Yearbook of the United Nations, 2007. Part 1, Political and security questions. Chapter 2, Africa
During 2007, Africa made measured progress towards resolving the conflicts besetting the continent. The United Nations maintained its strong commitment to promoting peace, stability and development through seven UN political missions and offices and eight peacekeeping missions, supported by some 84,300 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. Many countries faced the daunting task of bringing 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. 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. The United Nations worked closely with the African Union (au), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and other regional organizations and international actors to assist Governments in improving security, ensuring humanitarian access, energizing peace processes and promoting economic and social development. A Security Council mission in June visited Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Khartoum and Kinshasa to promote political reconciliation. The United Nations continued to monitor Security Council–sanctioned arms embargoes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Darfur region of western Sudan and Somalia. In Central Africa, the 11 countries of the Great Lakes region took steps to implement the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the region, which they signed in 2006. The Kivu provinces in the DRC continued to be plagued by the activity of illegal armed groups, which clashed frequently with the country's armed forces. Nearly all of the 17,000 peacekeepers of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) moved to the Kivus in an effort to avert further bloodshed. However, a difficult year ended with a positive development, as the Government announced that the long-awaited Conference on Peace, Security and Development in the Kivus would be held in January 2008. In other progress, the DRC concluded agreements with both Uganda and Rwanda on ending the activities of armed groups in the Great Lakes region. On 1 January, the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi commenced its operations, which brought together the activities of the UN system for peace consolidation, and thereby transformed UN efforts in the country from a peacekeeping to a peacebuilding mission. As a beneficiary of the new UN Peacebuilding Fund, Burundi received a $35 million allocation. Although the Government and the last major rebel hold-out group reached an agreement in June to implement the 2006 Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement, scant progress was achieved in implementing that document. In Uganda, progress was made towards resolving the 20-year conflict in the north pitting Government forces against the Lord's Resistance Army. Mediation by the Government of Southern Sudan and the United Nations resulted in the signing of various thematic accords during negotiations held in Juba, Southern Sudan. The situation in the Central African Republic was marked by preparations for a political dialogue to address the persistent political crisis and continuing rebel activities, especially in the north-west and the north-east. The United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA) assisted in the establishment of the national dialogue. The conclusion of two agreements, in February and April, between the Government and rebel forces improved the security situation. The spillover of the conflict in the Darfur region sent hundreds of thousands of Sudanese into tense, overcrowded refugee camps in eastern Chad and northeastern Central African Republic. In September, the Security Council authorized the establishment of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), a multidimensional presence comprising troops provided by the European Union (EU), as well as UN military liaison officers, police monitors and civilian personnel. The presence was intended to help create security conditions conducive to the voluntary and safe return of refugees and displaced persons. In West Africa, while gains were achieved in moving the peace process forward in Côte d'Ivoire and in consolidating peace and stability in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the region still faced significant challenges, such as illicit cross-border issues, institutional weaknesses, economic recovery, security sector reform, demilitarization, demobilization and rehabilitation of ex-combatants, and the return of refugees and internally displaced persons. In that regard, the Secretary-General released a March report on cross-border issues in West Africa and identified priority areas for action. The United Nations Office for West Africa continued to promote conflict prevention, raise awareness on subregional problems and work in close collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union to assist Governments in improving security, ensuring humanitarian access and energizing the peace process. A performance assessment of the Office led to a revision of its functions and activities and an extension of the mandate for a further three-year period. In Côte d'Ivoire, President Gbagbo and the Head of the Forces nouvelles, Guillaume Soro, signed the Ouagadougou Agreement and supplementary agreements, which provided a road map for a new transition period and timelines for the completion of key operations in the peace process, including the holding of presidential elections by June 2008. A new transitional Government was formed, mechanisms were established for effective follow-up to the Agreement and the overall political and security environment improved, providing the impetus to move the peace process forward. Optimism prevailed that national elections would be held in 2008 as scheduled. In Liberia, President Johnson-Sirleaf continued to address the issues of corruption and governance reform and enacted measures to enhance transparency and accountability in the Government. UN sanctions on diamonds were lifted and with the assistance of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and other regional and international actors, the country made further progress in restoring its administrative authority and in controlling areas of economic activity, including the management of its natural resources. Liberia was admitted into the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme; the Office of Precious Minerals and the Liberian Diamond Board were established by the Government; and, in September, the exportation of diamonds was resumed. In the light of the progress achieved, the United Nations set benchmarks for the draw down of UNMIL. Sierra Leone continued efforts to consolidate the peace and stability achieved in previous years. The presidential and parliamentary elections, held in August with the support of the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone and the United Nations Development Programme, were peaceful, transparent and credible. Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People's Congress was declared President after a run-off election. Sierra Leone intensified its engagement with the Peacebuilding Commission, leading to the adoption of the Sierra Leone Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework, a medium-term document which described actions that the Government and the Commission had committed to undertake to address challenges and threats with a view to sustaining and consolidating peace. A UN technical assessment mission visited the country and made recommendations on the Office's exit strategy and the future UN presence in Sierra Leone. Despite its financial difficulties, the Special Court for Sierra Leone delivered trial judgements in two of the four ongoing cases and commenced the trial of the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor. In Guinea-Bissau, representatives of the three main political parties signed political and government stability agreements to create a solid parliamentary base and a Government of national consensus. The United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau assisted the country in its efforts to further consolidate peace and promote national reconciliation, and collaborated with the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime and ECOWAS to address drug trafficking in the country. In December, the Peacebuilding Commission decided to place Guinea-Bissau on its agenda. Cameroon and Nigeria, with the support of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, agreed on the delineation of the maritime boundary, thereby implementing and completing all four sections of the 2002 International Court of Justice ruling on the land and maritime boundaries between the two countries. National strikes due to the worsening economic and social conditions in Guinea, which escalated into violence and caused the death of over 100 persons, prompted the President to declare the country in a state of siege for 10 days. The Secretary-General expressed concern over the situation and urged the Government to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the killings. The Horn of Africa continued to be affected by complex, interlocking conflicts. In the Sudan, slow progress was registered in implementing the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement designed to end the conflict between the north and the south. Some 10,000 peacekeepers of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) continued to monitor the implementation of the Agreement. To address the conflict in the Darfur region, the United Nations and the au launched a joint peacekeeping mission, the African Union–United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), which was authorized by the Security Council on 31 July. Meanwhile, the au and UN Special Envoys for Darfur carried out intense diplomatic activity in the region, including talks launched in August in the United Republic of Tanzania to involve the some 20 Darfur movements that had not signed the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement. At the same time, as the security situation worsened and attacks on aid workers increased, the largest humanitarian relief effort in the world struggled to maintain an acceptable level of care for the hundreds of thousands of victims of the conflict. In Somalia, remnants of the militia of the Union of Islamic Courts, which were dislodged in December 2006 and January 2007 by Ethiopian troops and Transitional Federal Government forces, mounted an insurgence against the Ethiopia-Government coalition in Mogadishu, resulting in heavy civilian losses. In March, the au began deploying the peacekeeping mission it had established in January to support the Transitional Federal Government in its efforts to stabilize the country. In July and August, a Government-organized National Reconciliation Congress gathered 2,600 delegates in Mogadishu. However, the continuing Courts insurgency, coupled with inter-clan violence, forced more than half of Mogadishu residents out of the city by year's end. The border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea remained at an impasse during 2007. Eritrea restated its acceptance of the 2002 decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, while Ethiopia maintained that such a decision should be implemented through further negotiations between the parties. The Boundary Commission stated that its decision would come into effect on 30 November, thus fulfilling its mandate. Both countries deployed troops in the border area. However, no progress was made in demarcating the border. The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) continued to monitor the ceasefire reached in 2000, but Eritrea increased restrictions on its freedom of movement. Morocco and the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguía El-Hamra y de Río de Oro (Frente Polisario) renewed dialogue over the disputed Territory of Western Sahara, holding in June and August the first face-to-face talks since 2000. However, Morocco continued to refuse to accept a referendum that would include the option of independence, while Frente Polisario insisted that the only way forward was to implement the 2003 peace plan proposed by the UN Special Envoy, which provided for independence as an option. The United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) continued to monitor the ceasefire and support humanitarian activities.
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2007. v. 61; Vol. 61
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