Remarks by John Kelley, Political Minister Counselor, at a UN Security Council Briefing on Cooperation Between the UN and Regional and Sub-Regional Organizations (AU)

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October 12, 2023

Thank you, Mr. President. And I’d like to thank our distinguished briefers SRSG Parfait, Ambassador Fatima, and Dr. Solomon for your insightful views on how to enhance and improve coordination and collaboration between the UN and the AU.

The United States shares the Secretary-General’s assessment that strong partnerships between our bodies are important to address global and regional challenges arising from climate change, food and energy insecurity, conflict, violence, and terrorism. This includes the Secretary-General’s recommendation that international financial institutions must evolve to advance their core mission of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, while also refocusing efforts on transnational challenges.

The Biden-Harris administration has taken great steps to scale up World Bank financing and expand resources for low- and middle-income countries. This will help boost progress toward meeting Sustainable Development Goals and better address interconnected challenges like climate change and fragility.

We applaud collaboration among the UN, the AU, regional economic communities, regional mechanisms, as well as other partners, in support of conflict prevention and mediation. We also welcome efforts to include women, youth, civil society, and other stakeholders in conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes, as outlined in the Secretary-General’s report.

The United States is deeply concerned about the recent trend of democratic backsliding in West Africa and in other parts of the continent. We reaffirm our commitment to working with African partners, including local leaders and civil society, regional bodies, and governments, to support democratic institutions. We recognize and support ECOWAS for leading efforts to bring about a solution that preserves constitutional order in Niger.

In Mali, we are deeply concerned by the rise in violence that has accompanied the mission’s drawdown. Mali has a responsibility to support MINUSMA’s safe and orderly withdrawal by fully cooperating with the UN and prioritizing the safety and security of peacekeepers. We also strongly urge the UN to prioritize the removal or disposal of lethal equipment and ammunition – which, if seized by bad actors, would only further destabilize the country and the region.

On Sudan, the United States joins the AU, IGAD, and partners in calling for the SAF and RSF to immediately end the fighting; adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law and respect human rights; and allow unhindered humanitarian access.

This is the time for the international community to stand with the AU, IGAD, and UN to consolidate pressure on the warring parties. The Security Council – and all Member States – must be more active in supporting the demands of the AU and IGAD for a ceasefire, humanitarian access, and a return to a democratic transition. We hope to see further cooperation between the AU and UN on Sudan in the Security Council.

Regional peace operations remain one of the most important tools to the international community to address new and emerging crises. And today, ATMIS continues to make a significant contribution to a more stable and secure Somalia.

At the same time, a lack of predictable and sustainable financing has hindered mandate delivery, constraining the potential for these missions to deliver on their promise. That is why the United States is committed to finding a way within appropriate parameters for UN assessed contributions to partially fund AU-led peace support operations authorized by this Council.

This arrangement must define the respective roles of the AU, the UN Security Council, the General Assembly, and the Secretariat in supporting an AU financing arrangement. It would enshrine commitments and responsibilities on human rights and define specific financial burden-sharing components. We welcome opportunities like this to further discuss our cooperation and paths forward.

The United States will continue to support close cooperation among the UN, regional organizations such as the AU, and sub-regional organizations to advance peace and security in Africa.

And with that I thank you, Mr. President.

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