To develop UN/UA partnership: a driver of strengthening the multilateralism [fr]
Silencing the guns in Africa
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 27 February 2019
I would first like to welcome the presence among us of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Equatorial Guinea and that of the State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.
Allow me to begin by thanking you, Mr. President, on behalf of France, for organizing this important debate, and to commend the excellent work carried out by Equatorial Guinea during its presidency of the Security Council in the month of February under the unanimously appreciated leadership of its Permanent Representative to the United Nations. I also wish to welcome the unanimous adoption of resolution 2457 (2019), submitted by Equatorial Guinea on behalf of the three African members of the Security Council and the African Union, which France co-sponsored, and to warmly thank Ms. DiCarlo, Mr. Lamamra and Mr. Gounden for their particularly enlightening briefings.
For France, the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union is of strategic importance today for the prevention and resolution of crises in Africa. The development of that partnership is in our view one of the main drivers of consolidating and strengthening the multilateralism that we all yearn for, so that supporting and strengthening the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union is one of France’s top priorities.
The strength of that partnership is as robust as it is promising. The past year has been testimony to the important results that have been achieved thanks to the joint initiatives of the United Nations and the African Union — initiatives driven by the exemplary collaboration between the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Without being exhaustive, I would mention in particular the recent signing of the peace agreement in the Central African Republic, the peaceful transition of power in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the signing of the peace agreement in South Sudan in September 2018 and the historic rapprochement under way in the Horn of Africa since the end of last June. Of course, these positive developments should not conceal the fact that crises and conflict situations remain on the continent. In that context, while the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union is of strategic importance to France, we also note the rise of African peace operations.
In line with what has already been said, in particular by Mr. Lamamra and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Equatorial Guinea, we fully support the initiative of the African Union for the sustainable and predictable financing of African peace operations, including mandatory contributions from the United Nations. President Emmanuel Macron recalled France’s resolute commitment in this area during the most recent general debate of the General Assembly (see A/73/PV.6) and, as the Council is aware, African peace operations are also a priority for the current French presidency of the Group of Seven.
African peace operations and the military response to crises on the continent are of course only part of the solution. To echo what has already been said by several speakers, in particular by the State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany a few minutes ago, we believe that a broader approach is essential both before and after crises. That is the goal of the Silencing the Guns by 2020 initiative, which was launched by the African Union and its member States and which we fully support. That is another area in which the partnership between the United Nations, the African Union and African subregional organizations is of major importance to us.
In the area of prevention, concrete results have been achieved, in particular in the Gambia, where the combined efforts of the United Nations, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States made it possible to prevent the post-electoral crisis from turning into a conflict, the victims of which would have been the country’s population. More recently, successful work was carried out by the African Union High Representative for Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020, Mr. Lamamra, in cooperation with the Southern African Development Community, the United Nations and the European Union in preventing a major crisis from arising during the organization of the presidential elections in Madagascar.
Finally, the African Union has adopted a number of instruments in recent years, notably the African Peer Review Mechanism, the Panel of the Wise and the Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation of the African Union. I would like to reiterate that the role of women in conflict prevention and resolution and their participation in political processes is an absolutely crucial factor in achieving lasting peace — that is certainly something that France is fighting for.
More broadly, all of the actions undertaken by the African Union and its member States to address the root causes of conflict are now key elements of long-term crisis prevention and avoiding the recurrence of crises. In that regard, we welcome the efforts undertaken by the African Union, its member States and African subregional organizations in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 of the African Union, as well as in launching the Continental Free Trade Area, developing the governance architecture of the African Union, promoting respect for human rights, investing in the education of the younger generations and implementing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change — we are all aware of the extremely serious threat to the continent posed by climate change. France wholeheartedly supports all of those priorities.
Lastly, let us not forget the importance of mobilizing efforts to combat the illicit arms trade in Africa, which continues to fuel conflict and exacerbate armed violence while aiding organized crime and terrorism. In this regard, we welcome efforts to universalize and fully implement all the relevant instruments, which should be a priority.
I would like to conclude by echoing the words of Léopold Sédar Senghor, who stated that there is no such thing as an armed peace, peace under oppression or fraternity without equality. Those words should guide us all in our resolute support to our African partners and friends in their goal of ending the crises on their continent. They can be assured of France’s unwavering commitment in that regard.