Africa to dominate Security Council programme for March, President says

2 March 2004 Ė The Security Councilís schedule for March will be dominated by African issues, especially efforts to guarantee stability in the western part of the continent, the incoming Council President said today.

Ambassador Jean-Marc de La SabliŤre of France, which holds the 15-member bodyís rotating presidency during March, announced an upcoming major public meeting to discuss Secretary-General Kofi Annanís report on cross-border problems in West Africa.

Those invited to speak at the 25 March event included representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), agencies working in the region and the major donors. The aim was to encourage an integrated approach to such problems as refugees, arms trafficking, mercenaries and child soldiers, he said.

In addition, the Council plans to study the continued deployment of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), as well as the renewal of a reduced UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), he noted, adding that work was also under way to assess the possibility of a UN peacekeeping mission in Burundi.

In the second week of March, he said, the Council would examine the Secretary-Generalís report on the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE). The missionís mandate was set to expire at a time when one of the countries would not receive the Special Envoy appointed to renew their dialogue.

More than two years after the attack on the United States on 11 September 2001 and the adoption of a key Council resolution in response, the time had come to evaluate the effectiveness of the measures governments were taking to fight terrorism, Mr. de La SabliŤre said.

A new resolution, based on a recent report from Spain, should serve to enhance the work of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), he said.

Video of the press briefing [46mins]