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Security Council Focus On Regional Organizations

Security Council to focus on relationship with regional organizations this month

2 April 2008 - Strengthening the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations such as the African Union will be the focus of the programme of work at the Security Council this month, its current President told reporters today.

Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa, which holds the rotating presidency for April, said the 15 ambassadors in the Council will hold a historic meeting on 16 April with the 15 members of the AU's Peace and Security Council.

A day later, South African President Thabo Mbeki is scheduled to chair an open debate - to be attended by several heads of State - on the relationship between the AU and other regional groups and the UN, with a focus on current conflicts in Africa.

Mr. Kumalo said invitations had been sent to many heads of State, including Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Chadian President Idriss Déby, to attend the Council events. Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed have already confirmed their participation.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report released recently that it was time for regional organizations to play a greater role with the UN in conflict prevention, management and resolution.

Mr. Ban has proposed the formation of an AU-UN panel within the next three months to consider how to support peacekeeping operations undertaken by regional organizations, especially with regard to start-up funding, equipment and logistics.

Mr. Kumalo said the Council was also likely to take up, among others, the issues of Western Sahara, Lebanon, Kosovo, Somalia, Cyprus, Myanmar and small arms this month.

ENDS

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