Statements and Speeches
Statement by Mr. Mahlatse Mminele, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations on Security Council Open Debate: Peacekeeping Operations-Facing Asymmetrical Threats
7 November 2016, New York
My delegation would like to congratulate Senegal for assuming the Presidency of the Security Council and expresses its appreciation for convening this important and timely debate on Peacekeeping Operations and the Asymmetrical threats facing them. We would also like to thank the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Senegal, Minister Mankeur Ndiaye for his statement and Mr Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations for his pertinent remarks.
My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and wishes to make the following additional remarks in our national capacity.
In the seventy years since the establishment of the United Nations, the need for this organisation to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” has never been greater. This is manifested by the proliferation of conflicts and deployment of more than 125,000 personnel, in 38 United Nations political and peacekeeping missions.
South Africa holds the view that peacekeepers should be deployed in support of political or peace processes thus working for the objective of sustainable peace. We wish to state from the onset that it remains the primary responsibility of States to protect civilians within their borders, including against terrorist threats. As emphasized in the 2015 High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO), United Nations Missions should not be mandated to conduct military counter-terrorism operations because they are not suited for such actions.
The nature of conflict is evolving and new asymmetrical threats to global peace and security continue to emerge which threaten the peace and stability of states and regions. Recent acts of terrorism across the world and against peacekeeping missions have exposed the callous and heinous nature of terrorism. South Africa stands firmly with the rest of the international community in its condemnation of these attacks and reiterates its stance that terrorism, in whatever form and from whatever quarter must be condemned.
The United Nations is presently deployed in a multitude of environments where it faces asymmetric and violent threats as in Somalia, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Afghanistan. As the body entrusted with the deployment of UN peacekeeping operations, the Security Council must ensure that these operations are fully resourced and entrusted with the appropriate mandate in order to respond to context specific environments in which they are deployed.
As a Troop Contributing Country, South Africa believes that we have a responsibility to ensure that our troops have the capacity to operate in a secure environment. In the context of asymmetric threats where our troops and UN personnel are vulnerable and the mandate of the peace operation is threatened, the mission must be sufficiently resourced and equipped to protect themselves and defend its mandate.
Also, if peace processes are obstructed and non-military protection tools are inadequate, peacekeeping missions with an explicit mandate to protect civilians must play their part in the protection of civilians including through the use of force, as part of a robust response to these threats.
Clarity must be sought with regard to the concept of “stabilization.” Numerous Missions seem to struggle in finding a working balance between stabilization and military tasks bearing in mind that stabilization requires additional civilian and police activities within the ambit of Security Sector Reform. There is thus a need for greater understanding surrounding the context and planning of a peacekeeping mission before deployment.
Furthermore in this modern age we should make use of all relevant resources including the use of technology in order to enhance the effectiveness of UN peace operations in responding to asymmetrical threats. The deployment of MONUSCO’s Force Intervention Brigade is a credible example of success that could be achieved to address potential threats to the peace mission.
South Africa recognizes that the primary responsibility for international peace and security lies within the United Nations Security Council. However, at the same time it is often regional organisations such as the African Union who are first responders and deploy early in order to stabilize conflict situations, as necessary, thereby enabling the United Nations to deploy when conditions are more favourable. Concerning therefore, is the reluctance of this Council to fully fund AU-led peace operations that are carried out on behalf of the international community.
In this regard, South Africa calls for the use of UN assessed contributions to secure predictable sustainable and flexible financing for AU peace operations as authorized by the UN Security Council.
In conclusion, Mr President,
My country reiterates its view that terrorism and violent extremism cannot be defeated militarily and cannot be dealt with solely through the use of force or coercive measures. We believe that the only way for collective efforts to succeed is to address the root causes, through international cooperation.
Promoting political solutions aimed at resolving conflict and creating the conditions for a better future over the long-term will go a long way to counter asymmetrical threats.I thank you.