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Elysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa

Published on December 11, 2013
Statement by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs (excerpts)

Paris, December 6, 2013

Ladies and gentlemen,

Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and I wanted to give you an update on the working session under way at the Elysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa.

As you know, there are three aspects to this summit: the peace and security aspect, discussed this afternoon, and tomorrow the economic partnership and development aspect and the climate change aspect. (…)
Everyone, of course, was keen to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela. They were deep and extremely moving tributes.

People are saying much the same thing. The final declaration will be adopted unanimously. Certain points were given particular emphasis.

The first is the strong belief that it’s for Africans to ensure their security. Admittedly there’s a paradox, because this meeting is being held at the very moment when the intervention in the Central African Republic is beginning. African forces are of course involved, but they need support. This was also the case in Mali.

The goal is for the African forces themselves to be able to ensure the continent’s security. Each of the speakers agreed that we’re not yet at that stage. So the question arising for us is the following: how can we move better and further?

Reference was made to Africa’s peace structure and to methods for get the African Capacity for Immediate Reponse to Crises, ACIRC, up and running as quickly as possible. It’s an African Union decision. Many speakers insisted that there should be a sub-regional organization and also an organization at the level of the whole continent. The main problems raised were clearly funding and the quality of equipment. Very specific proposals were made. They’ll enable progress to be made on the swift implementation of the force at continental level.

Jean-Yves Le Drian and I noted the similarity of views. It will, however, require a number of problems – particularly financial – to be resolved.
France’s contribution was emphasized. The French President recalled in his speech at the Elysée that France is ready to provide its contribution in terms of equipment and training.

In the presence of the United Nations Secretary-General, several speakers stressed the need for Africa’s role to be strengthened in the framework of a broadened UN Security Council.

Many spoke to emphasize and welcome the major progress made by the African Union. The African Union, the regional economic communities and the African states have made a powerful contribution to the implementation of African peace operations. Somalia, Guinea-Bissau, Burundi, Sudan and the Comoros were of course mentioned.

The other crucial point put forward was terrorism. All the speakers agree that the fight against terrorism must be fought at continental and intercontinental level. It’s also necessary to focus as a priority on the issue of border areas and border security.

The speakers agreed that the goals of security and development converge. The two cannot be separated: no development is possible without security. Likewise, poverty and inadequate development form a long-term breeding ground for insecurity.

To sum up, we’re witnessing substantive debates where real agreement is emerging. The calibre of the speeches is outstanding. Gratitude is also being expressed about France as host of this summit and about the actions our country is carrying out in coordination with Europe, particularly in Mali and, today, in the Central African Republic./.

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