My delegation is particularly grateful to you for convening this important meeting. In West Africa many States are suffering the consequences of long years of conflict and instability – an issue that has been demanding the Council’s continued attention. Today, we have before us a comprehensive progressive report by the Secretary-General that provides proposals as to the ways of implementing the recommendations of the Security Council, following its mission to West Africa last June. We are grateful to ASG Kalomoh for introducing the report and to Ambassador Jones Parry for his comments.
As seen in the report, in Sierra Leone UNAMSIL has been carrying out a successful multidimensional work and it will continue to do so through local elections in May and throughout the year. Careful consideration should be given to the drawdown of the mission, its pace depending on how efficiently security forces build up in the country. UNAMSIL is also helping consolidate government control over the diamond-mining areas and formulating a national resource policy. This is a crucial element of a sustained peace. Brazil is chairing the Sanctions Committee on Sierra Leone this year and we intend to find means of reflecting emerging realities made possible by the peace process. The need for a remaining UN presence in Sierra Leone will have to be examined in due time.
In Liberia, the DDRR action plan has been completed for tens of thousands combatants, many of them children, and the deployment of UNMIL in October 2003 has improved security in the country. Violations of human rights are being documented and the implementation of a human rights declaration is expected. We welcome these developments and look forward to further UN action in that country.
In Côte d’Ivoire, by the time this report was issued, progress was being threatened by the stand-off between the Government and the Forces Nouvelles. Fortunately, the most recent accomplishments in the political process are encouraging, as stated by ASG Kalomoh. This Council has the responsibility of not letting the momentum be lost and urgently approving the establishment of the full-fledged peacekeeping operation under its consideration.
Last but not least, the case of Guinea-Bissau is very close to our heart and mind. In addition to Brazil’s traditional ties with Africa, Guinea-Bissau is one of the eight members of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, CPLP. We fully agree with the Secretary General’s assessment that – and I quote – “it is essential that, as called for by the Security Council, the international community remain fully engaged with Guinea-Bissau, including by providing urgent financial and other support to help the authorities follow through on their new commitments” – end of quote. We welcome the positive steps taken recently by the new civilian authorities, in particular the announcement by the President of the date of 28 March 2004 for parliamentary elections.
We take this opportunity to commend the work of the ECOSOC Advisory Group on Guinea Bissau and the Security Council Working Group in Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, very effectively chaired by another CPLP member, Angola. These have proved to be very dynamic tools designed to promote mobilization of the international community, including international financial institutions, and dialogue with national authorities within the UN framework. Guinea-Bissau is emerging as a remarkable example of cooperation between the Security Council and the ECOSOC in dealing with post-conflict situations. And other countries of the region could benefit from this kind of coordinated, multidimensional approach.
The situation in West African countries is being subject to individual consideration by the Security Council. This meeting gives us an opportunity to assess the situation by means of a regional comprehensive approach. While it is clear that the Council must give individual and specific attention to each situation under its review, it is also evident that a regional approach can contribute to the solution of problems that affect, in a similar way, all the countries of the region and which may require common and concerted solutions.
As indicated in the report, there are a number of interrelated cross-border problems underlying conflict and instability in the sub-region, such as the use of child soldiers, the resort to mercenaries, the existence of flows of refugees, the repatriation of ex-combatants, the proliferation of small arms, the need to strengthen the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes. All countries in West Africa can benefit from a concerted effort to tackle their problems. We are looking forward to the upcoming recommendations on practical ways of addressing cross-border issues, announced by the Secretary-General in the present report.
The revitalization of the Mano River Union is also a very positive step towards subregional stability and we have seen how the early involvement of ECOWAS was crucial to contain the extension of humanitarian calamities in the region. Full cooperation among countries and their cooperation with the United Nations are essential in consolidating the progress that has been made in every peace process undertaken, as well as in drawing up an effective strategy to deal with those cross-border issues. And so is the cooperation between UN agencies and missions in the region. To that end meetings are being held and they reflect the usefulness of cooperation arrangements with the United Nations Office for West Africa, as stressed in the report.
We are pleased that the Community of the Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) is also playing a part in the promotion of peace and stability in West Africa. Together with ECOWAS, the CPLP has provided its good offices in Guinea Bissau, after the events of 14 September 2003, and has worked with the parties in order to ensure a peaceful and constructive solution to the political crisis. Creating conditions for the holding of parliamentary elections and for an orderly transitional period in the country is at the center of our efforts at the present stage. We believe that much better conditions for economic and social development in Guinea Bissau are now given. We believe also that the time is coming for the international community to expand its commitments to that end.
Addressing the root causes of conflict is indeed a matter of utmost concern, without which no sustainable peace and stability can be achieved. My Government has consistently advocated the importance of Africa’s own initiatives and ownership, as well as of the partnership between Africa and the international community. NEPAD is an African-born initiative based on a profound understanding of the daily realities of the continent. We are very confident that this initiative will contribute for the creation of a virtuous circle of socio-political inclusion, development and peace in Africa. As one listens to USG Ibrahim Gambari, one will also hear encouraging comments regarding Africa. In his words, “winds of change” are blowing over the continent as illustrated by several conflicts having been resolved or on the right path to conciliation. We are, of course, stimulated by those views and convinced that bilateral and international support is crucial. In this connection, my delegation agrees with the remarks made this morning by Ambassador Adechi, of Benin, to the effect that at this stage further efforts of coordination between the Security Council and ECOSOC are required.
During his recent visit to several African countries in November, President Lula da Silva has stated that “developing countries should play a new role, more affirmative and result-oriented. Those that have the capacities can, and should, promote compassionate policies in favor of those nations most in need, exploring all possibilities of cooperation”. President Lula has also recalled the importance of cooperation among developing countries and has affirmed our willingness to foster partnerships in the areas of capacity building and development of technologies compatible with the specific needs of African countries. We are also assessing means to improve the access of African products to our market, in accordance with WTO rules.
My country is convinced that there will be no real political stability and economic prosperity in the world in the 21st Century if all countries cannot benefit from them. We should work with Africa to make this possible, not only by assisting countries to overcome their present difficulties, yet also by providing political conditions for effective recovery and sustainable development. Brazil is ready to make its best efforts as a genuine contribution to the stability and development of the region.
Thank you very much.