Yearbook of the United Nations, 2001. Part 1, Political and security questions. Chapter 2, Africa
Although Africa continued to be plagued by numerous conflicts in 2001, several of them showed signs of amelioration as political situations evolved and diplomatic efforts, including those by the United Nations, began to take effect and show positive results. The situation in war affected countries was further complicated by problems of economic stagnation, flows of refugees and internally displaced persons, and the spread of HIV/AIDS. In some cases, for example Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sierra Leone, warfare was fuelled by the illegal trade in raw diamonds, known as “conflict” or “blood” diamonds, and the exploitation of other natural resources. Various UN bodies investigated that issue. The General Assembly's working group on ways to implement the 1998 recommendations of the Secretary-General on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa focused in 2001 on two themes—education, and conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building—and made suggestions for further action in both areas. The Secretary-General issued his own report on follow-up action in the area of peace and security and reviewed UN action with regard to governance and sustainable development. The Assembly endorsed the working group's proposals for further action. The area of major conflict continued to be the Great Lakes region, which was again dominated by events in the DRC, where war involved several opposition forces and troops from six neighbouring countries. Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda supported opposition groups in the DRC, and the Government was supported by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The Security Council dispatched a mission to eight countries of the region in May to assess the situation and make recommendations for resuming the road to peace. In January, President Laurent-Désiré Kabila was assassinated, and his son, Joseph Kabila, replaced him. Those events and statements by the new President were followed by a reduction in fighting; the opposing sides began disengaging from the confrontation line and Namibia and Uganda had withdrawn many of their troops from DRC territory by the end of the year. The United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) was thus able to take up the next phase of its mandate—the observation and monitoring of the disarmament, demobilization and resettlement of combatants—which required the expansion of its peacekeeping force, and the Council extended the Mission's mandate until 15 June 2002. The ceasefire held in most of the country, with the exception of eastern DRC, where violations increased in late 2001. The factions and other interested parties met in an inter-Congolese dialogue on 15 October, but did not consider substantive issues. In Burundi, the conflict between government forces and armed opposition groups continued, despite their agreement in 2000 to cease hostilities. The Facilitator of the peace process in that country, Nelson Mandela, intensified efforts to resolve the conflict and was able to bring the parties together to agree on a transitional government, which was installed on 1 November under a power-sharing formula. The conflict in the DRC also continued to affect Rwanda, which maintained that its troops in the DRC were necessary to preserve its own security. The situation inside Rwanda remained calm and the Government focused on a transition to democracy and overhauling the justice system. The internal situation of the Central African Republic deteriorated in 2001 as a result of an attempted coup d’etat in May and other manifestations of political opposition. The lack of dialogue between the country's political stakeholders was a serious obstacle to the sustainability of the democratic institutions established a year before, and the country's economic situation was dire. The United Nations Peace-building Support Office in the Central African Republic, established in 2000, continued to support the Government's efforts to consolidate peace and national reconciliation. Tensions also rose in West Africa in early 2001, especially in Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone. However, there was encouraging progress towards peace and stability later in the year, especially in Sierra Leone. The Secretary-General dispatched an inter-agency mission to the region in March, which visited 11 countries and remarked on the stability of the political and security situation in the Mano River Union countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone), Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau and the Casamance region of Senegal. The mission urged the international community to adopt an integrated regional approach to prevent, manage and contribute to resolving the many conflicts in the region. Acting on its recommendations, the Secretary-General decided to establish the Office of the Special Representative for West Africa, as from January 2002. The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), the size and scope of which was expanded by the Council during 2001, maintained contacts with the Government and the main rebel group to follow up on the implementation of the 2000 Abuja Ceasefire Agreement. Progress was reported, and the withdrawal of forces and disarmament were nearly completed by the end of the year. In September, the Council extended UNAMSIL's mandate until March 2002. Cross-border fighting along Sierra Leone's boundaries with Guinea and Liberia flared up in early 2001 but abated following a dialogue among the three countries. Acting on the Government's suggestion, the Secretary-General pursued efforts to establish a Special Court for Sierra Leone and decided to send a planning mission to that country in January 2002. In addition, the United Nations provided support for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone, also expected to begin work in 2002. Fighting in northern Liberia in early 2001 threatened the border regions in Guinea and Sierra Leone, as did Liberia's assistance to rebels in Sierra Leone. Liberia's support included exporting rough diamonds obtained in Sierra Leone, which reportedly financed the rebels' military efforts. The Council, in March, demanded that Liberia cease its support of the rebels and imposed an arms embargo against Liberia and sanctions against importing diamonds from Liberia. The tension between the Mano River Union countries decreased following ministerial meetings that began in August. The Government of Guinea-Bissau, which had been formed in 2000 in accordance with the 1998 Abuja Peace Accord, remained precarious in 2001. The United Nations Peace-building Support Office in Guinea-Bissau continued to report on developments within the country and along its border with Senegal. The Horn of Africa remained calm but tense in 2001. The subregion was beset by problems and struggled to overcome disputes, both bilateral, as in the case of the border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and internal, as in Somalia. Eritrea and Ethiopia generally continued to abide by the Peace Agreement they had signed in December 2000, but progress in its implementation was slow, particularly with regard to the demarcation of the boundary. The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) monitored the ceasefire and the Temporary Security Zone between the two countries. In late 2001, Eritrea restricted movement of UNMEE in certain areas. The humanitarian situation in Angola deteriorated significantly in 2001 as the conflict between the Government and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) intensified and UNITA guerrilla attacks, particularly against civilians, increased in frequency. The number of people displaced as a result of the civil strife rose to 4.1 million by the end of the year. Matters changed towards the latter part of the year when the Government gained the upper hand in the fighting and reportedly moved into much of the area previously under UNITA control. The United Nations hoped that the new situation would provide a window of opportunity to advance the peace process and set the stage for elections. The Security Council, through its Sanctions Committee and the Monitoring Mechanism, continued to investigate violations of the sanctions against UNITA. The United Nations pursued efforts to hold 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 was negligible. The Secretary-General's Personal Envoy proposed a different approach—for Morocco to retain responsibility for foreign relations, national security and defence, while executive, legislative and judicial bodies in the Territory would have competence over local issues. Morocco indicated its support for the plan, while POLISARIO and Algeria objected to it on the grounds that it provided for the integration of Western Sahara into Morocco. Meanwhile, the United Nations continued its work on identifying eligible voters for holding a referendum. In January, the Scottish Court sitting in the Netherlands concluded its trial of two nationals of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya accused of plotting the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. One of the accused was found guilty and the other not guilty. The Council, in September, having taken into account the Sudan's efforts to cooperate with the international community by acceding to antiterrorism conventions, to improve relations with neighbouring countries and to discharge its obligations under various Council resolutions, terminated the sanctions it had imposed against that country in 1996.
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2001. v. 55; Vol. 55
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