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Foreign Affairs Expresses Continued Faith in United Nations as Coordinator of Collective Security

May 21, 2009

Department of Foreign Affairs

Government has reconfirmed its stance that international security measures must continue to be coordinated under the auspices of the United Nations. The minister of foreign affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, delivered a statement at the United Nations Security Council Debate on Peace and Security in Africa in New York. The debate focused on ways to enhance relations between the United Nations (UN) and regional organisations.

Dr Zuma declared that the relationship between the UN and regional organisations had to be strengthened as regional organisations were playing an ever-increasing role in dealing with conflicts.

The minister noted that the relationship between the UN and the African Union (AU) had improved. “The 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”, she said.

The minister acknowledged the important role played by the Security Council in maintaining international peace and security. She asserted that the South African government continued to believe that “we should coordinate our collective security efforts under the UN”.

The adoption of resolution 1809 in 2008 by the Security Council had introduced new measures to facilitate the financing of regional organisations during peacekeeping operations conducted under the authority of the UN. Financing would now be conducted in a more flexible, sustainable and predictable manner.

The resolution had also supported the secretary-general’s proposal “to establish an AU-UN Panel to consider in-depth the modalities of how to support peacekeeping operations.” The Panel had published a report setting out appropriate modalities to enhance peacekeeping operations.

The minister regarded the report’s recommendation on funding regional peacekeeping operations as key to augmenting the relationship between the UN and the AU. Better funding would enable the African continent to resolve its own conflicts.

According to the minister, Africa had made considerable progress in establishing a sound infrastructure capable of resolving African conflicts. Such developments included the AU Peace and Security Council, the continental early warning systems, the Panel of the Wise and the African standby force. Additional resources were necessary to ensure that the existing infrastructure could operate at an optimal level.

The minister also supported the Panel’s argument that the institutional capacity of the AU had to be boosted. She noted the important role played by the European Union in strengthening the early response mechanisms of African-led peacekeeping operations.

The panel had recommended that a joint UN/AU team be established to “examine the detailed modalities to support the recommendations made in the report”.