Peace and Security in Africa: a backdrop of progress [fr]
Peace and Security in Africa - Security Council - Intervention of François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Wednesday 19 July 2017
I would like to begin by thanking you, Mr. President, for having organized this very timely debate. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General and the Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, Mr. Smail Chergui, for their briefings and for their personal commitment to fostering strong relations between their two organizations, which is a top priority for France. I would also like to warmly welcome the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Senegal, Mr. Mankeur Ndiaye.
I would like to highlight three points.
First of all, France warmly welcomes the firm commitment of African countries and organizations to the peace and security of the continent.
That commitment is evident in the participation of African States in peacekeeping operations, in which they have been among the top contributors of both military and police personnel. Indeed, some African States have taken the decision to increase their participation, and France welcomes their initiative.
The African commitment to peace and security on the continent is also reflected in the operations under the auspices of the African Union. That is definitely the case for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Multinational Joint Task Force fighting Boko Haram today, but we have also seen, in past years, the African-led International Support Mission in Mali and the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic. In the Gulf of Guinea, the countries of the Economic Community of West African States and the Economic Community of Central African States have joined forces to combat the resurgence of maritime piracy. For the continent as a whole, the operationalization of the African Standby Force is a positive development that provides significant opportunities.
Today it is the countries of the Group of Five (G-5) for the Sahel that are showing their willingness to be fully engaged in the fight against terrorist groups that destabilize the region. That strong commitment is to be welcomed and encouraged, and is the goal of resolution 2359 (2017), adopted by the Council on 21 June.
Secondly, against that backdrop of progress, France fully supports the African continent’s commitment to peace and security.
The Ten-Year Capacity Building Programme for the African Union reflects Africa’s commitment, which France fully supports.
At the bilateral level, France is one of the leading partners of African countries on issues of peace and security. In that connection, France has contributed to the training of more than 25,000 African soldiers per year, officers and soldiers, in 11 African countries. Those courses cover more than 57 different themes, including peacekeeping, management training, logistics, demining and maritime security. They are priority courses offered through a network of 14 national schools with a regional focus, but also in officer schools in France.
France also collaborates at the operational level with a view to implementing partnership agreements. France thereby supports our African partners in peace operations and contributes to such operations by providing training, but also by equipping African contingents and supporting their operational deployment. In the Sahel, French forces of Operation Barkhane are fighting alongside the African and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali forces for the stability of the region. In the Gulf of Guinea, in the framework of Operation Corymbe, France supports the maritime security efforts of the countries of the region.
Those efforts are intended to be carried out in synergy with those being deployed by international organizations, in particular the European Union. In Mali, the Niger, the Central African Republic and Somalia, the European Union is committed to strengthening African peace and security capacities through its European Union Military Training Mission in the Central African Republic and European Union Capacity Building Mission in Mali operations. The European Union is also a major contributor to the financing of African operations, such as AMISOM, the Multinational Joint Task Force for the fight against Boko Haram, and the G-5 Sahel Joint Force.
That support also includes promoting an integrated approach to the stabilization and fostering sustainable peace. In that connection, on 13 July, France, Germany and the European Union launched the Alliance for the Sahel, which promotes an integrated approach to the region — focusing initially on security and stabilization and then on medium- and long-term development.
Drawing on that experience, France calls on the international community to maintain and bolster its support for the continent.
Thirdly, the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union — which France firmly believes must be strengthened — is now more than ever a way to ensure African capacity-building in the area of peace and security.
Over the past few months, there has been growing momentum in pursuit of enhancing the existing cooperation between the two organizations. In that respect, I welcome the Secretary-General’s personal commitment to that process, particularly through the partnership framework that he signed with the African Union in April.
That momentum is necessary in a context where African peace operations can have real comparative advantages over those of the United Nations when they contribute to the goals of the Charter of the United Nations and build on its provisions. The reports of the Secretary-General (S/2017/454) and the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union submitted in accordance with resolution 2320 (2016) have provided useful information on the progress that has been made and the objectives still to be achieved. Their proposals on mechanisms for deploying and financing African peace operations deserve close, constructive and collective examination from the perspective of current reciprocal commitments.
In that context, we welcome the African Union’s commitments, both with regard to covering 25 per cent of the cost of its operations and related aspects, such as their planning and conduct, and with regard to training and supervision, including through mechanisms for accountability and respect for human rights on the part of the forces concerned.
A strengthened, dynamic dialogue will enable us to make structural improvements to our common response efforts. Next September’s consultations in Addis Ababa between the Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union will be an important phase in that regard.
The development of African peace capacities is a crucial factor for peace and stability on the continent and therefore a priority area for us. France will continue to play its full part in the efforts for security in Africa in a spirit of dynamic partnership.