Statement by Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the Security Council Open Debate on the African Union-United Nations Panel Report regarding the modalities of support to Afrıcan unıon peacekeeping operations under a Unıted natıons mandate

Baki İlkin 18.03.2009
Mr. President,

Let me start by thanking you for convening today's open debate on the report of the African Union-United Nations panel regarding the modalities of support to AU peacekeeping operations under a UN mandate.

I would also like to thank H.E. Mr. Ramtane Lamamra, Commissioner for the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Foreign Minister of South Africa, and of course the Chairman of the Panel, H.E. Mr. Romano Prodi, for their participation and contributions to this important and timely debate.

Mr. President,

In today's volatile and fragile security environment, effective peacekeeping is of vital importance to maintain international peace and security. In this context, there is no doubt about the role and responsibility of the UN in leading these efforts. However, many UN peacekeeping missions throughout the world encounter certain human, material and financial constraints. Moreover, the ever-growing demand for peacekeeping around the globe, coupled with increasingly robust and demanding mandates, imply that constraints may persist in the years to come.

Against this background, it is imperative for the UN to enhance its peacekeeping capabilities, including through establishing new coalitions and partnerships in the area of peacekeeping. In fact, this is a commitment and challenge that we have collectively undertaken under Article 170 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. Turkey, therefore, supports the call for the establishment of more effective arrangements between the UN and regional organizations having complementary peacekeeping capabilities.

In this context, we congratulate H.E. Mr. Prodi as well as other members of the Panel for their thorough and analytic report on the role that the African Union can play in peacekeeping and the support the UN can provide to this undertaking. As such, the report addresses the key issues in a comprehensive way. Thus, rather than repeating them, I will just say that we concur with all the basic findings of the report, as well as the thrust of its recommendations.

In particular, we support the visionary recommendations of the Panel aimed at not only developing a more effective partnership between the UN and the African Union on peacekeeping, but also on conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction. Furthermore, we share the views concerning the need to enhance African peacekeeping capabilities. The success of all these efforts requires support from the relevant UN bodies and organs, as well as from the Member States.

Mr. President,

The UN has embarked upon a comprehensive review, aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping operations. As a matter of fact, the Secretary-General has invited the members of the Security Council and high-level administrators of the Secretariat to a retreat this weekend to discuss this issue. As a major troop- and police-contributing country, Turkey actively follows the review process. In this framework, we believe that development of an effective partnership between the UN and the African Union, as well as the enhancement of AU's peacekeeping capabilities should constitute an integral part of this process.

Among others, one of the crucial aspects of long-term capacity building is, of course, funding. Hence, the priority of the Panel to examine the difficulties in this area is well-placed. Indeed, provision of predictable and sustainable funding to support AU'S peacekeeping efforts is of importance for the success of this endeavor. We believe that the recommendations contained in the report regarding this particular aspect are of significance and merit due and in-depth consideration.

In other words, we believe that the Panel report depicts the serious challenges standing in the way of an effective African peacekeeping, as well as the opportunities and prospects it entails. Therefore, the thought-provoking recommendations included in the report with a view to overcoming those difficulties should be fully taken into account in our own review. Accordingly, we hope that, following the evaluation of the Secretary-General, a joint UN-AU team can soon be established to examine these recommendations and how best to implement them.

Mr. President,

Investing on African Union's peacekeeping capacity means investing in the security, stability and thus in the future of this great continent. It is a sound investment that will surely pay off, as the African continent fully develops its own capabilities.

Turkey is ready and willing to do its fair share in this regard. The rapidly developing relations between Turkey and the African countries, as evident by African Union's declaration of Turkey as one of its three strategic partners, provides us ample ground to build upon. And we are committed to do so.

Thank you.