Statement by Turkey on ‘‘Silencing the Guns in Africa: Cooperation Between the United Nations and Regional Organizations: How can the association between the United Nations and the African Union contribute to a continent free of conflict?’’

Rauf Alp Denktaş 27.02.2019
Mr. President,

Turkey has co-sponsored resolution 2457 adopted this morning, and aligned itself with the statement by the European Union. The following are our additional national remarks.

First, I would like to express our appreciation to your Presidency, for convening this open debate on an issue of great importance for the UN and the member states. Debates like today’s testify to the willingness of the international community to pursue the ambitious, but noble goal of creating an African continent free of conflict.

We value the partnership between the UN and the African Union and other regional and sub-regional bodies in the continent. Turkey encourages the expansion of the United Nations-African Union partnership in areas such as institutional capacity building, security sector reform, protection of civilians, human rights, gender mainstreaming and combatting organized crime. This is crucial for tackling the root causes of conflicts, terrorism and violent extremism, and fostering peace and stability. In this sense, African Union’s “Silencing the Guns by 2020” initiative is a bold step in the right direction.
Mr. President,
Peacekeeping is an area where the collaboration between the United Nations and the African Union is most visible. Indeed, the African Union has become an established player in peacekeeping efforts.
We all acknowledge that restoring and maintaining peace in Africa is challenging. These are conducted in degraded security environments, as we have sadly seen in the attack perpetrated recently against peacekeepers from MINUSMA near Bamako. I would like to pay tribute to United Nations peacekeepers who lost their lives and put their lives at risk in the line of duty.
We have already witnessed the positive effects of a tangible cooperation between the UN and the AU on a number of cases. Nowhere is this more evident than in Somalia, where, AMISOM, working in collaboration with the Somali National Army, has created the political space and helped enabling the environment in which Somalia is laying the groundwork to recover and work towards stability.
The International community must be vigilant to protect the hard-fought gains and investments in post-conflict areas recovering from devastating wars.
Our commitment to support the positive changes in the Continent should be unwavering. It will have far-reaching effects in improving the stability of the region in building a lasting peace and the normalization of relations among the countries in the region.
The international community, the UN and regional and subregional organizations all have a role to play in helping to forge conditions that enable reconciliation, through the various instruments at their disposal, including prevention, mediation and resolution of conflicts. We acknowledge the collaboration between the UN and the African Union as a model of cooperation which will offer useful lessons in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. In this regard, we commend the African Union’s efforts to further strengthen all existing diplomacy tools, including ‘‘the Panel of the Wise’’ and ‘‘the Continental Early Warning System’’.
I also wish to underline the importance of the UN Program of Action on Small and Light Weapons and the Arms Trade Treaty which Turkey has signed and hopes to ratify in the period ahead.
Mr. President,
Mediation is at its best when we complement each other’s efforts and facilitate ongoing endeavors, instead of competing and duplicating.
Turkey, together with Finland, co-chairs the Group of Friends of Mediation. With our extensive diplomatic network across the continent, we will continue to support diplomacy, mediation and other tools in the peaceful settlement of disputes in Africa. Turkey will continue to be an active member of the UN and a close partner of the African Union in the pursuit of ‘‘silencing the guns’’ and end conflict on the African continent.
I thank you Mr. President.