Annan Outlines Requirements For Successful Peacekeeping
Adequate security, a well-defined and realistic mission and long-term commitment to success are among the key
requirements for successful peacekeeping, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in Ulster, Northern
"I do not think it coincidental that, in the case of the failures, either there was no peace to keep or peace agreements
proved fragile because the underlying causes of conflict had not been resolved," he said in a speech at the Magee campus
of the University of Ulster.
"We must know the limits of what is achievable by the United Nations," Mr. Annan said, stressing that it is important
"not to allow ourselves to be used as a fig leaf for lack of political will by the international community to deal
effectively with an issue."
Success comes when there is a clear and achievable mandate, he said, citing the UN's stewardship of East Timor and
Namibia. The situation in Kosovo - marred by disagreement on means and goals - stands in contrast, he said.
Another critical lesson is to "never neglect security," said the Secretary-General. "Without security almost everything
else is impossible: no effective government, no reconstruction, no return of refugees, no return to school, no
He also cautioned against outsized expectations and stressed the need for a long-term commitment to peace, pointing out
that nearly half of all accords collapse within five years. Efforts stall as interest flags, he said. "Political
engagement and financial support are drawn down just when the process needs a second wind."
He called for all concerned - the Security Council, countries, international non-governmental organizations (NGOs),
warring parties and the citizens concerned - to "stay the course."
Warning against "the peril of trying to do things in the wrong order," he said respect for the rule of law must precede
elections, social stability should come before full economic liberalization, and the economy must be growing before the
international community disengages. "It should be no surprise that in the poorest countries, like Haiti and Liberia,
peace processes failed and conflicts lapsed back into violence."
The most important lesson of all - "for me personally, and for the United Nations as an organization - is that we must
always be listening and looking out for new knowledge," he declared.
"Let us learn those lessons. And let us employ them in our future peace operations, as we work together to try to make
the world a better and a safer place, for our own sakes and for our children."
After his speech, Mr. Annan took some questions from the audience, including one about whether the international
community was now seeing a "clash of civilizations." He responded by saying there was a need for dialogue with the
Muslim world "to get across that Islam is not represented by the killers."
Over the weekend, the Secretary-General met Saturday with Prime Minister Bertie Ahern to discuss the situation between
the Israelis and the Palestinians, the Afghanistan peace process, Iran's nuclear programme, the plans for Iraqi
elections, the crisis in Darfur, Sudan, Northern Ireland and HIV/AIDS.