Statement Delivered by Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Africa, at the United Nations Security Council Debate on Peace and security in Africa, 18 March 2009.

Mr. President,

We thank you for allowing us to participate and share our views on an important issue of strengthening the relationship between the United Nations (UN) and regional organizations , in particular the African Union (AU) at today's open meeting. I also take this opportunity to congratulate you, Mr. President, on the assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of March. My delegation is also grateful to the Secretary-General for his statement and participation in this meeting.

Our appreciation also goes to Mr. Romano Prodi, the Chairperson of the AU-UN Panel for introducing the report of the Panel and hope that you would continue to accompany this process to its logical conclusion.

Mr. President,

Today, the need to strengthen and enhance the relationship between the UN and regional organizations remains important more than ever before. The reason is because we are seeing an increased reliance on regional organisations in addressing and resolving some of the conflicts facing us.

We are encouraged to note that over the years, the cooperation between the UN and the AU Union has improved. Recent partnership between the UN and the AU in the deployment of the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is testimony to the fact that UN cooperation and partnership with regional organisations is crucial.

In addition, we commend the decision of the UN Security Council to adopt its resolution approving the proposals to strengthen and provide support to the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). We hope this positive development will lead to a greater and more systematic cooperation and partnership.

Mr. President,

Notwithstanding the need for enhanced cooperation and partnership between the UN and regional organisations, this cooperation does not seek to absolve the Security Council of its Charter mandated responsibility in the maintenance of international peace and security. In this context, the Security Council remains the main international body entrusted with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. South Africa believes strongly that we should coordinate our collective security efforts under the UN.

It is for this reason that, during its tenure as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, South Africa focused on this important question of the enhancement of the relationship between the UN and regional organisations, in particular the AU. These efforts resulted in the adoption of resolution 1809 (2008).

Among others, resolution 1809 (2008) recognized the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing regional organizations when they undertake peacekeeping under the UN authority. Furthermore, the said resolution welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish an AU-UN Panel to consider in-depth the modalities of how to support peacekeeping operation.

Mr. President,

South Africa welcomes the report of the AU-UN Panel on modalities to support AU peacekeeping operations (A/63/666– S/2008/813).

We also commend the tireless efforts of Mr. Romano Prodi, chairperson of the Panel and other members of the Panel in preparing this report. As noted in paragraph 4 of the report, the Panel consulted as widely as possible with the United Nations, the African Union and other relevant interlocutors.

Mr. President,

South Africa welcomes the bold recommendations contained in the report of the Panel. It should, however, be noted that these recommendations reflect work-in progress and do not provide conclusive answers on ensuring necessary, sustainable, and predictable resources for African peacekeeping operations undertaken by the African Union.

My delegation welcomes the panel’s recommendations in particular paragraph 90 of the report relating to the use of UN-assessed contribution. The issue of the funding of regional peacekeeping operations remains central to enhancing and streamlining the relationship between the UN and the AU. We believe that this recommendation is the first important step towards addressing the most important constraint that limits Africa’s capacity to resolve conflicts on our continent.

Mr. President,

On its part, the AU remains committed to resolving African conflicts. The operationalisation of the AU Peace and Security Council and the continental early warning systems, post-conflict reconstruction and development, the Panel of the Wise and the African standby force are clear indications of this resolve and the basic framework for addressing peace and security on the continent.

This commitment is not matched by the resources as its disposal. For its part, the United Nations, in particular the Security Council should augment its efforts in a concrete manner.

Mr. President,

The issue of capacity building is equally important. My delegation concurs with the argument raised by the Panel on the importance of enhancing the institutional capacity of the AU. We believe any efforts aimed at improving this area, should build on existing mechanisms.

In this context, we commend ongoing efforts by various stakeholders aimed at providing support to the AU in this area of capacity building. In particular, my delegation would like to acknowledge the continuing pivotal role the European Union (through the new Africa Peace Facility) is playing in enhancing early response mechanism of the African-led mediation and peace support operations.

My delegation fully supports the panel’s view that its recommendations “are only an initial phase in a long-term process of developing and supporting AU on capacity”. In this regard, South Africa endorses the panel’s recommendation that “a joint UN/AU team should be established to examine the detailed modalities to support the recommendations made in the report”. We share the views of Mr. Lamamra, the Commissioner of Peace and security of the AU and thank him for being here.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, we are pleased that the Security Council will adopt a Presidential Statement (PRST) that contains language addressing common and mutual challenges and opportunities facing both the UN and AU. On its side, South Africa supports this statement but also ready to lend its support to the common endeavours aimed at further enhancing cooperation between the UN and regional organisations, in particular the AU. We hope the Secretary-General will continue his efforts in this direction.

I thank you.

For more information, contact Nomfanelo Kota on 082 459 3787

Issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs
P/Bag X152
Pretoria
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18 March 2009

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