STATEMENT BY HE. MR. PHAM BINH MINH
The President ‘s Special Envoy, Standing Deputy Minister
of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam
at the Debate of the Security Council
on “ Peace and Security in Africa”
New York, 16 April 2008
On behalf of the Vietnamese Delegation, I would like to congratulate you and South Africa for your effective leadership of the work of the Council this month. We highly appreciate your initiative to hold a debate on this important topic and I am confident that under your skilful leadership, this meeting will arrive at a successful conclusion.
President's Special Envoy, Standing Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E Mr. Pham Binh Minh and the Vietnamese Delegation at the meeting
We are facing fast and complex changes in the world, wherein peace and cooperation for development remain the dominant trend, though challenges arising from both traditional and non-traditional security issues have increased at regional level. More than ever before, the international community recognizes the pressing need for a stronger relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations in responding to challenges to regional and international peace and security.
The UN Charter places the primary responsibility on the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security. Despite the fact that the Security Council has yet to find a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict notwithstanding tremendous efforts, the initial positive steps in the transition from conflict to peace in countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia, Burundi and recently the Democratic Republic of Congo are testimony to what the Security Council can do to bring peace and security to the people of Africa.
In tandem with the work of the Security Council, Chapter VIII of the UN Charter and various General Assembly and Security Council resolutions underline the need and the increasing role of regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security. Recent experiences in Asia, Africa and Latin America underscore the growing importance of regional organizations as partners of the United Nations in the prevention, management and settlement of conflicts as well as in peacebuilding and stabilization processes.
As the Secretary General noted in his 2007 Report on the Work of the Organization, there has been a dramatic increase in the range of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations. Heads of State and Government at the 2005 World Summit agreed to expand consultation and cooperation between the UN and regional organizations through formalized agreements and, as appropriate, the involvement of regional organizations in the work of the Security Council. Various resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council on cooperation between the United Nations and specific regional organizations help further promote such cooperation.
On the implementation front, we are convinced that the cooperation between the UN and regional organizations should be based on their complimentary capacities and comparative advantages, making full use of their experience, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the relevant statutes of regional organizations. Regional organizations, owing to their most immediate connection to regional particularities, are well positioned to understand the root causes of armed conflicts and have unique advantages to early detect potential threats and find peaceful solutions to those problems. A better coordination and the development of a more effective partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations will strengthen the capacity of the Security Council to fulfill its task of maintaining international peace and security. At the same time, the United Nations and the Security Council should pay greater attention to the issue of providing political, physical and financial assistance to peacekeeping efforts of regional organizations that lack resources.
Equally important, possible modalities of partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations must be further explored and expanded for mutual reinforcement, taking into account the differing characteristics of regional organizations in terms of membership, resource availability and institutional capacity as well as the uniqueness of each conflict situation.
Africa, the second-largest and second most populous continent is where most of regional conflicts are taking place. Together with the United Nations peacekeeping operations, the African Union (AU) has proactively contributed to the mediation, reconciliation and reconstruction processes in many countries such as Angola, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, the Sudan, Uganda and Western Sahara. The Governments and people of Africa and the African Union must be commended for their determined efforts in this connection.
We welcome the adoption of the Declaration between the UN Secretary General and the Chairperson of AU signed in November 2006 on enhancing cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union in the area of capacity building for the next ten years, as well as the ongoing close coordination between the two Secretariats. Given the many existing challenges ahead, Viet Nam is of the view that AU should be supported to play a greater role and therefore should enjoy greater cooperation from the United Nations in term of financial, logistic assistance for building the capacity of its peacekeeping forces so as to consolidate peace in fragile post-conflict countries and to help prevent a relapse into violence. The difficulties facing AMISOM, UNAMID demonstrate vivid examples of how necessary this is.
In our region of South East Asia, ASEAN - the Association of South East Asian Nations – has become an important mechanism for strengthening peace, friendship and cooperation in the region. ASEAN has also attached great importance to fostering consultations and exchange of experiences and best practices with other regional organizations in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America in promoting multi-lateral endeavors for peace, stability and development. Last year, a historic milestone was reached in the evolution of ASEAN with the signing of the ASEAN Charter, which besides giving ASEAN a legal personality, will enhance institutional accountability and decision making mechanism, and transform ASEAN into a serious regional player in the Asia Pacific region.
ASEAN was recently granted an Observer status in the United Nations General Assembly and the two organizations have between them a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation which provides an important framework to further enhance ASEAN-UN relations and cooperation, and to allow ASEAN to make greater contributions to the work of the UN, and to promoting peace, stability and development in the world.
As a brother and friend of Africa, a member of ASEAN, Viet Nam has been always at the forefront of any efforts aimed at strengthening the partnership for peace and development between the two organizations. We look forward to further promoting these efforts in the interest of peace, security and development in Asia, Africa and the world.
I thank you, Mr. President.