Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC debate on the cooperation between the UN and the regional and subregional organizations (African Union)
We thank Gabon for organizing this debate and welcome your personal participation in this meeting.
We thank Secretary-General Guterres for his report, and we look forward to the statement by AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Fakhi-Mahamat.
Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organizations is an inalienable element of the present-day international agenda as a whole and the UNSC agenda in particular. We advocate for advancement of such cooperation on the basis of the Charter of the United Nations, first of all its Chapter VIII. Lately, we have seen greater eagerness and bigger opportunities for finding regional solutions to the emerging problems.
Today, the African Union and Africa’s sub-regional organizations, as well as ASEAN, SCO, CSTO and other regional associations act more confidently. This is a response to modern geopolitical reality with its emerging challenges, a true sign of strengthening the multipolar world order. This is movement in the right direction, because firstly, countries of the region are the main beneficiaries of peaceful solutions and secondly, they have better understanding of the developments and related specifics. But of course, activity of regional mechanisms should be compliant with the goals and principles of the UN Charter, and peaceful means of dispute settlement must always be prioritized.
Over the 20 years that have passed since the Organization of African Unity transformed into the African Union, this mechanism has indeed covered a long way in terms of forming the regional peace and security architecture. Today Africans are in possession of instruments for conflict prevention and settlement on the continent that take into account the local specifics and complement UN efforts within their respective mandate and area of responsibility. This increases Africa’s profile in the Security Council and in the UN at large. We give a very positive assessments to the outcomes of the engagement of the African troika in the Security Council who promote the interests of their neighbors on the continent.
We underscore the importance of the efforts undertaken by the African Union and sub-regional organizations in the area of dispute prevention and mediation. Unfortunately, we can recall numerous occasions when African mediation was either sidetracked or deliberately undermined by external actors. A vivid example of this was the situation when Western states blocked AU mediator efforts in Libya to use force instead. Those steps triggered a tragedy the implications of which are still reaching far beyond Libya’s borders. In this connection, we welcome that for the first time in ten years, a representative of Africa, Mr. Abdoulaye Bathily, was appointed UNSG’s Special Representative for Libya.
We regard the adopted roadmap for the implementation of the AU flagship initiative on silencing the guns in Africa that was prolonged until 2030 as a crucial undertaking. Another important thing is that the African Union needs to use the current momentum to boost its own independent mechanisms for partnership and cooperation – free from pressure, coercion, and blackmail on the part of external forces.
AU-UN dialogue has also received some steady dynamics. What matters is that this cooperation has a strategic nature today. The two organizations engage with each other within peace and security partnership frameworks and in implementing Agenda-2030 and Agenda-2063. They convene joint events annually via the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council. The next round of such meetings will be held in New York this week.
Yet despite these achievements, the situation on the African continent remains complicated. Security challenges and socio-economic problems have exacerbated, which adds to instability and leads to an increase in terrorist activities. There are many difficulties associated with state governance. We call on our friends to take an in-depth approach to these challenges while taking into account all factors and reasons, including in the historical context, as well as ethno-cultural peculiarities of concrete states. There is no point trying to cure the symptoms while the root cause of the existing problems are still there, by the way many of them can be tracked back to Africa’s colonial past.
What needs to be addressed first is the practice of illegal unilateral sanctions, political blackmail, and threats to stop the humanitarian and socio-economic assistance, which is widely used on the continent in violation of the UN Charter and with involvement of the Bretton Woods institutions.
The cynicism of such actions is obvious: restrictions affect civilians, prevent them from accessing basic necessity items, i.a. medications, vaccines, and food. What makes things more complicated is the fact that some African states have no political freedom in some fundamental aspects, including the security sector. It is high time we paid attention to this problem.
We consider it reasonable that African states raise the issue of the United Nations providing material and financial assistance to their efforts to maintain international peace and security. We look forward to having a shared African position on the issue of modalities of financing of African peacekeeping operations and using the AU Peace Fund for these purposes. We are ready for a constructive dialogue on this matter.
In this regard, we would like to emphasize that the key to the success of regional efforts is a shared understanding by the regional states of the existing threats and ways to overcome them, as well as the readiness to bear the risks associated with countering those threats, and to create a coherent and effective system of command and control. As for financing methods, no matter which of them may seem the most suitable, in all instances the initiating countries should always have enough room for their own rather than imposed political decisions when responding to the existing threats.
The growing terrorist threat in Africa requires specific attention. We are ready to share with our African partners our expertise in countering terrorism, implement capacity-building projects in order to facilitate combating terrorism and extremism on the continent.
In conclusion, we would like to reiterate our readiness to set forth equal cooperation with our African partners and our commitment to strengthening their potential. We keep paying increased attention to training of African personnel.
Joint engagement on the AU flagship initiative on silencing the guns in Africa until 2030 is stipulated in the Action Plan on Russian-AU cooperation for 2023-2025. As expected, this Action Plan will be adopted at the second Russia-Africa summit to be held in Saint Petersburg next summer.