Security Council wraps up April with calls for unity and full participation

Wrapping up its work for the month with a session devoted to the role of the United Nations in post-conflict situations, the Security Council heard appeals today from fraternal bodies for a full UN role and an overall vision that looked beyond bringing peace and aid to one that encouraged economic and social development and respect for diversity.The Council President for April, Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser of Mexico, underscored the primary responsibilities of conflict prevention, restoring security conditions, the rule of law, protection of human rights and institution-building.Specific proposals were necessary for the best way in which the UN could work to benefit countries emerging from conflict, Ambassador Zinser, who will be succeeded as president for the month May by Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan, told the 15-member body.General Assembly President Jan Kavan, of the Czech Republic, said the UN role in Iraq should not be confined to an advisory one. Citing recent UN experience in Kosovo and Timor-Leste as demonstrating the critical need for a comprehensive strategy in the immediate post-conflict phase, he said it was also clear that a strategy for political and economic reforms should be crafted with an overall vision.Broader responsibilities aimed at promoting democracy should be part of any planning. For all its shortcomings, real or perceived, the UN was still the only forum with the grass-roots experience and personnel to deal with a wide range of the crises inherent in conflict management and post-conflict peace-building, Mr. Kavan declared.More was needed in post-conflict situations than efforts to restore law and order, he stressed. Taking historical background into account was crucial to any successful peace-building efforts. Beyond bringing peace and humanitarian aid into a society emerging from conflict, any external involvement must be conducted in the most respectful manner regarding the specific features and the rich diversity of the society.For his part, the President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Gert Rosenthal of Guatemala, emphasized the complementary nature of both councils, reflecting the two columns on which the UN was built – the maintenance of peace on the one hand, and economic and social development and respect for human rights and humanitarian assistance on the other.The linkage must be continued and strengthened, as it was a truism that without development there would be no peace, and without peace there would be no development.Stressing the need for unity, Mr. Rosenthal said the strengths exhibited by each UN body tended to be transmitted to others, but the same held true regarding weaknesses. For that reason, he trusted that the recent differences in the Security Council over Iraq would be overcome when it next addressed the matter. “Should this not be forthcoming, all our organs, and the United Nations in its entirety, will suffer the consequences,” he declared.In the ensuing discussion, the Council heard from the representatives of all 15 members as well as those from Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, Indonesia, Japan and South Africa. read more