General Assembly

51st Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 51st Session - Part 2

General Assembly is told settlement of civil conflicts essential to success of development efforts in Africa at 51st plenary meeting of the 51st session.
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Russian Federation Says Resources Freed from Peace-keeping Could Be Better Used; Others Stress Continuing Problems of Debt Burden, Trade Access
No success in development strategies for Africa could be achieved without the settlement of civil conflict and the promotion of political stability, the General Assembly was told this afternoon as it continued its discussion of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s.

Citing the "destabilizing elements" in the Great Lakes region, the delegate of the Russian Federation said that the mechanism for the prevention of conflict of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was crucial. He noted that it could also free up resources currently used in peace-keeping operations; these would be used instead for promoting the peaceful development of the continent. The representative of Canada said that recent conflicts entailed massive costs, not only in human terms, but also regarding the political attention and resources that the international community had to devote to those countries.

While no outside government could impose peace on those who did not desire peace, said the representative of the United States, her country had pledged to help interested African States increase their capacity for responding to conflicts through an African Crisis Response Force. In Africa, one of the great challenges today was the control of ethnic hatred, but despite the current problems in the Great Lakes region, Africans had much to teach the world about the peaceful resolution of ethnic differences.

Noting the very low level of direct foreign investment in Africa, the representative of Ethiopia said that unless the present unfavourable trading pattern changed to accommodate the commodity and other trade interests of Africa, no meaningful development was imaginable. Also, the continent's weak physical and institutional infrastructure needed urgent improvement so as to attract more foreign investment. The representative of South Africa stated that the continent's main challenges in the economic field were its debt burden and its over-reliance on raw commodities. The representative of the Congo noted that African economies remained extremely vulnerable to external fluctuations.

On behalf of the European Union and associated countries, the representative of Ireland said that the Union remained committed to striving to reach, as soon as possible, the objective of 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) for official development assistance (ODA) and to the related target for assistance to the least developed countries.

Statements were also made by Argentina, Libya, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Benin, Fiji, Swaziland, Indonesia, Lebanon, Costa Rica on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, and the Gambia.

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