Monday, April 18, 2011

Gill's Notes::G8 Finance Ministers issue statement on Africa 26th June 2009


We shall work in order to create the conditions for transforming present problems in Africa into new opportunities for cooperation and development. We look forward to engaging African countries as partners on equal footing. We saluted recent efforts by African partners in strengthening governance in Africa, in building the capacities of continental and sub-regional organizations and in addressing situations of armed conflict. The G8 welcomed: recent free and fair elections in the region; the continuing implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism and other initiatives associated with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and its integration with the activities of the African Union; and historically-high levels of regional economic growth in recent years. 

These examples underscore the positive results that can be achieved when progressive national leadership is supported by sustained international engagement. Nevertheless, and notwithstanding these important successes, we expressed deep concern about the persistence of undemocratic transfers of power in Africa and commended the principled opposition of African partners, particularly the African Union, Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to these extra-constitutional changes of government. We call on the regimes which have taken power by such means to allow the restoration of constitutional order through free, fair and transparent elections as soon as possible.

We remain conscious of the political and economic challenges still confronting Africa – especially in the context of the food and economic crisis – and underscore the need for continued international cooperation in addressing them. We shall devote a special attention to protection of human rights, particularly on the most vulnerable such as children and women.

We remain seized of a number of specific situations.

Somalia - Sharing a deep concern over long-standing instability and the humanitarian crisis in Somalia, we reiterated our strong support to the Transitional Federal Government and its efforts aimed at securing an inclusive process of national reconciliation and sustainable peace. We recognise the need for enhanced and sustained humanitarian assistance and development efforts in Somalia, which we are willing to support. We welcomed the outcome of the International Conference in support of the Somali Security Institutions and the African Union Mission in Somalia, held in Brussels on 22-23 April 2009, and recognised the role played by the International Contact Group on Somalia, which lastly convened in Rome on 10-11 June 2009 with the participation of the Somali Prime Minister. We encourage African nations to join Burundi and Uganda in providing troops and support to AMISOM, while urging the whole international community to further engage in coordinated security and recovery efforts involving the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and other relevant organizations, with a focus on building capacity for the TFG to deliver basic government services. In this regard, we are ready to consider financial assistance for training as well as other support for Somali security forces.

Sudan - We highlighted the importance of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, as the foundation for a sustainable peace, and welcomed the recent CPA Forum hosted by the United States in Washington on 23 June 2009. We call on the international community to work together to secure full implementation of the Agreement. We urge all parties to commit in good faith to the Darfur peace negotiations. We salute the efforts of the AU-UN Joint Chief Mediator and Qatar in this regard and encourage regional players to support the process. UNAMID's role is crucial in enhancing security in Darfur and we emphasise the importance of its full and effective deployment. We call on the Government of Sudan to work effectively with humanitarian organizations in order to facilitate humanitarian access and assistance, and demand all parties to comply fully with their obligations under international humanitarian law, human rights and refugee law. We also call on all parties to abide by their obligations under relevant UNSC Resolutions. In particular, we reaffirm the obligation for Sudan to abide by UNSC Resolution 1593/2005, as lasting peace cannot be achieved without justice and reconciliation.

Great Lakes - We acknowledged that stability in the Democratic Republic of Congo is paramount to security in the Great Lakes Region and in all of Africa. We applauded the recent cooperation between the governments of the DRC and Rwanda, which has created new opportunities for a concerted and sustainable solution to the crisis in eastern DRC. We encourage renewed cooperation among the countries of the region, including in regional fora, on all political, security and economic aspects that are underlying causes of the crisis. We encourage the disarmament and reintegration of all organised armed groups as necessary steps towards a lasting solution. We express our grave concerns about the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region, and emphasise the need to effectively punish its perpetrators and to address its root causes. It is essential that all parties protect civilians and facilitate full, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian workers providing assistance.

Zimbabwe - Progress has been made towards national reconciliation. We support the people of Zimbabwe and the transition government as they work to bring peace, stability, prosperity and democracy back to their country. We encourage a full application of the Global Political Agreement, which can positively respond to concerns for rule of law, economic governance and land issues. Illegal and violent farm seizures, repression of human rights, and restrictions on media and journalists must cease. We will work with the transition government as it builds the institutions necessary for free and fair elections in a timely manner. We look forward to a meaningful dialogue with Zimbabwe, leading to a full normalization of political and economic relations, contingent upon progress towards full respect of human rights, democracy, and re-establishment of effective rule of law in the country.

West Africa - Several states of West Africa are emerging from conflict and political stabilization processes in some parts of the region remain fragile. Rule of law continues to be a primary challenge for a number of states concerned, as demonstrated by a series of recent non-constitutional transfers of power. As one consequence, we are witnessing an increase in worrying phenomena such as terrorism, maritime insecurity and illegal activities (trafficking in drugs, small weapons and human beings, and kidnappings for ransom). In that regard, we are particularly concerned about the actions of Al Qaida in the Sahel region, including hostage taking of foreigners, and totally condemn the recent assassination of a British hostage. Trans-national organised crime is also striving to infiltrate and weaken institutions. At the same time, we acknowledge the effectiveness of peace and security initiatives undertaken through ECOWAS. We encourage and will continue to support states of the region in their common effort to build the capacity to effectively meeting these challenges, including by addressing their root causes.

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