Yearbook of the United Nations, 2005. Part 1, Political and security questions. Chapter 2, Africa
In 2005, Africa showed measured progress towards resolving the many ongoing conflict situations that had beset the continent over the past decade, although there were grim reminders of the need for firmer international action to help resolve fully those conflicts and bring peace and prosperity to the populations concerned. The year witnessed the successful transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding in several countries in Central Africa and the Great Lakes region, thereby facilitating the complex transition processes in those countries. The United Nations, in partnership with the African Union (AU) and other regional organizations and international actors, supported elections in Burundi in June and July. That paved the way for the election of Pierre Nkurunziza as President by the Joint Parliamentary Congress, whose inauguration marked the formal conclusion of the transitional process to a democratically elected Government. Similarly, in the Central African Republic, the election of General François Bozizé in June as President marked that country's return to constitutional order. Meanwhile, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, preparations were under way for national elections scheduled to be held in 2006. In preparation for that event, the country successfully held a referendum on a new Constitution in December. However, key challenges remained, including the daunting task of consolidating peace by bringing the rebel groups into the peace process, concluding the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes for ex-combatants, promoting national reconciliation and creating conditions for economic and social rehabilitation and development. In West Africa, several countries were on the path towards economic and democratic reforms as the intensity of conflicts lessened. Elections were successfully held in Liberia, which were won by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, thereby becoming the President-elect. Her inauguration in early 2006 would also mark a return to constitutional government in Liberia. Progress was also made in restoring State authority and addressing concerns about corruption in the National Transitional Government. In that regard, a governance and economic management assistance programme was developed to help the country regain control of its vital natural resources. The apprehension of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor for prosecution by the Special Court for Sierra Leone was deemed a priority by the Security Council. In Sierra Leone, the United Nations continued to help in laying the foundation for the country to achieve lasting stability, democracy and prosperity. Sierra Leone made further progress in meeting the benchmarks set by the Council to allow the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone to continue to implement its plan for withdrawing its forces deployed there. At the request of the President of Sierra Leone, and given the continuing instability in the Mano River Basin subregion, the Council established the United Nations Office in Sierra Leone to assist the Government in consolidating peace, building national conflict prevention capacity and preparing for elections in 2007. The Government was able to take control of its diamond-mining sector, repatriate some 272,000 refugees and establish a national human rights commission. Cameroon and Nigeria continued to cooperate in resolving their border issues. Both countries, despite some delays, took action to begin, with international assistance, the planned withdrawal and transfer of authority in the Bakassi Peninsula and to begin the demarcation of the land boundary. However, those developments were overshadowed by the continuing conflict in Côte d'Ivoire, where the parties failed to live up to their commitments. Key benchmarks in the implementation of the 2003 Linas-Marcoussis Agreement were not met, such as the target date for the completion of demobilization and the constitutional deadline for holding presidential elections in October. In those circumstances, the AU and the Economic Community of West African States extended President Gbagbo's term for one year, appointed a Prime Minister and established bodies to oversee the peace process. In Guinea-Bissau, controversies over the eligibility of the two presidential candidates and the election results later in the year created a highly polarized atmosphere in the country. The Secretary-General revised the mandate of the United Nations Office in Guinea-Bissau to facilitate its new role in the transition process. The United Nations also supported the Government of Togo in addressing the political crisis arising from the sudden death of President Gnassingbé Eyadema, in preserving the stability of the country and ensuring a peaceful transition of power consistent with the Constitution and rule of law. Political upheavals and incidents of violence occurred following the elections, amidst allegations of human rights violations. Based on the report of a fact-finding mission dispatched to Togo by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate those allegations, the Government indicated its willingness to take action to prevent further violence and address the problems leading to such misconduct. The ongoing conflicts in the Horn of Africa continued to take centre stage, as the United Nations and the international community spared no effort in trying to resolve them. In the Sudan, the 21-year civil war between the north and south of the country ended in January with the signing by the parties of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, setting out new arrangements for power and wealth-sharing. The Government of National Unity was established in September and the government of southern Sudan in December. In March, the Security Council set up the United Nations Mission in Sudan to oversee the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Hopes that the new political arrangement would lead to a solution to the crisis in the Darfur region in western Sudan were not realized, as the conflict there continued unabated. The Council tightened its sanctions in the face of the continued refusal of the Government to accept a UN peacekeeping force to assist the AU Force deployed there. The Council sent an assessment mission to Darfur to examine the human rights situation and, based on its recommendations, decided to refer the cases of violation of international human rights and humanitarian law to the International Criminal Court. In Somalia, the fledgling Transitional Federal Government based in Nairobi, Kenya, relocated to Somalia, but was not operational for most of the year due to a dispute over the site of the relocation and the composition of the interim peace support mission sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. The border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia remained unsettled. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission failed to advance its demarcation activities, stalled since 2003 by Ethiopia's rejection of significant parts of the Commission's 2002 final and binding delimitation decision and Eritrea's insistence on its implementation. Eritrea, contrary to the Council's demand, increased its restrictions on the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, including the request for certain nationalities to leave the country. The Council agreed to relocate its staff to Ethiopia until it reviewed future plans for the Mission. The question of the future of the Western Sahara remained unresolved. In an effort to break the deadlock, the Secretary-General appointed a new Personal Envoy to explore with the parties and neighbours how best to achieve a mutually acceptable solution. Morocco continued to refuse to accept a referendum that would include the option of independence, while the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguía El-Hamra y de Río de Oro continued to insist that the only way forward was to implement the 2003 peace plan proposed by the Special Envoy or the 1991 settlement plan proposed by the Secretary-General.
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2005 v. 59; Vol. 59
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