeeping, multidimensional and robust as it may be, cannot alone resolve conflicts. Indeed, maintenance of international peace and security requires concrete, coordinated and sustained action from the stage of conflict prevention to that of post-conflict peacebuilding. It’s in this context that the Security Council held, on Tuesday 15 July, a briefing on post-conflict peacebuilding. This meeting was followed by an informal interactive dialogue between members of the Security Council, the PBC Chairs Group, countries on the PBC agenda and with the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support.

The meeting was frank, direct and fruitful, as it was an opportunity to further discuss on how to strengthen the PBC advisory function to the Security Council, and on how to address the recurring relapse into conflict. Nonetheless, Rwanda regretted that, while all PBC configurations were represented at an ambassadorial level, Council members were, most of them, represented at a lower level; not to mention that among the six (6) countries on the PBC agenda – all Africans -, only Sierra Leone, represented by its Permanent Representative, attended the informal interactive dialogue.

Dear colleagues,

This month of July 2014, the Security Council also considered a number of country-specific situations. It is important to note that although African conflicts continue to be present in our work, they were not a majority of situations considered in the programme of work for July 2014. However, this was not due to the reduction of conflicts in Africa, always dominated by crises in South Sudan and Central African Republic, but to the worsening situations in other parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East and in Ukraine.

On Syria, following the violation of resolution 2139 (2014) by all sides, the Council unanimously adopted this month another humanitarian resolution, resolution 2165 (2014), by which it authorized UN humanitarian agencies to use routes across conflict lines and four (4) additional border crossings, in order to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches people in need throughout Syria, through the most direct routes.

On Ukraine, the Security Council met in emergency on Friday 18 July, following the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, resulting in the tragic loss of 298 lives. The Council also adopted a press statement, followed by a resolution, calling for a full, thorough, independent and unhindered international investigation.

On Gaza and Israel, the Security Council was yet again confronted with the resumption of hostilities in Gaza. Given the magnitude of the conflict, which took more than thirteen hundred (1,300) lives so far, mostly civilians, women and children, the Security Council adopted, for the first time since 2009, a Council product on the Palestinian question (in this case, a presidential statement) calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. Unfortunately, this presidential statement was not implemented on the ground; and, tomorrow morning, the Security Council will again convene in emergency, to consider the humanitarian consequences of this conflict.

It is worth noting that these three (3) situations, Syria, Ukraine and Gaza/Israel, brought to light, in a single month, the division among Council members, especially when involving interests of the permanent members. To be fair, the Security Council should be commended for overcoming its divisions and adopting critical decisions, such as resolution 2165 on Syria, resolution 2166 on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and the presidential statement on Gaza; but nonetheless, it is clear that in July 2014 like in previous months, members of the Security Council were once again unable or unwilling to use their influence to find a sustainable political solution to all those crises.

In relation to this, Rwanda believes that, as far as the work of the Security Council is concerned, initial consultations between the permanent members alone or between penholders and countries of the region on a particular situation, are important to clear the ground and facilitate a smooth decision of the Security Council. However, we also believe, as reminded by the 2014 FIFA World Cup (which ended this month), that teamwork, more than individuals, is the best chance for success. We therefore recall that this Council comprises of fifteen members, and that all of them should be given enough time to consult and contribute to its work and to its decisions.

To conclude, dear colleagues, I would like to thank UN member states for participating in this wrap-up session and in other public meetings convened by the Council this month, sometimes on short notice. I wish particularly to commend the UN members who actively participated in and contributed to the two open debates organized this month. I would however encourage African members of this organization to participate more in open debates of the Security Council, particularly those related to issues concerning Africa, such as the open debate on regional partnerships, held last Monday. Indeed, Rwanda believes that the Security Council needs, more than ever, the contribution of the wider UN membership and their various experiences, which will help the Council in effectively carrying out its mandate of maintenance of international peace and security.

I thank you.

Statement by Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, Eugene-Richard Gasana at the UN Security Council Open Debate on United Nations Peacekeeping: Regional Partnerships and their Evolution

Minister Gasana speaking-Open debate on peacekeeping

Good morning Excellencies,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you all for being here today. I would like to thank our esteemed briefers: the Secretary-General, His Excellency Ban Ki Moon; the European Union Deputy Secretary General for External Action Service, Mr. Maciej Popowski, and the Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations, Ambassador Téte António. I want to also recognize the presence of His Excellency Mr. Urmas Paet, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia and His Excellency Mr. Tariq Fatemi, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen last-minute circumstances, Madame Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister of Foreign Affaires and Cooperation of Rwanda, was not able to be here today and she asked that I pass on her sincere apologies and regret to all Council members and other distinguished delegates.

As Rwanda comes close to the end of its Presidency of the Council, we saved the best for last. Indeed I can think of no better way or no higher note on which to end Rwanda’s presidency than with this open debate and with the adoption of resolution 2167, which is intended to bear fruit in concrete ways to strengthen coordination among partners and regional and subregional organizations to ensure a comprehensive strategy for effective responses to threats to international peace and security.

In our assessment, we believe that this is the opportune time to hold this debate on the evolution of the UN and regional partnerships in the maintenance of international peace and security, especially in peacekeeping. As peace is shared, so are the consequences of insecurity and conflicts, in the global world we live today. Indeed, the framers of the UN Charter had foreseen the need for coordination and collaboration between the UN and regional arrangements in the maintenance of peace and security; in its Chapter VIII. The spirit of the Charter has been transformed into action today with an evident engagement of regional organizations in international peace operations. The challenge we have today is to instill a positive evolution for these kinds of partnership; to move from ad hoc partnerships to more structured frameworks of partnership.

We have learned from the tragic failures in Rwanda and Srebrenica twenty years ago that rapid regional engagement and response mechanisms are essential in a world where political will and defense budgets are both declining. There is an obvious need for rapid responses to often unpredictable violent conflicts and partnerships with regional organizations in Africa and elsewhere are fundamental in achieving this endeavor. Acknowledging the benefits of peacekeeping partnerships, the Security Council has adopted various resolutions and presidential statements on the subject, with the last one being resolution 2033 in 2012, which requested the Secretary-General to conduct, in consultation with the AU, a comprehensive analysis of lessons learnt from practical cooperation between the UN and the AU, in particular with regard to UNAMID in Darfur and AMISOM in Somalia. The issue has not been discussed since then, despite the fact that this Council has continued to rely on partnerships with regional and subregional organizations to support peacekeeping efforts.

When it comes to the African continent, it is clear that the AU and regional organizations often have political legitimacy, the advantages of proximity, and access to African capabilities. Partners bring funding, experience and logistical capabilities, as well as political leverage in specific cases. All of these comparative advantages have come into play in various forms in support for African peace support operations to date, but largely on an ad hoc basis. This forum is therefore an opportunity to explore ways in which regional partners can best bring their comparative advantage to UN peacekeeping and how their operational capacities can be enhanced and supported so that they may share the peacekeeping burden and ultimately make operations more effective at the strategic, operational and tactical levels.

Over the last decade, African countries, with the support of international partners, have engaged in a collective effort to develop regional capacities for peace support operations, as per the creation of the AU Peace and Security Commission and the African Standby Force. As a result of these efforts, as well as of bilateral support to member states, there has been a steady improvement in African capacities to respond to crisis situations, through the deployment of increasingly larger and complex peace support operations. UNAMID is no longer a one-of-a-kind partnership. In Mali, Somalia, Central African Republic, and South Sudan, the UN has worked with organizations, including the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Eastern African Community (EAC), as well as the European Union, in various peacekeeping models.

Rwanda is proud to have been a part of such operations for the past ten years, including the transitions from: the AU Mission in Sudan to the AU-UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur, among the largest peacekeeping operation in the world to date; from the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA); and soon from the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). And, with a large presence already in the UN Mission in South Sudan, Rwanda recently deployed another battalion alongside IGAD, which deployed a robust force of three battalions under UNMISS command in order to protect civilians and IGAD monitors in the face of escalating violence. We are currently in talks to deploy two military helicopters in support of that IGAD and UNMISS operation.

While great things have been achieved through these and other partnerships, there are lessons to be taken away and room for improvement. The fact remains that the AU has often struggled when it comes to operational capacity, thus highlighting the importance of matching resources to mandates. Mandated missions must have adequate funds and other necessary resources including troops that are appropriately prepared. Just last Friday; we convened an informative meeting of the Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations to discuss the issue of Troop and Police Preparedness.

We recognize the steps taken by African leaders at the Malabo Summit of last month, as well as steps by the African Union Commission to operationalize the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis (ACIRC). The East African Community aims to have full operationalization of its Standby Force by December 2014, and we commend the EAC for a remarkable achievement and its efforts to generate the required contributions. We invite all regional and subregional organizations to accelerate the establishment of such Standby Arrangement Systems.

I believe today’s resolution will help us address many of these challenges as we forge ahead, including how organizations will pool their resources together and allocate roles and responsibilities and how we can streamline coordination processes and frameworks. It lays out measurable requests and recommendations that can provide benchmarks for progress and evaluation; including in the political, operational, and financial perspectives.

On a larger, more long-term scale, the resolution requests the Secretary General, in close consultation with the AU Commission and the European Union, to produce no later than 31 March 2015, an assessment report and recommendations on the progress of the partnerships between the UN and relevant regional organizations in peacekeeping operations.

On financial cooperation and support, the resolution recognizes that one major constraint facing some regional organizations, in particular the AU, in effectively carrying out the mandate of maintaining regional peace and security is securing predictable, sustainable and flexible resources. Rwanda therefore welcomes the steps taken by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to generate resources from within AU Member States, in support of peace support operations, but we also urge external partners to seriously consider the capacity in which they can assist regional organizations in this context. In particular, consideration should be given to the findings within the 2008 Joint AU-UN Report on AU Peacekeeping Operations otherwise known as the Prodi report, which established that a peace support operation that is to be transferred eventually to the UN should be sponsored by the UN from the beginning via assessed contributions for six months before being handed over to the UN. We thank all our partners especially the United States for their valuable support.

This would truly limit ad hoc funding and unpredictable resource capacity. The AU is currently very active in peacekeeping operations that are mandated by the UN Security Council and which have transitioned or are in the process of transitioning to UN peacekeeping operations.

Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates,

Colleagues and friends,

Today is another step toward better structuring and elaborating upon the burden-sharing needs among African states, regional and subregional organizations, and partners including the AU, the EU and the UN. Today’s resolution and discussion displays the resolve of the international community to establish more predictable frameworks and working relationships when it comes to integrated peacekeeping operations. We must help each other to build up our unique abilities so that together we can forge a collective security system for a safer, more secure world.

I thank you.

 

 

UN Security Council Press statement on the humanitarian situation in South Sudan

The members of the Security Council expressed grave concern about the catastrophic food insecurity situation in South Sudan that is now the worst in the world.  They further expressed deep alarm that the crisis in South Sudan may soon reach the threshold of famine as a result of continued conflict, civilian targeting and displacement.

The members of the Security Council urged all United Nations Member States, who together pledged more than $618 million in new funding for both South Sudan and the region in May at the Humanitarian Pledging Conference in Oslo, to swiftly fulfil those pledges and to increase their commitments.  They stressed that these funds are critically needed now to provide life-saving assistance in view of the increasingly dire humanitarian situation in South Sudan.

The members of the Security Council called upon on all parties to respect and protect civilian populations; to refrain from any acts of violence directed against civilians, in particular women and children; to expedite safe and unhindered humanitarian access for the timely and full delivery of humanitarian aid to all civilians in urgent need of assistance in accordance with relevant provisions of international law, including international humanitarian law, and with the United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian assistance; and to fully respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

UN Security Council Press statement on South Sudan

The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the series of attacks launched on 20 July by armed youth and opposition forces, and the 23 July attacks by Government of South Sudan forces, as they fight for control of Nassir Town, Upper Nile State in South Sudan.

The members of the Security Council expressed deep regret at the lack of progress towards peace and reconciliation in South Sudan.  They reiterated their full support for the mediation efforts of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and urged all parties in South Sudan to immediately cease hostilities in accordance with the signed cessation of hostilities agreements, and to resume comprehensive and inclusive peace talks.  The members of the Security Council welcomed the IGAD announcement that peace talks would resume on 30 July and reminded the parties of their 10 June commitment to reach agreement on the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity within 60 days.

The members of the Security Council underscored that attacks against civilians and United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime.  The members of the Security Council extended their condolences to the families of those civilians injured and killed in these attacks, and to the people of South Sudan who deserve the opportunity to live in peace.

They stressed that those responsible for human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law must be brought to justice and that the fight against impunity is a fundamental element of reconciliation.  In this regard, the members of the Security Council welcomed the release of the interim report of the African Union Commission of Inquiry and reiterated their full support for the Commission’s work.  The members of the Security Council also expressed alarm regarding reports that both parties were recruiting children.

The members of the Security Council welcomed the 23 July appointment of Ellen Margrethe Løj of Denmark as the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS).

The members of the Security Council underscored their full support for UNMISS peacekeepers and commended the actions of the UNMISS contingents and IGAD monitoring and verification teams in Nassir as they fulfiltheir respective mandates.

UN Security Council press statement on the situation in Central African Republic

The members of the Security Council welcomed the signing of a cessation of hostilities and violence agreement between armed groups in the Central African Republic during the Central African National Reconciliation Forum held in Brazzaville on 23 July 2014.  They called on all parties to immediately and fully implement this agreement.

The members of the Security Council applauded the efforts led by the Mediator of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), President Denis Sassou Nguesso, and its Chairperson, with the support of the United Nations and the African Union, to broker this cessation of hostilities and violence agreement between the parties.  The members of the Security Council commended Transitional Head of State Catherine Samba-Panza’s active involvement throughout this process to foster this agreement.

The members of the Security Council underlined that this agreement is a first step in a wider political process in the Central African Republic of ensuring durable peace, respect for human rights, protection of civilians and the rule of law.  They stressed the need to address the underlying causes of the conflict through an inclusive and comprehensive political dialogue and national reconciliation process, efforts to fight impunity, formulation of a disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation strategy, including children formerly associated with armed forces and groups, and the rebuilding of effective State institutions.  The members of the Security Council underlined in this regard the paramount importance of preserving the unity and territorial integrity of the Central African Republic.

The members of the Security Council further commended the commitment of the Transitional Head of State Catherine Samba-Panza to a political process that should ensure a successful transition.  The members of the Security Council reiterated their call to the Transitional Authorities to accelerate, with the support of the United Nations and other partners, all necessary preparations in order to hold free, fair, transparent and inclusive presidential and legislative elections, with the full and effective participation of women at all levels and at an early stage as well as the participation of Central African Republic internally displaced persons and refugees.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their appreciation for the decisive actions, commitment and sacrifice of African Union, French and European Union troops in implementing their mandates to protect civilians in the Central African Republic.  They further encouraged the United Nations Secretariat to take all necessary steps to ensure that the transfer of authority from the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA) to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) on 15 September translates into a significantly enhanced international military presence in the Central African Republic in order to implement the priority tasks of its mandate as defined in Security Council resolution 2149 (2014).