19 May 2007 04:13

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  • Title: [SW News] (UN IIRIN/Africa News) UN Must "Reassert Itself" In African Peacekeeping
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  • Date :[Friday, April 28, 2000 5:12 PM EST ]

"...African countries largely possess the troops and the will to intervene, but not the means. Western countries, for their part, are still pursuing policies that primarily reflect their own needs and are reluctant to devote the requisite resources with the speed that the situation demands, if at all."  the authors of   " Peacekeeping in Africa: Capabilities and Culpabilities."


 

UN Must "Reassert Itself" In African Peacekeeping

Story Filed: Friday, April 28, 2000 5:12 PM EST

NEW YORK (UN Integrated Regional Information Network, April 28, 2000) - A new book analysing peacekeeping activities in Africa has stressed the need for the UN Security Council to "reassert itself" with regard to troop deployment.

The book, "Peacekeeping in Africa: Capabilities and Culpabilities" by Eric Berman and Katie Sams, reviews the effects of the increasing tendency by the international community to rely on African regional and sub-regional organisations in the promotion of peace and security on the continent.

The authors, sponsored jointly by the UN Institute for Disarmament (UNIDR) and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), conclude that African and Western efforts to develop African peacekeeping capabilities provide a "basis on which to build, but the United Nations Security Council must also reassert itself in peacekeeping on the continent."

The authors provide stark evidence of the UN Security Council's reluctance to become involved in conflicts in Africa since 1993, the time of the UN's mission in Somalia. In 1993, UN peacekeeping forces numbered almost 40,000 in Africa. By June 1999, they had dwindled to less than 1,600. Between 1989 and 1993, the Security Council authorised 10 UN peacekeeping operations throughout Africa, but only five were established over the following five years.

"The study's sobering conclusion is that present-day policies and programmes are insufficient to respond meaningfully to current and emerging threats to African peace and security," UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan commented.

In the words of the authors: "African countries largely possess the troops and the will to intervene, but not the means. Western countries, for their part, are still pursuing policies that primarily reflect their own needs and are reluctant to devote the requisite resources with the speed that the situation demands, if at all."

In addition to contributing to staff costs within African organisations Western states should, the authors say, more freely share data and analyses on African conflict areas with the UN and regional organisations, as evidenced in Sierra Leone where the UK provided the Economic Community of West African States Peace Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) with intelligence and detailed maps.

Recommendations for African states include placing greater emphasis on staffing the secretariats of their regional organisations and the need to place African multilateral military interventions firmly under civilian control. The Security Council, for its part, should review its practice of authorising small military observer missions to serve alongside regional peacekeeping missions and should consider deploying specialised UN contingents to serve within regional peacekeeping forces.

"The deployment of UN military observers to complement non-UN peacekeeping forces is more likely to create new tensions than to serve either as a useful check and balance or a confidence building measure," the authors said. "The regional force feels that it is being unfairly scrutinised...small, largely ineffective observer forces provide the Council with a pretext that it is meaningfully engaged in a conflict when it is not."

This item is delivered by the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit (e-mail: irin@ocha.unon.org; fax: +254 2 622129; Web: http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN), but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.

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