Yearbook of the United Nations, 2006. Part 1, Political and security questions. Chapter 2, Africa
During 2006, the United Nations maintained its strong commitment to promoting peace, stability and development in Africa through six UN political missions and offices and seven peacekeeping missions, supported by some 60,000 military personnel. The Organization faced tremendous challenges in helping the countries in conflict situations and those in transition to post-conflict peacebuilding in Central Africa and the Great Lakes region, West Africa and the Horn of Africa to return to peace, stability and prosperity. The Office of the Special Adviser on Africa and the United Nations Office for West Africa continued to bring a regional perspective to issues facing the continent, promote conflict prevention and raise awareness about subregional problems, in particular, youth unemployment and migration. The United Nations worked closely with the African Union (au), the Economic Community of West African States, the Economic Community of Central African States and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development to assist African Governments in improving security, ensuring humanitarian access, energizing peace processes and promoting economic and social development. Central Africa and the Great Lakes region continued to be affected by the activities of militias, local warlords and international companies illegally exploiting the region's natural resources, in violation of UN sanctions. In January, the Security Council, in a ministerial-level debate on the Great Lakes region, discussed improving cooperation between the United Nations and African organizations, such as the au, particularly in peacekeeping and conflict prevention. At the International Conference on Peace, Security, Democracy and Development in the Great Lakes Region (Nairobi, Kenya, 14-15 December), the region's Heads of State and Government signed the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region. Meanwhile, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the four year transitional process concluded with the successful holding of elections that led to the installation of the National Assembly and the inauguration of Joseph Kabila as President. The Security Council, in January, re-established the Group of Experts monitoring the embargo on the illegal exploitation of resources, as numerous violations of the embargo had been uncovered. The peace process continued in Burundi, where the Government and the last major rebel group, the Palipehutu-National Liberation Forces, concluded a peace agreement in June, and a ceasefire agreement in September. Burundi, in view of significant improvements in the security situation, requested the United Nations to establish an integrated peacebuilding office, which the Council endorsed. One of the region's most devastating conflicts, opposing Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army, came closer to a solution, with the signing on 26 August, in Juba, the Sudan, of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities. To help the parties reach a comprehensive political solution to the conflict, the Secretary-General named former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano as his Special Envoy to help deal with the issue. The Central African Republic was increasingly drawn into the crisis affecting Chad and the Darfur region of the Sudan. Forces opposed to Central African Republic President François Bozizé appeared to have forged links with rebels fighting against Chad's President Idriss Déby Itno. At the same time, the crisis in Darfur had spilled over into Chad and the Central African Republic, with both countries accusing the Sudan of supporting armed groups increasingly active in their territories. The Tripoli Agreement signed on 8 February and the 26 July N'Djamena Agreement between the two countries did not defuse the crisis. The Security Council, in August, requested the United Nations Mission in the Sudan to establish a political and military presence in Chad and, if necessary, in the Central African Republic. In West Africa, while progress was made in the transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the region faced other significant challenges, such as illicit cross-border trafficking, institutional weaknesses, slow economic recovery, difficulties in security sector reform, demilitarization, demobilization and rehabilitation of ex-combatants and the return of refugees and internally displaced persons. The peace process in Côte d'Ivoire was impeded by political stalemates, disagreements and missed deadlines for the completion of crucial tasks, as well as violent demonstrations and inflammatory statements. Having missed the 31 October deadline for the holding of presidential elections, regional leaders extended the political transition period for another year and addressed the ambiguities that had plagued the previous transition period. In Liberia, the inauguration of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa's first elected woman Head of State, and the installation of a new Government marked the completion of that country's two-year transitional process. The new Government tackled the issues of corruption and governance reform and took measures to enhance transparency and accountability. With the assistance of the United Nations Mission in Liberia and other regional and international actors, the country made substantial progress in restoring its administrative authority over the entire country and in controlling all areas of economic activity. Similarly, events in Sierra Leone were dominated by efforts to further consolidate peace and stability and prepare for elections in 2007. The transition from the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone to the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone, established to support the Government in consolidating peace, building national capacity and preparing for those elections, was successfully completed. However, youth unemployment, rampant corruption, dire economic conditions and tension along the borders, especially with Guinea, were potential threats to stability. A significant development during the year was the apprehension and transfer of former Liberian President Charles Taylor into the custody of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown, and later to The Hague, the Netherlands, to stand trial. Guinea-Bissau continued to be polarized by political tensions, especially in the new National Popular Assembly. Dialogue initiatives aimed at reconciling the different factions and political groupings were launched, with the support of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries. The strained political situation even risked jeopardizing the disbursement of funds pledged by donors, as political stability was a precondition for such disbursement. The mandate of the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau, which assisted in consolidating peace and promoting national reconciliation, was streamlined to highlight its mediation and good offices functions. Cameroon and Nigeria continued to cooperate peacefully to advance progress in implementing, through the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, the 2002 International Court of Justice ruling on the land and maritime boundaries between them. However, the political landscape in the Horn of Africa was not so encouraging, as the region continued to be affected by complex, interlocking conflicts. While the Sudan took positive steps to implement the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, areas of the country were still plagued by armed militias, disagreements over borders, disputed oil revenues and the escalating crisis in the Darfur states. The crisis in the Darfur region continued to deteriorate, and although au-mediated talks in Abuja, Nigeria, culminated in the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement on 5 May, only the Government and one of the Darfur rebel groups signed the pact. The au, in January, endorsed a transition from its Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) to a UN peacekeeping operation, which the Security Council approved in resolution 1663(2006) of 24 March. However, the Sudan did not support the idea, citing threats to its sovereignty. On 31 August, the Council expanded the mandate and increased the troop strength of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan by up to 17,300 international military personnel, to be deployed to Darfur. That was also rejected by the Sudan. On 16 November, agreement was reached on the deployment of a hybrid au-UN force in Darfur. That was endorsed by the au, Sudan's Council of Ministers and the Security Council. In Somalia, the year opened on a promising note, with the January signing of the Aden Declaration, brokered by Yemen, to end differences between the President and the Speaker of the Transitional Federal Parliament. The Transitional Federal Government and Parliament relocated to Baidoa, 140 miles northwest of Mogadishu, and the Parliament held its first session in February. That same month, however, there was a dramatic shift in Somalia's complicated clan-based balance of power, with the emergence of the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT), whose aim was to combat the rapid advance of the Union of Islamic Courts, accused of supporting and harbouring foreign terrorism suspects. ARPCT and Islamic Courts fighters engaged in fierce battles in Mogadishu, and by June, the Courts had routed ARPCT and established their authority in central and southern Somalia. A sense of law and order returned to Mogadishu for the first time in 15 years. By contrast, the Transitional Federal Government barely held control of Baidoa. The Courts expanded the territory under their control, taking the strategically important port city of Kismayo and had flanked Baidoa by late October. The Security Council, on 6 December, endorsed the request for a joint peace operation to be deployed by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development and the au. However, the military build-up by both sides came to a head on 24 December, when skirmishes threatened the Transitional Government seat in Baidoa and provoked the full force of the Government, backed by Ethiopian troops. The Courts militia retreated to Mogadishu, which fell to the Transitional Government/Ethiopian coalition on 28 December, and then to Kismayo, which fell soon after. Despite diplomatic initiatives by the United States and the Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission, the Ethiopia and Eritrea stalemate in the demarcation of the border between them remained. The situation in the buffer zone, the Temporary Security Zone, and adjacent areas turned tense in mid-October, when Eritrean defence forces entered the Zone in Sector West. The situation was exacerbated by Eritrean restrictions on the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, including a continued flight ban on the Mission's helicopters, which greatly curtailed its capacity to monitor the Zone. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, which failed to advance its demarcation activities, announced, on 27 November, that, because of impediments in fulfilling its mandate, it planned to demarcate the border on maps, leaving the two countries to establish the physical boundary and to reach agreement on border demarcation within one year. If no agreement was reached, the locations established in its 2002 delimitation decision would take effect. Both countries rejected the Commission's proposal. The deadlock in the search for an agreed political solution to the long-standing conflict concerning the governance of the Territory of Western Sahara continued, with no hope of an early breakthrough. The Secretary-General's Special Envoy intensified his efforts in exploring with the parties, Morocco and the Frente Popular para La Liberación de Saguía el-Hamra de Río de Oro (Frente Polisario), the best way to achieve a mutually acceptable solution. The Secretary-General recommended that the Security Council call upon the parties to enter into open-ended negotiations without preconditions, rather than just extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara. In other matters, Mauritius complained that, 38 years after its independence, it still was not able to exercise its sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago, including Diego Garcia. The United Kingdom, maintaining that the Territory was British, reiterated the undertaking that the Territory would be ceded when no longer required for defence purposes and it would liaise closely with Mauritius at that time. Both the Security Council and the General Assembly discussed the issue of cooperation between the United Nations and the au. The two organizations signed a declaration entitled “Enhancing UN-au Cooperation: Framework for the ten-year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union”.
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2006. v. 60; Vol. 60
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