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UN Radio: Annan Urges African Leaders to Take the Lead in Ending Conflicts

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  • Annan Urges African Leaders to Take the Lead in Ending Conflicts

    Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged African leaders to take the lead in working to end conflicts on the continent. The Secretary-General told a summit of the African Union in Mozambique that while the United Nations and the international community can urge negotiations and spend billions of dollars on peacekeeping missions, none of this will solve conflicts if the political will and capacity do not exist in Africa. Mr. Annan said that is why the African Union and its members must work for an integrated strategy of peaceful settlements.

    "Lasting peace is far more than the absence of war. It is sustainable only if accompanied by democratic transformation and good governance. We know that democratic countries usually do not declare war on each other. The more we expand the number of countries built on democracy, the greater our chances for sustainable peace in the region as a whole.

    The Secretary-General said it was his hope that the leaders would move to convince the youth of the continent that the lives and safety of their fellow Africans are sacrosanct.

    Aid Workers Struggling to Meet the Needs of Liberians – OCHA

    Despite the relative calm stemming from the ceasefire in Monrovia, aid workers are struggling to meet the needs of Liberians. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says humanitarian agencies in the Liberian capital Monrovia are constrained by an uncertain security environment coupled with shortages of both staff and supplies. The UN office says Monrovia's civilians, including roughly 200-thousand internally displaced persons sheltering in more than 80 locations around the city, are faced with a high rate of crime, shortages of food, clean drinking water, health care and sanitation. It says that a breakdown in law and order and the threat of renewed hostilities prevent internally displaced persons from foraging for food in the bush.

    Poverty, Poor Governance Blamed for Instability in West Africa

    The reasons for instability in West Africa are many, including poverty, poor standards of governance and irresponsible leadership in certain countries. That assessment comes in a report from a Security Council mission to West Africa that returned earlier this week. The head of the mission, Britain's ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock, also cited illegal exploitation of natural resources and cross-border flows of small arms and mercenaries. He said the sub-regional problems are huge.

    "We saw considerable resolve amongst governments and in ECOWAS to tackle these problems but their ability to do so is undoubtedly constrained by the shortage of resources and the international community, in the view of the mission has to do better at helping them."

    Ambassador Greenstock warned that the international community could not ask West Africa to take the lead in sorting out its own problems and then expect them to pay for it all.

    UN Urges International Donors to Boost Aid to Afghanistan

    A senior United Nations official has warned that international donors would have to more than double their pledges of aid to Afghanistan, if the country is to recover from over two decades of warfare. UN Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, Nigel Fisher, said "unless there's a real influx of funds," the government won't be able to pay its salaries in August. Mr. Fisher said funds have been slow to come in since donors pledged US$4.6 billion to rebuild Afghanistan over five years at a conference in Tokyo in January 2002. So far, only $2 billion has been distributed.

    Security Council Members Condemn Rebel Offensive on Bujumbura

    Members of the Security Council have expressed deep concern over the latest resumption of hostilities and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Burundi. They've strongly condemned the offensive launched on the capital Bujumbura by the rebel faction Palipehutu-FNL. In a statement Thursday, members of the Council called upon the rebels "to put an immediate and unconditional end" to the offensive and "enter into serious negotiations with the Transitional government without further delay."
    Council President is Ambassador Inocencio Arias of Spain.

    "Members of the Security Council urged states in the region to exert their positive influence on the Burundian rebel groups so that they cease resorting to violence and join fully the Arusha agreement peace process."

    They also condemned an attack on a cantonment site and the earlier abduction of four members of the Burundian parliament.

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