Yearbook of the United Nations, 2000. Part 1, Political and security questions. Chapter 2, Africa
Armed conflict and political discord continued to trouble a number of African countries in 2000, most seriously in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone. Africa's political and security challenges were complicated by the pervasive problems of economic stagnation and the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS, both of which had consequences for peace in the continent. In 2000, the Security Council and the General Assembly considered ways to implement the Secretary-General's 1998 recommendations on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa. A working group established by the Assembly reported in July on those recommendations, covering areas such as conflict prevention and maintenance of peace, and strengthening peacekeeping capabilities. The Council, under the presidency of the United States, devoted the month of January to discussing the problems of Africa. The war in the DRC continued to dominate events in the Great Lakes region where the situation remained unstable and the conflict continued between the DRC Government, supported by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, and various rebel groups, loosely allied with the neighbouring countries of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. Among other diplomatic efforts to seek a solution, a Security Council mission visited the country in mid-May when a ceasefire was briefly in effect. However, the situation deteriorated rapidly in June with heavy fighting in and around the city of Kisangani, and the DRC forces encountered opposition there from the armies of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda as well as from armed groups. By the end of the year, the situation had improved; Rwandan and Ugandan troops withdrew from Kisangani and the fighting diminished and shifted to other parts of the country. In Burundi, efforts to end the ethnic conflict were spearheaded by the Facilitator of that process, former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa. The Arusha Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation, a framework for political reform, was signed by 19 political parties, but some of the main combatant rebel forces were not parties to it. By the end of the year, armed groups continued to carry out attacks against government forces and civilians. Burundi accused certain neighbouring countries of supporting the rebel groups. In contrast to other Great Lakes countries, the security situation in Rwanda improved and the Government began laying the foundation for the transition to democracy. Steps were made to draw up a new constitution, overhaul the justice system and promote the observance of human rights. In April, the Security Council considered the 1999 report of the Independent Inquiry it had commissioned to evaluate the UN role during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The situation in Sierra Leone reached a new crisis point in May and June when rebel groups detained hundreds of peacekeepers of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and seized their weapons. By the end of July, most of the UN troops had either been rescued during UN operations or released by their captors, but nine UN peacekeepers were reported killed and others were missing. Despite those developments, UNAMSIL continued its efforts to bring peace to the country under the terms of the 1999 Lome Peace Agreement, signed by the Government and the main opposition force. Following the attacks on UN personnel, the Security Council increased the size of the Mission from 6,000 to 13,000 peacekeepers and expanded its mandate. The Council also took action to restrict the capacity of rebel groups to wage war by prohibiting the importation of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone without official certification of their origin and by strengthening the arms embargo against those groups. The Council was also considering a proposal to establish a special court in order to bring to justice those responsible for serious crimes and atrocities against the people of Sierra Leone and UNAMSIL peacekeepers. UNAMSIL and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) continued their efforts to mediate with the parties. On 10 November, the Government and the main rebel group reached a ceasefire agreement, agreeing that UNAMSIL would supervise and monitor the ceasefire. Opposition forces displayed reluctance to fulfil their commitments under the new agreement; however, the situation was relatively calm, but tense, at the end of the year. The instability in Sierra Leone and the activities of rebel groups there affected other countries in West Africa. In December, the Council condemned recent incursions into Guinea by rebel groups from Liberia and Sierra Leone along the length of Guinea's border. ECOWAS was also active in efforts to consolidate peace in the subregion, participating in the summit meeting of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone that dealt with shared political, security and socio-economic concerns. In December, the three countries agreed that an ECOWAS interposition force be sent to the border areas. In Liberia, where the internal situation remained fragile, the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in Liberia (UNOL) continued to work towards the consolidation of peace and democracy in cooperation with the Government and ECOWAS. The Secretary-General reported that, despite the transition from civil conflict to an elected Government in 1997, Liberia was beset with governance problems and inadequate external support for its reconstruction programme. Guinea-Bissau was also in the early stages of a new, democratically elected Government. In January, it held the second and final round of presidential elections in accordance with the 1998 Abuja Peace Accord that ended the civil conflict there. The military establishment continued to interfere in the establishment of democratic institutions and, in November, led an attempted coup d'etat. By the end of the year, the situation was relatively calm, but tense. Angola continued to be one of the most unstable countries in Africa in 2000. Implementation of the 1994 Lusaka Protocol, by which the Government and the opposition guerrilla group agreed to the extension of the State administration, remained at a standstill. In April, the Security Council reiterated that the primary cause of the crisis was the refusal of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) to comply with the Lusaka Protocol. The Government continued its offensive against the UNITA guerrilla forces and was able to re-establish its authority in several UNITA strongholds. Military operations in southern and south-eastern border areas spilled into neighbouring Namibia and Zambia, where bombing and shelling incidents were reported and refugee flows occurred. The Expert Panel established by the Security Council in 1999 to investigate sanctions against UNITA determined that the sanctions were ineffective. Angola approved the status of the United Nations Office in Angola (UNOA), which had replaced the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) in 1999, and agreed that the Office should aim to build the country's capacity in humanitarian assistance and human rights. The border war between Eritrea and Ethiopia intensified in May despite the fact that both parties had agreed to abide by the terms of the Framework Agreement drawn up by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1998. Under OAU auspices, the two Governments resumed proximity talks and signed a ceasefire agreement on 18 June. By its terms, they agreed to seek a UN peacekeeping mission under OAU auspices, to redeploy troops to their positions before the war, and to establish a temporary security zone between the two sides. To monitor that plan, the Security Council decided on 31 July to establish the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) with a deployment of up to 4,200 personnel. The ceasefire agreement was followed by the signing of a Peace Agreement in December. In Somalia, new steps were made in the peace process under the proposals suggested by the President of Djibouti. Preparatory meetings organized by Djibouti in early 2000 brought together representatives of most of Somalia's numerous clans, and during the year agreement was reached on a Transitional National Charter, the election of a Transitional National Assembly and the election of a president to head the transitional Government. Following his inauguration, the President made efforts to bring Somaliland and Puntland, two factions that had boycotted the peace conference, into the peace process. In June, the Security Council urged representatives of all forces in Somalia to participate in the peace process. By the end of the year, the new transitional Government had only limited control of the country and banditry and lawlessness prevailed. Following the establishment of a new democratically elected Government in the Central African Republic in 1999, the United Nations withdrew its mission from that country in February 2000 and replaced it with the United Nations Peace-building Support Office (BONUCA). The situation in 2000 was dominated by the confrontational approach between the ruling party and the numerous opposition parties. The United Nations pursued its goal of holding a referendum in Western Sahara for the self-determination of its people, as agreed in 1990 by Morocco and the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el-Hamra y de Río de Oro (POLISARIO), but progress remained elusive. Direct meetings between Morocco and POLISARIO in May, July and September, organized by the Secretary-General's Personal Envoy, failed to make progress on the main issues. The Secretary-General concluded that further meetings of the parties to seek a political solution could not succeed unless Morocco, as administrative Power, was prepared to support some genuine devolution of governmental authority for all inhabitants and former inhabitants of the Territory. A number of regional organizations sought to lift the Security Council sanctions against the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, which were suspended in 1999 but not completely removed. It was argued that removal was called for since the two Libyan suspects charged with the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, were currently being tried by a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands.
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2000. v. 54; Vol. 54
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