Statement by Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo, U.S. Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs, during an Open Security Council Debate on Mediation and the Settlement of Disputes, in the Security Council Chamber

Rosemary A. DiCarlo
United States U.S. Ambassador and Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
April 21, 2009


Mr. President, I would like to thank you for organizing this important debate. It will serve as a useful follow-up to a related session organized by the delegation of Burkina Faso last September. I’d also like to thank the Secretary-General for his report and for his commitment to strengthening UN capacity to resolve conflicts peacefully. My delegation appreciates Under Secretary-General Pascoe’s comments today and congratulates him for the Department of Political Affairs’ mediation efforts.

Of all the principles in the UN Charter, the peaceful settlement of disputes is among the most powerful. We all know the human and material toll of armed conflict. When countries are looking for ways to resolve their differences without violence, the international community bears a responsibility to support them. We also know that UN mediation and good offices missions have played a crucial role in ending many conflicts during the last twenty years. From these experiences, we have learned a great deal about how to make mediation effective and its results enduring.

For its part, the United States is steering a course that puts a new premium on energetic diplomacy to resolve some of the toughest issues we face. President Obama has spoken of “a new era of engagement,” and we are serious about listening to and speaking frankly with those with whom we have substantive differences. We have also named special envoys to lead our efforts to help resolve crises across the globe.

We welcome this debate today as an opportunity to look closely at ways in which the United Nations can better do its part to provide good offices and mediation. In this regard, we welcome the strengthening of the UN Department of Political Affairs, including the creation of its Mediation Support Standby Team, which can become one of the UN’s most effective new tools for early response to crises.

We also need to recognize and build into our plans the reality that the need for mediation rarely ends with a peace agreement or on the day that the Security Council establishes a UN mission. Rather, we should work to ensure that mediation capabilities are built into UN peacekeeping and peace-building operations.

The Secretary-General has raised the issue of the pursuit of peace and justice in his report. He rightly states that, when conflicts lead to gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, peace and justice are indivisible.

Mr. President, let me also offer a word on the role of women. The United States stands firmly committed to Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820, which stress the need for the active involvement of women in efforts to promote peace and security. We support those resolutions’ call to give women a larger decision-making role in conflict resolution. Mediation efforts that exclude women’s perspectives and deny them a seat at the table are likely to neglect issues that are vital to securing lasting peace. My government also welcomes the Secretary-General’s commitment to increase the number of women among the special representatives and envoys who pursue good offices on his behalf.

Mr. President, there are times when the United Nations will be in the best position to lead third-party efforts to support resolution of disputes. In some situations, other actors may be better suited, and we need to support the mediation capabilities of other institutions or members of the international community in this regard. Regional organizations are particularly important actors in mediation, as we are reminded by Chapter VIII of the Charter. Regional bodies are often more familiar with issues in their regions and able to deploy resources more quickly. We encourage the United Nations to continue to partner with regional organizations and other actors to seek timely and successful resolution of conflicts. We also need to work to develop national and local mediation capacities since disputes are often the most productively resolved at that level.

Smart, principled, and skilful mediation can reduce threats to peace and security, but all parties to the conflict must participate in good faith to achieve a truly lasting settlement. The Council has many tools at its disposal to deal with spoilers, and we need to work diligently to deploy these to greatest effect when they are needed to resolve crises and support peace processes.

Mr. President, the United States will continue to be an advocate for peaceful means of conflict resolution. We know that mediation is never easy. But we must work together to bring the conflicts and crises that trouble us all to a swift and durable resolution.

My delegation also supports the statement prepared by the delegation of Burkina Faso and thanks them for this initiative.

Thank you, Mr. President.



PRN: 2009/075