Security Council Press Statement on the activities of UNOWA and statement by Ambassador Wittig

Jul 9, 2011

(near verbatim transcript of stake-out by Ambassador Wittig, 9 July 2011)


I read to you a statement of the Security Council on the activities of the UN Office for West Africa:

The members of the Security Council take note of the report of the Secretary General on the activities of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) dated 24 June, 2011 (S/2011/388).


The members of the Security Council noted with satisfaction the significant progress made towards greater stability and peace in West Africa. They welcomed the positive developments in the areas of post-conflict recovery and peacebuilding, in particular the end of transition processes in Guinea and Niger and the end of the post-electoral crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, as well as improvements in governance and the rule of law.


The members of the Security Council welcomed the significant efforts of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in addressing unconstitutional changes of government and consolidating democratic practices and institutions, particularly through security sector reform, the promotion of human rights and the enhancement of the contribution of women in conflict prevention and resolution, consistent with relevant Security Council resolutions and decisions.  


The members of the Security Council recognized and commended the important contributions made by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, Mr. Said Djinnit and UNOWA to regional and sub-regional conflict prevention and peace-building efforts. They welcomed UNOWA’s achievements in mediation and good offices, in raising awareness about cross-border threats to security, in developing partnerships with regional and sub-regional organizations and in mobilizing and fostering complementarity in UN action to address these threats, including through the West African Coast Initiative (WACI).


The members of the Security Council expressed their concern that the progress remains fragile, in view of recurrent threats to peace and security, in the sub-region including terrorism and transnational organized crime including illicit drug trafficking, as well as election-related violence. 


The Security Council stressed the importance of strengthening trans-regional and international cooperation on the basis of a common and shared responsibility to counter the world drug problem and related criminal activities, and in support of relevant national, sub-regional and regional organizations and mechanisms, including with the view to strengthening the rule of law.


The members of the Security Council encouraged the continued engagement of the international community to ensure that progress made in preventing conflict and consolidating democracy in West Africa is sustained. They encouraged UNOWA to continue to promote and strengthen a regional and integrated approach to issues in West Africa, including those which have a cross-border dimension, in particular in the areas of terrorist threats in the Sahel band, security sector reform, transnational organized crime including illicit drug trafficking, the promotion of good governance, elections and stability, human rights and implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325. They also reaffirmed continued support to UNOWA within existing resources. They further support closer cooperation between the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and UNOWA and in particular, stress the role that UNOWA can play to accompany and follow the efforts of the PBC in Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone.


In this regard, the members of the Security Council welcomed the adoption of the Praia Declaration on Elections and Stability in West Africa, which was endorsed during the regional conference held in Praia, Cape Verde, from 18 to 20 May and encouraged all relevant actors in the sub-region, in particular ECOWAS, its Member States and civil society, to follow up on its recommendations.


The members of the Security Council recalled UNOWA’s role in facilitating the implementation of the International Court of Justice ruling of 10 October 2002 and the Greentree Agreement of June 2006 on the land and maritime boundary dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria, and encouraged UNOWA to pursue its efforts in that regard, including the ongoing implementation of confidence building measures. The members of the Council commended Cameroon and Nigeria for the significant progress made thus far and encouraged them to expedite the completion of all tasks related to implementation of the Greentree agreement, with continuing support from the international community.

That’s the end of the press statement on UNOWA.


Q: [inaudible]

A: I think this completes my declaration on UNOWA and I would like to make a statement if I may, in my national capacity on Sudan and the decision that we took today.

First of all we commend and support the swift decision that we took today, on mandating a new mission in the south of Sudan. This is a strong signal of support to the new South Sudan.

On a national basis Germany will stand with South Sudan right from the beginning. The German Parliament took a decision today to mandate the participation of German military – up to 50 – in that new mission. That is a clear sign of support to the new UN mission and to South Sudan, and my foreign minister will be chairing the meeting that we will be having, the Council will have, on the 13th of July, most probably adopting a resolution on the membership of South Sudan to the United Nations and then presiding over debate on the future challenges and opportunities in Sudan and in the region.

But we should not forget that there is still a very serious situation in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile provinces. We call upon all parties to stop the violence, especially the violence against civilians and to implement the obligations according to the existing agreements.


Q: [inaudible]

A: You know that the Council agreed on a substantial size of this new mission, including 7.000 military, and the Council believes that this would pose a substantial contribution to the security challenges facing south Sudan. So, of course the Council remains seized of all the new developments that might occur, but the Council settled on a sizeable force and believes that this will help the necessities and the challenges of this new state of South Sudan.


Q: You mentioned South Kordofan. You know there still seems to be fighting on the eve of independence. What’s the role of UNMIS – with one S – in terms of winding itself up? How soon will it leave, are there discussions between the Security Council and Sudan and some presence there, and is there going to be a resolution winding up UNMIS that might provide for some transitional UN presence in Blue Nile and South Kordofan?

A: You know that this was not the subject of today’s considerations and the adoption of today’s resolution. As I said, we will follow closely the events in Sudan and be seized of the matter. As I also said, there will be an opportunity to discuss all the security challenges during debate we will be having on the 13th of July.

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