South Africa's Mbeki Says UN Failing to Prevent, Halt Conflict in Africa

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki accused the United Nations of neglecting its mandate to prevent and halt conflict in Africa, saying the result was the needless loss of millions of lives.

While “the international community, as represented by the UN Security Council, is capable of mobilizing the necessary means, it has repeatedly failed to show the will to assume its legal responsibility as the principal guarantor of international peace and security,” Mbeki said in an e-mailed copy of an address to the Global Policy Forum in Yaroslavl, Russia, today. “Urgent action should be taken to ensure that international law and procedures relating to the prevention and resolution of armed conflict are revisited” to rectify this situation.

Mbeki served as South Africa’s second post-apartheid leader between 1999 and his ouster in 2008. Since then he has been working to broker an end to armed conflict in Sudan.

The Security Council failed to halt the Rwandan genocide in 1994 or conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the late 1990s, which is estimated to have cost between 3 million and 5 million lives, Mbeki said.

“Currently, beyond supporting the African Union Mission to Somalia, the United Nations is refusing to intervene to end the anarchy that reigns in Somalia,” he said. “Here we have an example of a failed state, which, among other things, has led to piracy in the high seas and the establishment of a jihadist base which further escalates the threat of international terrorism.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Cohen in Cape Town at;

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