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Africa’s conflicts: Global efforts could spell end

Global efforts could spell end to Africa’s conflicts, Security Council is told

International strategies for conflict resolution in Africa such as those put forward by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan take into account the many dimensions of the violent crises shaking the continent and could pave the way for their resolution, the President of the Republic of Congo, as chairman of the African Union (AU), told the Security Council today.

Scenarios have been developed for ending such African conflicts as those in Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sudan’s Darfur region, thanks to the international community’s road maps and timetables, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso said in his briefing to the Council. The Republic of Congo currently holds the Council’s rotating presidency.

The stabilizing actions undertaken by the Council, and its partnership with the AU, were to be welcomed and encouraged, particularly since today’s meeting was taking place on the eve of the Council’s mission to Africa next week.

The mission will leave New York on 4 June, heading first to Khartoum for meetings with the leaders of Sudan, for which an expanded UN peacekeeping mission has been proposed to take over from the AU’s African Mission in Sudan (AMIS). Then from 11 to 12 June, the Council will visit the DRC to encourage the transitional authorities there to intensify their efforts to guarantee the democratic character of the presidential and legislative elections now scheduled for 30 July.

In the case of Darfur, Mr. Sassou-Nguesso said, there was a framework for a transition towards a UN peacekeeping operation, with a strong African component, following the accord reached in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on 5 May. Some post-conflict situations needed sustained international support to prevent a relapse into conflict, he added.

Most of Africa’s current conflicts were not new, including the tragic case of Somalia, the situation over the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the crisis in northern Uganda and the Western Sahara dispute, he said.

These had lasted either because they had not been appropriately dealt with or because of a lack of mutual commitment or confidence on the part of the main protagonists, he said.

On the other hand, conflicts that had been among the fiercest on the continent had now been settled in an encouraging way. The Angolan civil war was “just a bad memory,” as were the crises in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and, more recently, Burundi, Mr. Sassou-Nguesso said.

The several resolutions adopted by the Council in 1998 continued to be relevant, stressing as they did the close links between international peace and security and sustainable development, on the one hand, and the necessity for the international community to confront the illicit flow of weapons to and within Africa, which has affected not only security, but also social and economic development, he said.

A fortunate coincidence had placed Congo, as Chair of the AU this year, in a position to play its own modest part at the Council’s side as it undertook its initiatives in Africa. Harmonizing the actions of the two bodies required efficiency and credibility and justified the regular consultations between them, he said.

Mr. Sassou-Nguesso said Africa could now see possibilities for a brighter economic future, where the indicators seemed to show a considerable movement towards consolidating and establishing longer-lasting growth.

Africa was going in the right direction, even if that movement was not following a straight line and often remained fragile, he said.

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