UN and African Union Launch Joint Task Force on Peace and Security — Guinea Still on the Radar

UN and African Union launch joint task force on peace and security

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission

25 September 2010 – The United Nations and the African Union today launched a joint task force on peace and security as the two organizations continue to step up their cooperation in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding across the continent.

The Joint Task Force, launched at UN Headquarters in New York by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping, will meet twice a year at the senior level to review immediate and long-term strategic issues.

Mr. Ban and Mr. Ping noted in a press release that they were determined to strengthen existing cooperation between the two organizations beyond the “groundbreaking joint efforts in Sudan, Guinea and Somalia.”

A joint peacekeeping force has operated in Sudan’s Darfur region (known as UNAMID) since the start of 2008, while the UN provides support to the troops of the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

In Guinea, the two organizations work together with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to try to promote peace and democratization in the fragile West African nation.

Mr. Ban and Mr. Ping approved terms of reference for the new task force, which will conduct its first consultations on Tuesday in New York, coinciding with this year being declared by the AU as the Year of Peace and Security in Africa.

The task force’s programme of work will be mapped out in coordination with the newly established UN Office to the AU and the AU’s Permanent Observer Mission to the UN.

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UN Head, Ban, Calls for Resolution of Obstacles to Guinea’s Run-Off Vote

http://allafrica.com/stories/printable/201009161032.html

UN News Service (New York)

Guinea: Ban Calls for Resolution of Obstacles to Presidential Election Run-Off

16 September 2010


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on authorities in Guinea to swiftly resolve all technical and logistical obstacles to holding the run-off round of presidential polls – which has just been postponed by electoral officials – so it can be staged as soon as possible.

Mr. Ban noted the decision yesterday of Guinean electoral authorities to delay the run-off, originally scheduled to take place this Sunday, citing technical reasons, according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.

Addressing any outstanding technical or logistical challenges is now vital “to create the conditions necessary for the holding of transparent and credible elections as soon as possible,” the statement noted.

Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Conde will contest the run-off after they scored the highest number of votes of 24 candidates who entered the first round in June, widely considered to be the first free elections in a country plagued by misrule and dictatorship since independence in 1958.

In his statement Mr. Ban warned that anyone who tries to “disrupt an orderly and peaceful transition would be held accountable by Guineans and by the international community as a whole.”

He urged Guineans to exercise utmost restraint during the remainder of the presidential campaign and to refrain from violence or acts of incitement.

Violent clashes on the weekend in the capital, Conakry, claimed at least one life and injured dozens of others.

The head of Guinea’s electoral commission also reportedly died overnight on Monday, a week after being convicted of falsifying results in the first round of the presidential ballot.

Said Djinnit, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, is holding consultations by phone with the key stakeholders in Guinea, including the two presidential candidates, members of the Government, electoral authorities and the UN Country Team as part of the UN’s role to support efforts to resolve the current crisis.

He is also speaking with his counterparts from the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to coordinate their response.

Mr. Djinnit was to travel today to Guinea but he postponed his visit to allow for consultations. He travelled instead to Abuja, Nigeria, to further discuss the issue with AU and ECOWAS on the margin of an ECOWAS summit. He is expected to make a high-level visit in the coming days.

Yesterday he voiced concern to the UN News Centre about the recent violence and political tensions and urged Guinea’s political parties not to waste the opportunities to make progress.

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African Union Chair, Jean Ping, “Pleased” with Guinea Poll Run-Off Date

Guinea: Jean Ping ‘pleased’ with Guinea poll run-off date

The chairman of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, says he is ‘pleased’ with the run-off date for Guinea’s presidential vote, a ccording to a statement made available to PANA in Dakar on Friday.

The 19 September date was agreed as a consensus between the various interest groups and he urged all sides involved in the election to draw on lessons from the f irst round and make all arrangements to effectively implement the recommendations made to guarantee legality, transparency and credibility of the poll.

Mr Ping launched ‘an urgent appeal’ to the candidates – Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Conde – their active members and supporters and all Guinean stakeholders to show moderation, restraint and sense of responsibility and to contribute to create the conditions needed to hold a campaign and election.

African heads of state and government, during their 15th ordinary summit held from 25 to 27 July in Kampala, the Ugandan capital, stressed the need to quickly hold the run-off of the Guinean presidential election.

Guinea to Send Troops to African Union Force in Somalia

Guinea to send troops to AU force in Somalia
AFP

 Fri Jul 23, 6:43 am ET

KAMPALA (AFP) – Guinea is ready to immediately deploy a battalion to Mogadishu to boost the troubled African Union peacekeeping force in the Somali capital, AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping said Friday.

“Guinea is ready to immediately dispatch a battalion,” Ping said at a press conference in Kampala, two days before AU heads of state officially launch the continental body’s 15th summit.

“We are going to quickly top the 8,000 mark… I think the current trend could take us over 10,000,” he added.

There are currently more than 6,000 troops in the African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which was first deployed in 2007 and currently consists only of Ugandan and Burundian soldiers.

The force, whose mandate is mainly to protect the Western-backed Somali transitional federal government, has been unable to pin back the insurgents and guarantee any kind of stability in Mogadishu.

The Shebab, an Al Qaeda-linked insurgent group, claimed responsibility for suicide blasts that ripped through crowds watching the football World Cup final on July 11, killing 76 people in the region’s deadliest attacks in years.

They said the bombings were retaliation for Uganda’s leading role in AMISOM, which has been the only thing preventing the rebels from overrunning the last few blocks still controlled by the government.

But instead of bullying contributing nations into pulling their troops out, the attacks spurred fresh calls for the continent to further support AMISOM by sending it more troops and making its mandate more robust.

GUINEA: UN Security Council Hails Progress Towards Resolving Political Crisis

Security Council hails progress towards resolving political crisis in Guinea

16 February 2010 – The Security Council today welcomed “recent positive developments” in Guinea, which has been gripped by unrest since Government forces opened fire on unarmed protesters last year, killing at least 150 people, and urged the transitional authorities in the West African country to prevent any further violence pending elections.

In a presidential statement read out by Ambassador Gérard Araud of France, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for February, the 15-member body hailed moves taken by the interim president, General Sekouba Konaté, including the formation of a national unity government led by a civilian prime minister, Jean-Marie Doré, named by the opposition, and the holding of elections within six months.

“It looks forward to the timely restoration of the normal constitutional order in a peaceful manner through a civilian-led transition,” the statement said. “It calls upon the international community to bring its support to the Guinean authorities led by interim President Sekouba Konaté and Prime Minister Jean-Marie Doré, including with regard to comprehensive security and justice sector reforms, upon request from the Guinean authorities…

“It urges the national authorities to prevent any further violence, and uphold the rule of law, including promotion, protections and respect for human rights and due process and stressed their obligations towards the victims and witnesses.”

On 29 September, Guinea’s armed forces shot and killed or raped and attacked hundreds of civilian demonstrators attending a rally in the capital, Conakry, sparking international outrage and prompting Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to set up the International Commission of Inquiry to investigate the events.

Captain Dadis Camara – who seized power in a coup in 2008 following the death of long-time president Lansana Conté – survived an assassination attempt in the interim and is currently in exile.

The Council welcomed the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and President Blaise Compaoré of nearby Burkina Faso in helping to resolve the crisis.

Liberian President Wants Int’l. Support for Guinea – AU, UN, ECOWAS Reps. in Conakry Talking Security Reform and Elections

Liberian President Wants International Support for Guinea

Scott Stearns | Dakar 02 February 2010

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, right, enters the UN Conference Hall during  the closing ceremony, for the 14th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, in Ethiopia, 02 Feb 201
Photo: AP

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, right, enters the UN Conference Hall during the closing ceremony, for the 14th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, in Ethiopia, 02 Feb 2010

Liberia’s president says the transitional government in neighboring Guinea needs international support to hold elections in June that are meant to end more than a year of military rule. 

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says the Economic Community of West African States will help Guinea return to constitutional rule through a transitional government led jointly by the country’s acting military leader and its new civilian prime minister.

“Let me say I am very pleased in the progress that we have made in Guinea.  I am the current chair of the Manu River Union countries, which comprises Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Cote d’Ivoire.  And so I have been able to have active participation in the consultations and mediations that have led to where we are today,” she said.

President Sirleaf spoke in Ethiopia at an African Union summit that discussed Guinea.

A joint mission by the African Union, the United Nations, and the Economic Community of West Africa States is in Conakry to see how it can support security reform and new elections.

The mission is led by Senegalese General Lamine Cisse who met with Guinea’s new civilian prime minister Jean-Marie Dore to discuss the transition process.  State-run television says the men discussed how outside civilian observers can best help reform the Guinean military and when such work will begin.

Prime Minister Dore told the general the interim authority is determined to “see the dream come true” of a return to constitutional rule following the military coup that brought to power Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.

Captain Camara is in Burkina Faso recovering from being shot by the former head of the presidential guard, who says Captain Camara was trying to blame him for the killing of opposition protesters in September.

A U.N. inquiry into that violence says there are sufficient grounds for presuming direct criminal responsibility by Captain Camara and other members of the ruling military council.

The International Contact Group on Guinea is backing the transitional government.  But the group says moving forward toward a political solution should not mean impunity for those who organized September’s killing and rape of unarmed demonstrators.

UN Secretary-General’s Address at the African Union Summit

Ban commits UN to harnessing support for African development needs

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses African Union Summit, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

31 January 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today pledged to mobilize support to tackle the critical challenges threatening peace and posperity across Africa, including extreme poverty, economic and social well-being, and the ravages of climate change.

In remarks to the opening of the African Union Summit, Mr. Ban highlighted the United Nations gathering in September on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a set of internationally agreed targets to eradicate poverty and other social ills by 2015.

The September Summit on the MDGs will take place along with the opening of the General Assembly, where leaders of the 192 UN Member States meet each year at its Headquarters in New York.

“We have made great strides toward the Millennium Development Goals, but there is not much time to the 2015 deadline, and still much distance to travel,” Mr. Ban said in his message to the 14th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The global rececession, energy crisis, food insecurity and climate change have all made development more difficult and more urgent, he told more than 50 heads of State and Government attending the three-day meeting.

“Now is the critical time to mobilize action,” he stressed, adding that the September Summit will focus on harnessing support for the success of the MDGs, identifying gaps that need urgent attention, emphasizing priority areas for action and building a coalition capable of taking action.

“We have seen a sharp decrease in malaria and measles deaths across the continent, vital gains in primary school enrollment [and] marked improvements in child health,” said Mr. Ban.

He noted, however, that too many “women still die in childbirth, too many children still never live to see their fifth birthday, and too many women are unable to realize their full potential,” underscoring the need for donors to deliver on their promises.

Productive employment and decent work for all Africans, especially for women and young people, should be the development priority for the continent, said Mr. Ban.

“The most important employment sector remains agriculture, with more than half of the workforce,” said Mr. Ban. “And of course, we must invest in women and girls. When we empower women, we empower Africa.”

The Secretary-General also commended the African Union Summit for highlighting the potential of knowledge and Information and Communication technology (ICTs) in spurring development.

In addition, Mr. Ban announced the creation of the MDG Advocacy Group, consisting of eminent personalities from all walks of life who will “sound the global call for action” at the September Summit and put their influence to work for the cause.

Turning to global warming, Mr. Ban praised nations which signed the Copenhagen Accord at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in December and urged others to follow suite, stressing that nowhere are the linkages between sustainable development and climate clearer than in Africa.

“African nations are among the least responsible yet the most susceptible to climate change impacts,” he said. “We must keep up the momentum towards achieving a binding global climate agreement as soon as possible.”

Highlighting the need of developing countries to rapidly scale-up their clean energy programmes and their need for significant support to adapt to the consequences of climate change, Mr. Ban said some $30 billion is slated for immediate circulation over the next three years.

“Looking forward, $100 billion annually is to be mobilized per year by 2020 for developing countries,” he added. “We hope to move quickly to secure these resources and implement programmes on the ground.”

In a wide-ranging speech, Mr. Ban also promoted the effectiveness of conflict prevention over intervention between warring parties, pointing to the recent successful cooperation between the UN, AU and other partners in Guinea.

“I strongly urge our partners to support the transition, prepare for the elections and implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry that investigated the 28 September massacres in Conakry,” he said, adding that of the 13 African nations scheduled to hold elections in the next two years, six are in countries with UN peacekeeping or peacebuilding operations.

Mr. Ban said that he attended a mini-summit earlier on Sunday on the future of Sudan, where time is of the essence,” he stressed. “The elections are just three months away [and] the two referenda to determine the future shape of Sudan are in just under a year.”

At the same time, millions continue to be displaced in Darfur, noted Mr. Ban, expressing approval that African leaders supported UN efforts to secure a peaceful resolution to the Sudanese North-South and Darfurian conflicts.