Ghana on Tuesday questioned the seriousness of the international community in helping Africa to help itself, saying that the expected assistance for the continent had not been forthcoming.
"While not down-playing the assistance Africa has received in the past few years, I must register the profound disappointment of many of us on the continent that the expected volume of assistance has never been forthcoming. In a speech at the 50th regular session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Dr. Obed Asamoah, Minister for Foreign Affairs said the requisite action on the debt and aid fronts had also not been adequate.
"This is all the more regrettable because of the profound political risks that many governments in Africa have run faithfully implementing painful structural adjustment programme that have had severe impact on their people. "It is also unfortunate because Africa has found expression in the establishment of constitutional rule in country after country." Dr. Asamoah warned that if the problem of poverty in Africa was not tackled seriously, it could pose grave dangers to international peace and security, explaining that many conflicts in Africa were started by the strains of development and could easily take on international dimensions.
Speaking on UN peacekeeping duties, he expressed regret that the world body had delayed in reimbursing countries that contributed troops for peace duties. "We urged that every effort be made to resolve this matter as speedily as possible," he said, adding that it would greatly help if member countries in arrears of contributions would honour their obligations and pay up. Dr. Asamoah referred to the West African Peace-keeping force in Liberia and said efforts by West African countries had brought about relative peace in the country under the Abuja and other accords. "The challenge now is to see through the implementation process as this would require considerable increase in troop strength, logistics for ECOMOMOG and for the encampment, disarmament and resettlement of fighters."
The Minister said international assistance was greatly needed to meet those objectives and expressed the hope that a ready response would be forthcoming at the pledging conference envisaged for later this month. "What ECOMOG has done in Liberia is a good example of how sub-regional and regional organisations should support the UN in the maintenance of peace and security." But, he said, the UN needed to overcome doctrinal obstacles and develop principles that would facilitate hybrid operation involving sub-regional initiatives and UN financing in who or in part. Dr. Asamoah also spoke about the economic blockage against Cuba and sanctions against Libya and cautioned that such actions, particularly when sponsored by the UN, would undermine the world body's integrity. "The collapse of the cold war must make us more vigilant against any attempt to turn the UN into an instrument of foreign policy for any one country or group of countries," he cautioned, saying that "when that happens, regional and sub-regional organisations will be tempted to question and/or disobey the decisions of the UN." The Minister repeated calls on the UN Security Council to lift sanctions on Libya and seek a peaceful solution to the Lockerbie affair.