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22.06.2004 General News

UN Security Council Mission in Accra

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Accra, June 22, GNA - A 14-member United Nations (UN) Security Council Mission arrived in Accra on Monday for a 10-day seven-nation West African tour.

The group include Mourad Benmehidi of Algeria, Ismael Abraao Gaspar Martins of Angola, Joel W. Adechi of Benin and Irene Vida Gala of Brazil.

The others are Ignacio Llanos of Chile, Jiang Jiang of China, Jean-Marc de La Sabliere of France, Stefan Delfs of Germany, Schali Mahmood of Pakistan, Patrick A. Chuasoto of the Philippines, Marius Ioan Dragolea of Romania, Ana Jimenez of Spain and Sichan Siv of the United States.

A statement from the UN to the Ghana News Agency said prior to the departure of the Mission from New York on Friday, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN and head of the Group, briefed newsmen about its objectives.

He said the Mission would visit Cote d' lvoire, Liberia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria.

Mr Dumisani S. Kumao of South Africa, Chairman of the Economic and Social Council's Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guniea-Bissau, will join the Mission in that country.

Sir Emyr explained that the assignment was being undertaken since the Council spent about 50 to 60 per cent of its time on African issues with the West African Sub-Region taking much of the time.

He said the Mission would observe the three active peacekeeping operations in the region and work with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to sustain the regional organisation's efforts. It will also assess the efforts of the UN on the ground and discuss the regional dimension of each nation's political situation with its leadership.

Sir Emyr said in Nigeria, the Mission would hold dialogue with President Olusengun Obasanjo of that country.

He, however, said the Mission would not meet former Liberian President Mr Charles Taylor since the decision to bring him to justice was clear.

In Cote d' lvoire, the group would stress the need for all parties in the country's crisis to live up to their responsibilities to keep the national reconciliation process on track.

The British Diplomat expressed the hope that a meeting could be arranged with signatories of the Linas Marcoussis agreement. The statement stated that in Liberia, the major subject of the Mission would be to help the Transitional Government to meet the criteria for lifting the sanctions imposed on the country by the Security Council.

Sir Emyr said the Mission would also focus on raising awareness of all UN activities on the ground in the Sub-Region and not just peacekeeping.

He stressed the need for coherent policy-making in the region, to ensure that the solution of a problem in one country did not spill over to another.

Sir Emyr said the threat such narrow policy-making posed had been amply demonstrated in Liberia under Charles Taylor, which had an influence on Sierra Leone and Cote d'lvoire.