Mr. Koenders will serve as Mr. Ban’s Special Representative in the country and will lead the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA), which is tasked with supporting the political process in the country, in close coordination with the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The Mission will help the Malian authorities to implement the transitional roadmap towards the full restoration of constitutional order, democratic governance and national unity. This includes the holding of elections in July, confidence-building and facilitation of reconciliation at the national and local levels.
Mr. Koenders has been the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) since October 2011. To fill Mr. Koenders’ post in Côte d’Ivoire, Mr. Ban is appointing Aichatou Mindaoudou Souleymane of Niger, who has been serving as Deputy Joint Special Representative in the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
Also today, Mr. Ban announced that Haile Menkerios of South Africa will be his new Special Representative and Head of the UN Office to the African Union (UNOAU). Mr. Menkerios will also continue his current assignment as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.
Mr. Menkerios will replace Zachary Muburi-Muita, to whom Mr. Ban is grateful for his dedicated service with UNOAU since its establishment in 2010 and for deepening the African Union-UN strategic partnership.
Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz of Brazil was also appointed today by Mr. Ban as Force Commander of the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
Lieutenant General Santos Cruz succeeds Lieutenant General Chander Prakash Wadhwa of India, who completed his assignment on 31 March. Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedicated and effective service during his tenure of over two years in MONUSCO.
13 May 2013 From the Horn of Africa in the east and across the Sahel to the west, terrorism continues to pose a threat to the continent’s peace, security and development, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today as he warned that Africa was facing a rise in the presence of extremist groups and terrorist entities.
In remarks delivered to the United Nations Security Council’s open debate on combating terrorism in Africa, the Secretary-General said that success in the combat against groups such as the Nigeria-based Boko Haram, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, and the Somalia-based Al Shabaab would require greater and more holistic efforts.
“Military advances, important as they are, will not by themselves bring an end to terrorism in Africa. This struggle must go forward on many fronts, including by addressing the conditions that are conducive to the spread of terrorism,” Mr. Ban stressed, while adding that the lack of development and the absence of the rule of law allow terrorist groups to recruit across communities and build their ranks.
“Opportunistic links between terrorist and transnational organized criminal groups ensure the constant flow of people, money, weapons and illicit goods across borders, allowing such groups to survive and proliferate,” he continued.
Turning to the continent’s terrorist hotspots, Mr. Ban told the 15-Member Council that in Somalia, for example, there had already been “important progress towards stability” with the Islamist militant group, Al Shabaab uprooted from numerous strategic locations.
“But to secure these gains and prevent the group’s resurgence, a lot more needs to be accomplished with respect to the rule of law, development and the country’s political transformation,” he noted.
In particular, the UN chief underscored the role of the newly established UN Mission in Somalia in providing strategic policy guidance on security sector reform while also supporting the country’s nascent Federal Government in strengthening their police, justice and corrections.
As for Mali and the wider Sahel region, the Secretary-General similarly pointed out the international community’s successes in tackling a deteriorating situation with what he described as “welcome resolve.”
In December 2012, at the request of the Malian Government, the Security Council authorized the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali, known by its French acronym, AFISMA, in order to support national efforts to recover the country’s north, which had been occupied by radical Islamists.
The conflict uprooted hundreds of thousands of people and prompted the Malian Government to request assistance from France to stop the military advance of extremist groups.
As with Somalia, Mr. Ban suggested that the newly launched UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) would provide key support for the Malian authorities in extending state control and building “legitimate instruments of governance.”
In addition, he stated that in the Sahel, the UN was developing “an integrated strategy that aims to enhance governance; strengthen the capacity of national and regional security mechanisms; and integrate development and humanitarian activities in order to build resilience.”
“Without such a holistic approach, we risk simply pushing the threat from one area to another,” the Secretary-General concluded.
In a Presidential statement approved at the start of the meeting, members of the Security Council echoed Mr. Ban’s remarks by voicing deep concern at the increasing violence perpetrated by armed groups across Africa’s regions and sub-regions. They similarly called for an integrated response which would target development as much as it would security and include a wide variety of actors ranging from the international community to civil society groups.
“The Security Council recognizes that terrorism will not be defeated by military force or security forces, law enforcement measures, and intelligence operations alone,” the statement declared while underlining the need to address the conditions conducive to “strengthening efforts for the successful prevention and peaceful resolution of prolonged conflicts, and also promoting the rule of law, the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, good governance, tolerance and inclusiveness.”
As a result, the Council called on the Secretary-General to provide “a comprehensive survey and assessment” of the UN’s work in assisting Member States and sub-regional and regional entities across Africa in fighting the continent’s terrorist threats.
“The United Nations is strongly committed to doing its part to combat terrorism in Africa,” Mr. Ban reminded the Council during his remarks. “Success is crucial for enabling Africans to meet their aspirations to live in dignity and peace.”
9 May 2013 The mandate of the United Nations political mission in Guinea-Bissau should be adjusted to support a two-phase process towards full restoration of constitutional order and medium-term stability in the country, which last year faced a military coup, according to a report by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented to the Security Council today.
“It is important that the United Nations system and subregional, regional and international partners work together to support a responsible, legitimate and effective State, operating under the rule of law and able to provide security, essential services and economic opportunities to its people,” the report says.
Jose Ramos Horta, Special Representative for the Secretary-General and head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), who led an assessment of the Office’s mandate that was reflected in the text, today told the Security Council that if appropriate support is given towards more pro-active preventive diplomacy programmes, “Guinea-Bissau could become a shining example of a success story.”
Soldiers in Guinea-Bissau – a West African country with a history of coups, misrule and political instability since it gained independence from Portugal in 1974 – seized power on 12 April 2012.
The coup d’etat came ahead of a presidential run-off election that was slated for 22 April between Carlos Gomes Júnior and a former President, Kumba Yala, prompting calls from the international community for a return to civilian rule.
According to the Secretary-General’s recommendations, the first phase of the restoration of constitutional order and stability would culminate in presidential and legislative elections, and focus on creating “a political environment built on confidence and non-interference in the electoral process.”
“It is my humble view that the problem of Guinea-Bissau should be squarely placed at the feet of the political elite who have failed their people for almost four decades,” Mr. Ramos-Horta told the 15-member Council.
He added that it was “imperative” that the Security Council and the UN Member States support Guinea-Bissau towards the elections. He also urged the Council to give “serious consideration” to the Government’s request that the UN take leadership in the electoral process “so as to avoid possible elections-related disputes or violence.”
Speaking earlier today to UN Radio, Mr. Ramos-Horta said the UN has been working with the African Union and other partners to see how to assist Guinea-Bissau “fast track the process of transition into elections” which he hopes will be held by November.
He also praised the African Union, which recently said it could restate the country’s membership after barring its participation in the regional bloc a week after military leaders seized power.
The second phase proposed by the Secretary-General, which would conclude at the end of the term of the next elected Government, should focus on post-election stability, on strengthening State and democratic governance institutions – notably security, justice and defence – and on the functioning of both central and local State structures.
Addressing the Security Council, Mr. Ramos-Horta urged the international community to provide support for post-election rebuilding of the key institutions of the State, including through collocation of international experts for a period up to five years.
He also urged a “major re-thinking” of the Defence Forces “based on a sober analysis of the security needs of the country and adjusted to the financial resources available.” While the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is taking the lead in this process, Mr. Ramos-Horta noted that there are other partners outside the region who are “ready to contribute towards a new national army that is more professional, imbued with a democratic culture, smaller, less costly and yet more effective.”
Among other top priorities in the country, the Secretary-General highlighted the negative impact of transnational organized crime and drug trafficking on peace, stability and development efforts in Guinea-Bissau.
In his briefing, Mr. Ramos-Horta called for mobilization of “robust financial and human resources” to assist the authorities in Guinea-Bissau and the entire chain of handling of drugs from source countries through to consumption countries to face this challenge.”
In recent weeks, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) assisted with the arrest of former navy chief, Bubo Na Tchuto, and an indictment was put out for Guinea-Bissau’s Armed Forces Chief of General Staff, General Antonio Indija. Mr. Ramos-Horta called these events a “turning point” in the fight against drug trafficking.
Again speaking to UN Radio, Mr. Ramos-Horta said he supported efforts of countries such as the United States to “forcefully intervene” to curb the drug trade and noted that if a criminal gang uses Guinea-Bissau as transit point, “sooner or later, you will have someone, in this case the Americans, landing on your shores and taking action.”
He also gave a serious warning to people involved in the business to “start clearing everything, cooperating with authorities.”
The current mandate of UNIOGBIS, which was established in 2010 to replace the previous peacebuilding support office known as UNOGBIS, which in turn was put in place in 1999 after an 11-month civil war, expires later this month.