I express our honor in seeing you presiding over the work of the Security
Council as we consider today a very important question, that of recent
developments in West Africa. I also would like to welcome the participation of
the Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of
Ghana and current Chairman of the ECOWAS, Mr. Nana Akufo-Addo, as well as of
other speakers. I thank all of them for their valuable statements
Security Council has before it a comprehensive report (S/2004/200) presented by
the Secretary-General. We appreciate the fact that the Council has been
frequently seized of the situation in West Africa – and this does not
necessarily mean that the situation on the ground is deteriorating, quite the
contrary, although the latest news on disturbances in Abidjan are certainly
Council has been looking more often into the matter because there is a growing
understanding of the importance of a comprehensive regional approach to deal
with the consequences of long years of conflict and instability in the region.
the delegation of Brazil stated in January when we considered the progress
report on recommendations of the Security Council mission to West Africa, a
regional approach can be determinant to the solution of problems that affect
many countries in a similar way and require common and concerted efforts.
fully supports the recommendations made by the Secretary-General and his Special
Representative for West Africa. Concerted action among UN political and
peacekeeping missions and agencies, common border management and strengthening
of arms control institutions are some of the urgently needed initiatives that
the Council should endorse.
the support of the international community, ECOWAS has a fundamental role to
play in strengthening the 1998 moratorium on small arms in the region. We also
welcome the Secretary-General’s recommendation for a meeting of defense
ministers later this year, which should count with the full involvement of the
Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) has also been actively engaged
in promoting peace and stability in West Africa. Together with ECOWAS, the CPLP
has provided its good offices in Guinea Bissau after the events of September
2003, and has worked with the parties in order to ensure a peaceful solution to
the political crisis. We are looking forward to the holding of parliamentary
elections in Guinea Bissau on March 28th and expecting an orderly
transitional period in that country.
is the view of my delegation that the issue of development should be
particularly stressed. Combating subregional and cross border problems, such as
the use of child soldiers, the resort to mercenaries, the existence of flows of
refugees will not be successful in the long term if enough emphasis is not
placed on development.
program for sustained development has to be set up pari passu with
DDR programmes. The Secretary-General has stated that “to address the needs of
the communities receiving demobilized soldiers,/ disarmament, demobilization and
reintegration should be accompanied by community development programmes.” We
certainly agree. However concrete recommendations on how to deal with this
aspect of peace-building are yet to be presented.
have consistently advocated a greater involvement of ECOSOC in this process.
Alongside measures to regulate the exploitation of natural resources in the
region and to favour fair trade of African commodities, the UN and its agencies
should be capable of designing focused development strategies to enable
post-conflict communities to resume growth and generate employment and
entrepreneurship. It is the only way to respond to the social needs of
populations on a sustainable manner. In the long run, the lack of economic
activity for the adult population and of schooling for children is likely to
contribute to further conflict in the region.
is an additional reason why the UN has a responsibility to maintain its presence
in post-conflict areas. UN peace-keeping operations need to have an exit
strategy, but we believe that an effective exit strategy is not only downsizing
the military presence – it necessarily includes many other dimensions, among
them the launching of a consistent social and economic regional development
is not enough to create a stable security environment and hold national
elections; the international community has also to shoulder Government’s
efforts to consolidate peace and promote national recovery, tackling properly
the root causes of conflict. Otherwise, the achievements reached will remain
fragile and even elusive.
last word, on disseminating the right ideas. We consider that the role to be
played by the media in supporting sustainable peace efforts cannot be belittled.
The public information structure of this Organization, in particular the
information centers existing in the region should be actively working with local
radio stations to raise awareness to the bitter consequences of conflict and
alternatives to it. We consider this of particular importance in the case of
West Africa, in view of the cross-border dimension of conflicts in the region.
you very much.