Thank you very much, Mr. President, for convening this important debate today. Let me also thank the Secretary-General for his report and briefing. My thanks as well to the African Union’s Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Lamamra, for his important contributions to today’s discussion.
The United States commends the African nations that provide resources, police officers, and troops to support vital peacekeeping missions on the continent. In particular, we applaud the major deployment of more than 7,000 Ugandan and Burundian troops in Somalia and the critical work being done together by UNAMID. These contributions have improved security and saved lives across the continent, and they are helping to prevent threats to international peace and security from spreading further.
Mr. President, the United States fully supports strengthening the strategic relationship between the UN and the AU. We are encouraged to see improved communication and collaboration between the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council. We also welcome the increased frequency with which African Union officials have briefed the Security Council and UN Special Representatives have briefed the AU Peace and Security Council. My government also supports the UN’s continued assistance to the AU in the development of the Continental Early Warning System—which, once it becomes operational, will further enhance the African Union’s ability to prevent conflict.
The United States is fully dedicated to supporting the African Union as it grapples with the complex challenges of illicit drug trafficking and post-conflict reconstruction in Africa. We also strongly support plans to enhance joint operational efforts to counter the Lord's Resistance Army. And my government firmly supports the African Union’s operations in Guinea Bissau, Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Somalia.
Let me just say a few words about Somalia. The Djibouti Peace Process has moved forward, and parts of Mogadishu have remained outside extremist control because of AMISOM’s efforts. This partnership between the UN and the AU has allowed both organizations to accomplish more than they could have on their own. It is in our collective interest to support this partnership, and we welcome the opportunity to review its progress and consider ways to make it more effective. The United States will continue its strong bilateral support to AMISOM’s troop-contributing countries. But securing sustainable, predictable, and flexible financing remains a key challenge to the AU’s capacity to undertake effective peacekeeping operations.
Mr. President, the United States commitment to supporting the vision of the Africa Standby Force and contributing to AU operations is broad and deep. Since 2005, the United States has provided more than $940 million to support ongoing African Union operations in Darfur and Somalia and capacity-building through the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program. United States support for building up capacity for the Africa Standby Force is focused at all three levels: continental, sub-regional, and member state. My government welcomes the ongoing simulation and evaluation exercise known as Amani Africa, which we see as an important first step toward that goal.
Going forward, we expect that the UN Office to the AU in Addis Ababa will help make the UN support to the AU better coordinated and more effective, especially in the area of financial management. This will help ensure that the AU has the capacity to use donor support effectively even as we improve cooperation and coordination. We also support making more and better use of the AU Partners Group in Addis Ababa to help make donor funding for the AU Commission more sustainable and predictable.
We should also work together to further enhance the AU Secretariat’s capacity to plan, manage, and sustain peacekeeping operations. We must identify areas that need additional support and attention from African and other partners, including logistics, mobility, and mission management. We encourage continued efforts to operationalize the African Standby Force and the United States will continue to support capacity building and encourage others to support resource-intensive endeavors.
Mr. President, the United States would like to explore the possibility of better links between the United Nations and African Union capabilities. We support a detailed analysis of the operational, budgetary, human resources, and legal implications of letting AU peace-support operations authorized by this Council have access to the UN Logistics Base in Brindisi, increased UN technical expertise, UN Strategic Deployment stocks, and UN strategic lift capabilities, as recommended by DPKO. We would like to examine these preparatory reports as soon as they are available.
We also urge all those who seek peace and security to pay greater attention to the protection of civilians caught up in conflict and war. We applaud efforts to incorporate doctrine on protecting civilians into all aspects of the AU's peace-support operations and related activities.
The United States has increased efforts to deploy formed police units in Africa. Protecting civilians and responding to gender-based violence requires stronger advocacy and program efforts at the AU and in the preparation of peacekeepers. We support doing more to enhance the civilian and police dimensions of peacekeeping in Africa.
Finally, the United States encourages the United Nations to continue its work with the African Union as it develops its Peace and Security Architecture and the African Standby Force.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.
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