Yearbook of the United Nations, 2008. Part 1, Political and security questions. Chapter 2, Africa
During 2008, the United Nations maintained its commitment to promoting peace, stability and development in Africa through six United Nations political and peacebuilding missions and seven peacekeeping operations. The Organization faced daunting 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 return to peace, stability and prosperity. Many countries faced the complex task of bringing rebel groups into the peace process, concluding disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes for ex-combatants, promoting national reconciliation and creating conditions for economic and social development. The Office of the Special Adviser on Africa and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa brought a regional perspective to issues facing the continent, promoted conflict prevention and raised 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 and other regional organizations and international actors to assist Governments in improving security, ensuring humanitarian access, energizing peace processes and promoting development. 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. The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission expanded its work to the Central African Republic in addition to its ongoing efforts in Burundi, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone, where it assisted in electoral processes and facilitated dialogue. By October, 45 Member States had pledged $267 million to the Peacebuilding Fund. A Security Council mission in June visited Djibouti (for Somalia affairs), the Sudan, Chad, the DRC and Côte d'Ivoire to promote peace and reconciliation. Central Africa and the Great Lakes region continued to be affected by the activities of armed groups and militias, especially in the eastern part of the DRC. Nonetheless, by year's end, the region made noticeable steps towards resolving long-standing conflicts. The signing in November 2007 of the Nairobi Communiqué by the DRC and Rwanda and, in January, of the Actes d'engagement—known as the Goma Agreements—by the DRC, the rebel Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP) and other armed groups from North and South Kivu in the eastern DRC laid the ground for finally eliminating the regional threat of—in particular foreign—armed groups active there through a separation of forces and their disarming and demobilization or brassage (integration into the national armed forces). Little progress, however, was made by the Mixed Technical Commission on Peace and Security of the Amani programme—the framework for implementing the Goma Agreements. In August, violence flared in the eastern DRC, on the border with Rwanda, where 10,000 UN peacekeepers of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) were tasked with protecting 10 million civilians. Following a series of skirmishes, CNDP in late October began a major offensive threatening Goma (the provincial capital of North Kivu), and other ethnic-based rebel groups entered the fray. When CNDP overwhelmed the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo, displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians, MONUC reinforced its presence in Goma and surrounding areas. In November, the Security Council authorized an additional 3,085 troops and police for MONUC, including special forces, and increased air assets, so that it might better protect civilians and ensure humanitarian access. As the crisis threatened to spill beyond the borders of the DRC, the Secretary-General met with regional leaders at a special summit in Nairobi in November, also appointing a Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region to work with the parties and the international community to end the crisis. Following discussions with the Special Envoy, CNDP announced that it would withdraw its forces from the Kanyabayonga-Nyanzale and Kabasha Kiwanja axes, where fighting had most recently occurred. Meanwhile, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), which originated in Uganda, continued to operate in the DRC's Province Orientale, bordering the Sudan. At year's end, the Security Council extended MONUC's mandate by another 12 months. Burundi continued to face serious peace and security challenges, primarily emanating from the stalled implementation of the 2006 Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement, enduring mistrust among political actors, increased restrictions on public liberties, slow progress in fighting impunity, persistent human rights violations, insecurity and high levels of poverty. The end of the year, however, brought a breakthrough in the peace process, when, at a Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Great Lakes Region (Bujumbura, Burundi, 4 December), the Government of Burundi, the Palipehutu-FNL and attending Heads of State signed a declaration calling for the commencement of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of Palipehutu-FNL and the political integration of its leadership. The political situation in the Central African Republic continued to be dominated by preparations for the inclusive political dialogue aimed at ending the recurrent political and security crises in the country— which was finally held in Bangui in December. The overall political, security and socio-economic situation, however, remained fragile, compounded by a weak economy, multifaceted social problems and impunity, with severe security challenges, particularly in the northern and south-eastern parts of the country. Police and military liaison officers of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) worked with their counterparts of the European Union military operation (EUFOR) there to enhance stability and support human rights and the rule of law. The Mission focused on the training and deployment of the Détachement Intégré de Sécurité—the special Chadian police for maintaining law and order in refugee camps and among displaced civilians within a 10-kilometre radius of the camps in eastern Chad. In December, the Secretary-General recommended the concept of a United Nations force of at least 4,900 peacekeepers to take over from EUFOR in early 2009. As for Uganda, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for LRA-affected areas worked to conclude the peace process. However, because the leader of LRA, Joseph Kony, did not sign the final peace agreement, the DRC, Southern Sudan and Uganda launched joint military action against his camps in the eastern DRC. Such military action was intended not to derail the peace process, but rather to pressure LRA into assembling in Ri-Kwangba (Southern Sudan) and signing the final peace agreement. Welcoming recent steps towards the restoration of peace and stability in the Great Lakes region, the Security Council, in July, terminated several measures imposed in the wake of the 1994 Rwanda genocide to prohibit the sale and supply of arms and related materiel for use in that country. Nonetheless, the border area between Rwanda and the DRC remained a matter of concern due to the violence that reignited in August in the eastern part of the DRC and continued through the following months. In West Africa, the Secretary-General said that significant progress was made in the consolidation of peace and democratic governance, and UN peace missions in the subregion began to wind down. The United Nations Office for West Africa carried out its revised mandate, including supporting ECOWAS, which was demonstrating increased capacity to address political, social, economic and security issues in the region. However, many challenges remained, such as youth unemployment, rapid urbanization and irregular migration, while others were emerging or increasing in magnitude, including social and economic crises, human and drug trafficking and insecurity in the Sahelian band. Widespread corruption, which weakened State institutions and the rule of law, was a concern. Other threats to stability included the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, the potential eruption of border conflicts, and organized crime, with drug trafficking constituting the most widespread cross-border activity. Furthermore, the scourge of coups d’etat had reemerged in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania. Three high-level missions visited the subregion during the year to assess progress made and challenges facing countries of the subregion. In Côte d'Ivoire, efforts continued to move the peace process forward through implementation of the 2007 Ouagadougou Agreement and its supplementary accords. The ceasefire monitored by the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire and the French Licorne forces continued to hold, with no major violations of the arms embargo. The partnership between President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro remained strong, and the removal of the Green Line dividing the country allowed political leaders and the general population to move freely throughout the country. Although progress was made in preparations for the presidential elections, logistical and technical delays resulted in their postponement to 2009. A fourth supplementary accord to the Ouagadougou Agreement, which clarified issues relating to key processes that had stalled, was signed in December. The Government of Liberia continued efforts to improve governance and security, combat corruption, regain control of the country's natural resources and build a stronger economy. With the assistance of the United Nations Mission in Liberia and other organizations, further progress was made in consolidating peace, stability and democracy. The Government finalized its first national poverty reduction strategy, and Liberia reached the completion point under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission began public hearings in January and submitted its first report to the Legislature and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in December. Following his visit to Liberia in April, the Secretary-General recommended adjustments to the second phase of the draw down of the Mission. The Government of Sierra Leone continued efforts to implement its agenda for peace consolidation and economic recovery. Developments included the approval of a national anti-corruption strategy and the submission of the Constitutional Review Commission report proposing amendments to the 1991 Constitution. The Secretary-General presented the completion strategy for the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone, which entailed the transition to a successor integrated political office—the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone. The transition resulted in the adoption of a Joint Vision of the United Nations Family for Sierra Leone. In December, President Ernest Bai Koroma issued his Agenda for Change, presenting the Government's priorities for the next three years, including the foundation for peacebuilding efforts. The Special Court for Sierra Leone continued to try those bearing the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international, humanitarian and Sierra Leonean laws committed in the territory since 1996. The trial of the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, resumed in January. The United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau assisted the Government in its efforts to promote national reconciliation, conduct legislative elections, and combat drug and human trafficking, and organized crime. The political climate remained fragile, despite the Government stability pact signed by the three main political parties in 2007. In July, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde withdrew from the pact. Political and institutional tensions over the National Assembly's mandate culminated in August with the appointment of a new Prime Minister and Government. Progress was achieved with the establishment of the National Reconciliation Commission and the National Commission for Human Rights. Nonetheless, instability in the military manifested itself in August, when the authorities uncovered a planned coup d’etat, and in November, when unknown assailants attacked the residence of President João Bernardo Vieira, who escaped unharmed. The illicit drug trade remained a concern amid reports that Guinea-Bissau was becoming a strategic link in the transport of illegal narcotics from South America to Europe. Cameroon and Nigeria continued to cooperate in implementing the 2002 ruling of the International Court of Justice on their land and maritime boundary through the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission. During the year, the transfer of authority from Nigeria to Cameroon of the remaining zone of the Bakassi peninsula was completed. Following the death of the President of Guinea, Lansana Conté, a military junta seized power in December. The coup was widely condemned internationally. The democratic process in Mauritania suffered a setback in August, when the former Chief of Staff of the army seized power from President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi—the first democratically elected president in the history of the country— placing him under house arrest. The Security Council condemned the coup and demanded the immediate release of the President and the restoration of the legitimate, constitutional, democratic institutions. The political situation in the Horn of Africa continued to be adversely affected by conflicts and other forms of insecurity within and between States. In the Sudan, the Sudanese Armed Forces, the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement and the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) made uneven progress in de-escalating tension in the north-south border area and resuming implementation of the security arrangements set out in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. In March, President Omar Al-Bashir of the Sudan and President Idriss Déby Itno of Chad signed the Dakar Agreement, by which the two countries committed themselves to ending their differences. In April, the Security Council renewed the UNMIS mandate for a further 12-month period. On 10 May, Justice and Equality Movement fighters from the Darfur region of the Sudan attacked Omdurman, Sudan, but were repelled by Sudanese Government forces. The Sudan accused Chad of supporting the attack and severed diplomatic ties. In May, tensions between the Sudanese armed forces and the Sudan People's Liberation Army in the town of Abyei erupted into full-scale fighting that continued until 20 May. Following several weeks of consultations, the parties finalized a road map agreement to resolve the situation in Abyei, and referred the dispute over the Abyei borders to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The electoral law was adopted by the National Assembly and signed by President Al-Bashir in July. That same month, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court requested that the Court issue an arrest warrant against President Al-Bashir on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Meanwhile, relations between Chad and the Sudan improved, and the two countries exchanged ambassadors in November. IN Northern Darfur, a status-of-forces agreement between the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the Sudan was signed on 9 February. Nevertheless, UNAMID deployment progressed slowly and faced significant challenges, including insufficient troops and equipment. In July, a UNAMID patrol was attacked in Darfur, resulting in the death of seven peacekeepers, and a UNAMID officer was killed by unknown gunmen. The Government began a military campaign in September and engaged in further operations in October. Despite a unilateral declaration of a cessation of hostilities by the Government on 12 November, its forces conducted aerial bombings in Northern and Western Darfur during that month. Southern Darfur also experienced an upsurge in violence, as Government patrols were attacked. Inter-tribal fighting continued in Northern and Southern Darfur, and targeted attacks against humanitarian workers hindered the provision of assistance to the civilian population. IN Somalia, coordinated attacks by anti-Government elements took place in Mogadishu, and Ethiopian Army and Transitional Federal Government operations to eradicate those elements increased. In January, an integrated task force headed by the UN Department of Political Affairs deployed an assessment mission to Somalia to develop a comprehensive UN strategy for the country. The assessment outlined a three-track approach consisting of political, security and programmatic dimensions. The Department also led a fact-finding mission to the region in January to update contingency plans for the possible deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission. In March, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia unveiled its reconciliation strategy, which included proposals to promote peacebuilding and reconciliation between the Government and opposition groups. In May, the Secretary-General's Special Representative initiated the first round of talks in Djibouti between the Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia. On 19 August, the Government and the Alliance signed the Djibouti agreement for the cessation of hostilities. The Somali parties signed an agreement on the cessation of armed confrontation during a third round of talks in Djibouti on 26 October. On the same date, the Government and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia adopted a declaration on the establishment of a unity Government. Despite those developments, insurgent groups increased attacks on troops of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in April and May, resulting in the death of peacekeepers. The acting head of the United Nations Development Programme in Mogadishu was killed by unidentified gunmen on 6 July. On 29 October, suicide bomb attacks targeted the UNDP compound in Hargeysa, as well as the town of Boosasso in northern Somalia; two UN staff members were killed and six others were injured. In June, the Security Council authorized States cooperating with the Transitional Federal Government to enter Somalia's territorial waters to repress acts of piracy and armed robbery. The Organization's efforts to address the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea changed dramatically during the year. In January, the Secretary-General reported that Eritrea continued to induct troops into the Temporary Security Zone between the two countries and maintained its restrictions on the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE). The Security Council extended the UNMEE mandate until 31 July, and demanded that Eritrea resume fuel shipments to the Mission or allow it to import fuel, which had been restricted since December 2007. In February, the Secretariat informed Eritrea of the decision to relocate Mission personnel to Ethiopia, and requested that it extend to the Mission the necessary cooperation. However, the Eritrean Defence Forces hindered the cross-border movement of personnel and equipment. The Secretary-General instructed UNMEE to begin relocating military personnel to their home countries pending a final decision by the Council on the Mission's future. The Council terminated the UNMEE mandate effective 31 July. No progress was made towards the construction of boundary pillars between the two countries in the manner foreseen by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission. The Commission reported that since it had concluded all administrative matters connected with the termination of its mandate, it considered itself functus officio. On 11 June, Djibouti stated that Eritrean armed forces had launched unprovoked attacks on Djibouti an army positions the previous day. On 12 June, the Security Council condemned Eritrea's military aggression and called on the parties to commit to a ceasefire. A UN fact-finding mission that visited Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Djibouti in July and August established that a stalemate had developed between Djibouti and Eritrea that could only be resolved by diplomatic means. It recommended renewing as a matter of priority the Secretary-General's offer of good offices to defuse tensions. The two parties to the dispute concerning the Territory of Western Sahara—Morocco and the Frente Polisario para la Liberación de Saguía el-Hamra y de Río de Oro (Frente Polisario)—met with the Secretary-General's Personal Envoy for Western Sahara in January and March for the third and fourth rounds of talks, respectively. The parties remained far apart on ways to achieve a solution, but agreed to explore the establishment of family visits by land route, in addition to the programme of air visits, and reiterated their commitment to continue negotiations. In April, the Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara until 30 April 2009. The United Nations also addressed the political and humanitarian crises that followed the elections of December 2007 in Kenya and the elections of March 2008 in Zimbabwe.
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2008. v. 62; Vol. 62
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