STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. KENZO OSHIMA
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF JAPAN
AT THE PUBLIC MEETING OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE UNITED NATIONS AND REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, IN PARTICULAR THE AFRICAN UNION, IN THE MAINTENANCE OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY

28 MARCH 2007

Thank you, Mr. President.

The Japanese delegation welcomes the timely holding of this important debate today, and expresses its appreciation to you, the delegation of South Africa for the initiative taken.

In many regions of the world, regional organizations strengthen their capabilities, including in the area of peace and security, and their relationships with the United Nations are entering a new stage of collaboration and cooperation, especially in Africa. Regional organizations obviously benefit from their closer knowledge of the region, and this allows them to play an essential role in influencing the prevention of conflicts and the resolution of problems.

And we have already burgeoning examples of developments in complementary cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations, notably in Africa. We are witnessing a growing body of practices where such a development in cooperation and partnership is contributing to an effective maintenance of international peace and security, in particular in the fields of conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. At the same time, it is clear that there is still much room for further thought and action if the international community is to fully realize the advantages to be derived from effective implementation of provisions envisaged in Chapter VIII of the Charter. The challenges now laid before the Security Council in, for example, Darfur and Somalia, in terms of how best the UN can support regional initiatives relevant to these conflicts, demonstrate the importance of addressing this matter with some urgency.

Mr. President,

The efforts employed by African states for developing the increasingly vibrant and action-oriented organization, the African Union, and the other sub-regional organizations merit our praise and support. In Africa, the African Union and a host of sub-regional organizations have come to play crucial roles in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding in recent years. Africa is unquestionably at the forefront of the regional initiatives in these areas and should rightly be so. ECOWAS has played a vital role recently in conflict prevention in Guinea. The African Union has its AMIS mission deployed in Darfur and AMISOM peacekeeping mission is beginning to be deployed in Somalia. The African Union Task Force in Burundi is providing the necessary conditions for the peacebuilding activities in the country. These are but a few examples of the ongoing African regional initiatives and leadership through regional and sub-regional organizations, and we highly commend all such activities as a sign of accelerating African regional ownership.

On the other hand, the challenges facing Africa are complex and diverse. A matter of central importance in facing those challenges is to establish and strengthen interactive relationships between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations. While both the UN and the AU should tackle the immediate challenges by taking appropriate measures on a case-by-case basis, it would be worthwhile from a longer-term perspective to give careful study to such issues as the following:

1. What are the conditions and modalities for assisting African Union peace support missions?
2. How could the two organizations develop more effective cooperation in conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities?
3. How can the UN Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council best interact?
4. Is there any way to ensure effective use of the provisions in Chapter VIII of the Charter so that the interactive relationships are anchored firmly, backed by the broad support of the membership?

In this regard, the concept paper for this debate prepared by the Presidency provides a useful basis for further discussion, and we thank the delegation of South Africa for it. With respect to providing political, physical and financial assistance to AU peace support missions, we believe that the UN Security Council should make decisions on a case-by-case basis, based on all general principles governing UN peacekeeping operations and taking fully into account the independence and accountability of each organization.

Mr. President,

In addition to the aforementioned issues, which will require further discussion, measures to address the capacity-building of the AU and the sub-regional organizations, including enhancing the capacities of their respective Secretariats, require an urgent attention so as to assist them in their operations to deploy missions in the field.

In that connection, we commend the African Union for its efforts to establish the capability to operationalize the African Standby Force and to integrate NEPAD into the African Union. We also welcome the fact that, in consultation with the AU Secretariat, the Secretary-General and his team have been developing the "Framework for the Ten-Years Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union", which resulted in adopting last year the declaration between the two organs and the action plan for the UN assistance to AU peacekeeping capacity-building. Dialogue and coordination between the UN and the AU are essential, and we thus appreciate the very close daily communications and coordination efforts made between the two Secretariats. We encourage the continuation of such positive development.

Mr. President,

Japan has supported the efforts and activities of the African Union and of the other sub-regional organizations through a variety of measures including financial support, and is willing to increase its support further. Japan has been providing financial assistance to the African Union, ECOWAS, SADC, for example, support for the AU activities in Darfur totaling approximately 8.7 million dollars, and 2 million dollars for the reintegration project in the Great Lakes region in 2006.

Japan's commitment to supporting the key concept and practice of African ownership is enshrined in a number of documents, including those produced in the course of the G8 summits, the most recent example of which is the "Update on Africa" issued at the St. Petersburg Summit last year.

We would also like to note that the Government of Japan will organize the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in the first half of next year. TICAD IV will certainly contribute to nurturing the partnership between the international community and African countries.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, we fully share that it is important to build on today's discussion that has yielded a number of useful ideas and food for thought in an effort to seek a more effective and efficient relationship between the United Nations and the African Union. We are prepared to be constructive in such endeavors out of our continued strong commitment to Africa. In this respect, I would like to offer my delegation's support for your draft presidential statement, which will be issued after the discussion today.

I thank you, Mr. President.

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