Russian foreign policy
Russian policy in Africa


Statement by Alexander Konuzin, Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at the UN Security Council Meeting on Cooperation Between the United Nations and the Central African Subregion, November 24, 2003


Mr. President,

Today's meeting is but one more proof of the serious interest taken by the world community in the early settlement of conflicts and the solution of the numerous problems on the African continent and of its striving to formulate an effective strategy to support peace and sustainable development in Africa.

The Russian Federation notes with satisfaction that over the recent period thanks to the efforts of primarily the Africans themselves and the international community, the United Nations, its Security Council and regional and sub-regional organizations there have been achieved tangible successes in solving conflicts and in stabilizing the situation in the Central African subregion. A systematic consolidation of peace is continuing in Angola. Life is returning to normal in the DRC. The peace process in Burundi is making progress. Measures to restore constitutional order are actively being carried out in the CAR.

At the same time serious risks and difficulties are still lingering in Central Africa. We note with satisfaction that the dangers listed in the report of the Interagency Situation Assessment Mission to the Central African Subregion do not differ from the threats about which we are talking in SC meetings. In other words, the situation review practically coincides, which creates conditions for multilateral and many-sided cooperation in neutralizing the aforesaid risks. But there's a different worry: the root causes of the present situation in Central Africa, namely poor governance, widespread poverty and the particularly high level of unemployment among the youth, have existed as the same root causes of instability for decades. We need to correct our approaches. To raise the question of not only the causes of the present situation, but also of why African states still encounter the same original causes of instability that attended their coming to independence more than forty years ago.

A second lesson. We need to listen more attentively to the Africans themselves; for a whole array of African countries, the report notes, would be ready to participate in consultations on the peace process in the DRC. They ask to be included among the full-fledged participants in the planned international conference for the Great Lakes area. Here the Africans should define themselves in the first place as to whether they, the neighbors, are going to live like good neighbors.

The third point. It is very important that international assistance to stabilization should bear a coordinated, purposeful and accountable character. The United Nations must play the central role; it would maintain the most active contacts with regional and sub-regional organizations. The functioning of the latter must bear an exclusively pragmatic character. Their existence is justified only when their activities bring real benefits. If they need help, they must be helped.

Fourth, it is worrying that some of the African states prefer to turn to the international community and the UN while not using in full measure their own national or regional resources. This, in our opinion, concerns the excessive request for the establishment of a United Nations office in Central Africa in addition to the UN structures already set up there. The same holds for applications to international commissions of inquiry to investigate human rights violations and breaches of international norms of humanitarian law or to structures involved in combating impunity. The Africans could more energetically use national, bilateral and regional possibilities, to which the report of the Interagency Mission points directly. We agree with its opinion that the UN system could assist this. We consider that assistance should primarily be lent to those sharing the will to solve problems and readiness to use their own resources.

The Russian delegation supports the measures proposed by the UN Secretary General, aimed at strengthening the role of the United Nations in Central Africa, in particular, the recommendation for the appointment and the scope of competence of a Special Envoy of the Secretary General in the subregion. We presume that activities of the Special Envoy will be duly transparent for the Security Council, including by the inclusion of information on his work in the appropriate regular reports of the UN Secretary General.

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