For information only - not an official document.
      16 November 2000
 Security Council Discusses Exit Strategies for Peacekeeping Operations

NEW YORK, 15 November (UN Headquarters) -- As the Security Council met today to consider the issue of peacekeeping mission closure and transition, the representative of the United Kingdom said the United Nations was seriously deficient in leadership.

One of 34 speakers who addressed the Council on the theme "No Exit Without Strategy", the United Kingdom's representative went on to say that "the buck was passed endlessly between the Secretary-General, the Council and troop contributors".  In Sierra Leone, his country had strong national reasons for wanting to resolve the crisis and was playing a leading role, as had Australia in East Timor and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the Balkans.  But that leadership did not extend to the United Nations and the Council.  It was necessary to discuss that deficiency further.

During the debate, a large number of speakers stressed one recurring theme: the importance of ensuring a smooth transition from the conflict phase to the post-conflict peace-building phase.

Council President, Peter van Walsum (Netherlands), said that a realistic discussion should also take into account that there could never be an absolute guarantee that a peace operation, once begun, could be pursued until the conditions were fulfilled for an orderly transition to post-conflict peace-building.  A peace that once seemed fit for keeping might suddenly melt away.  The Council must study how, in such a situation, the United Nations could limit the damage caused by the inevitable termination of a peace operation.

Speaking at the end of the debate in his national capacity, he said that today's debate had made a useful contribution to the overall exercise to improve United Nations peacekeeping operations.  The subject, however, deserved a much more detailed study.  It was now necessary to move to a more operational mode, with effective follow-up.

Italy’s representative said that, too often, an exit strategy had amounted to little more than an escape route.  It was necessary to move beyond the logic dictated by emergencies or by partial temporary interests.  There was a need to build a functional connection between the conflict-prevention phase and possible action to be undertaken if a crisis degenerated into a threat to international peace and security.  Such a strategy must also include provisions for peace- building –- a phase that was essential to achieving sustainable peace once an operation had ended. 

Thailand's representative said that in view of the overextension of United Nations peacekeeping resources and/or political constraints, it was time to ask whether it was necessary for the Organization to intervene in every conflict situation.  While some situations might be ripe for United Nations action, regional organizations could deal with others.  The United Nations could also propose or approve “coalitions of the willing” as another practical option.

Egypt's representative said that in conflict areas where peacekeeping operations had already been deployed, the Council should not apply political pressure on any side to achieve the self-serving interests of one or more of its members, and without paying attention to the interests of the hosting society, State or region.  Somalia and Rwanda were examples of cases in which peace operations had been terminated for such political motives.  The Council’s responsibilities necessitated that its members put aside parochial and individualistic actions in the interest of the higher general good.

Also speaking today were the representatives of the United States, France, Bangladesh, Canada, Argentina, Malaysia, China, Russian Federation, Tunisia, Namibia, Ukraine, Jamaica, Mali, Germany, Singapore, Portugal, South Africa, Australia, Norway, Denmark, Philippines, Finland, Pakistan, Belarus, India, Slovakia, Ireland, Croatia and Rwanda.

The meeting, which began at 10:45 a.m., was suspended at 1:13 p.m.  It resumed at 3:14 p.m. and adjourned at 6:26 p.m.

Council Work Programme

 The Security Council met this morning to consider the issue of peacekeeping mission closure and transition. 

 It had before it a 6 November letter from the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands, who is currently Council President, to the Secretary-General (document S/2000/1072), which states that there had been cases when the Council decided to end a peacekeeping mission or reduce its military component, only to have those situations remain unstable, or worse, descend again into violence or chaos.

That seemed to be in contradiction to the Council’s mandate, he continues, which implies that it should facilitate the establishment of a self-sustaining peace, or at least a durable absence of violence.  Thus, he was organizing a Council debate on decision-making by the Council on mission closure and mission transition.

An annex to the letter contains a paper elaborating on that theme, which the Council President summarizes with the phrase “no exit without strategy”.


PETER VAN WALSUM (Netherlands), Council President, said the question before the Council today was whether it could improve its performance on the termination or transition of peace operations.  That question was not specifically treated in the Brahimi report, but it clearly dovetailed with what the report had to say about Council decision-making.  There was an obvious link between greater clarity about the termination of a peace operation and the “clear, credible and achievable mandates” that the Brahimi exercise demanded for those peace operations to begin with.
He said that suggestions would be expected for improvements in analysis and planning, political will, commitment and leadership, and resources and funding.  But, a realistic discussion should also take into account that there could never be an absolute guarantee that a peace operation, once begun, could be pursued until the conditions were fulfilled for an orderly transition to post-conflict peace-building.  A peace that once seemed fit for keeping might suddenly melt away.  The Council must study how, in such a situation, the United Nations could limit the damage caused by the inevitable termination of the peace operation.

 RICHARD HOLBROOKE (United States) said the demand for peacekeeping was outpacing capacity and resources.  The very nature of peacekeeping had been transformed from border patrols to maintaining peace and stability within States.  Once a peacekeeping operation was in place, deciding the conditions necessary for scaling it down should be a vital part of any mission.  Establishing realistic goals was therefore key.  Many of the goals of the international community were not easily met in many parts of the world.  In Bosnia and Herzegovina and East Timor, for example, the international community had been confronted with many problems.  

“If we don’t deal with the causes of conflict the international community will be reduced to dealing with the consequences of conflict”, he said.  In the latter scenario, the Organization’s system ended up spending much more money.

He said the old English adage “an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure” was so applicable to today’s debate.  Exit strategies should not be confused with exit deadlines.  Exit strategies must be directed to specific objectives and not based on self-imposed, arbitrary deadlines.  Such deadlines gave hope to international criminals and warlords, who could often outlast the international community.  Goals must determine the time-line.  Exit strategies should mean the implementation of a comprehensive settlement, which included the rule of law, good governance and democracy.  The ultimate goal must be accountable government and stability.

He said once a peacekeeping force left a troubled area, there should be no return to conflict.  El Salvador, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Namibia and Mozambique had all been either partially of fully successful because they had all steered towards good governance.  In those countries, the wars were over and they all deserved to be registered as peacekeeping successes.  The United Nations’ role in Sierra Leone needed to be strengthened, while Angola needed to be revisited.  “We are all learning that peace and stability were inextricably linked to democracy and accountability”, he said.  The focus should be on getting the job right, rather than simply getting out.  There was, therefore, a need for realistic exit strategies.

 JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France), pointing out that there were interesting lessons to be draw from the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA), said the management of that operation had been as inclusive as possible.  Apart from the Security Council’s regular examination, a group of friends had been established, comprising Council members with particular interest, troop-contributing countries, regional States and external donors.  That had ensured not only a common understanding of the objective, but coherence in action by the international community beyond MINURCA itself.

 He said the Security Council had extended the mandate of MINURCA to ensure a secure environment for the holding of legislative and presidential elections in such a manner as to enable the establishment of legitimate political institutions.  That political condition had been essential in dealing with the other problems of the Central African Republic.  At the same time, international financial institutions and donors had taken on the economic and financial aspects of the situation.  Finally, at the termination of the Mission last February, the Secretary-General and the Security Council had established a support office to follow up on reform and promote an integrated implementation of post-conflict peace-building.

 To have a strategy presupposed a good understanding of all dimensions of a situation and of the basic solutions required, he said.  That was not a simple task for the Security Council, because it required a knowledge of the underlying causes of conflicts, as well as the interests and motives of the protagonists.  The Council was ill-equipped to have a sufficient early understanding of that dimension and the Secretariat often lacked the means and the presence on the ground.  Often the Council only intervened after a conflict had already erupted, dealing mainly with the restoration and maintenance of peace.  However, without a clear understanding of the conflict, there was a risk of dealing only with its symptoms and thus coming up only with temporary solutions.

He said a strategy must be based on clearly defined ultimate goals, essentially the establishment of the political, security and economic conditions for lasting peace.  Two good examples were the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), charged with guiding that territory to independence, and the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK), which had the task of providing a transitional administration while establishing provisional democratic administrative institutions.  The Security Council must, therefore, have a clear picture of what it could do, and adapt its decisions accordingly.

 Much depended on the local actors, he pointed out.  It was possible to define a strategy and stand by it, as had happened in Mozambique and the Central African Republic.  On the other hand, Somalia and Rwanda had shown the unfeasibility of the task in the absence of even the minimum consensus between the parties in conflict.  In such a case, the Security Council had two opposite and extreme options:  inaction or, if there was already engagement on the ground, retreat, as had happened in Somalia and Rwanda; and enforcement, as had occurred in Haiti.  The latter option presupposed the determination to maintain a long-term engagement. 
 He said a successful exit strategy must comprise a set of complementary objectives and instruments, with a common goal.  A peace accord served no purpose if it did not take into account the fate of the combatants.  Thus, the nature of disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation programmes had been a crucial element in the success of the United Nations Mission in Mozambique, and of the failures of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM) and the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA).

ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said peacekeeping missions should support a peace process with clear objectives, but concerns over an exit strategy should not result in a strategy of no entry without an exit.  There were other criteria for altering a mission than the simple achievement of the initial mandate.  Political, military, humanitarian and human rights aspects entered in, as did the regional dimension.  Serious deterioration in a situation when a peace agreement was renounced might require a deployment to be withheld, but in most cases there was a typical pattern in the transition from peacekeeping to peace- building.

Assistance was first given to implement and monitor a ceasefire agreement, he said.  Then assistance was given to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts, along with humanitarian assistance.  That was done through to the phase of supervising elections, before the mission was withdrawn.  Mozambique, Liberia and Haiti represented stories of success, half success and failure, respectively.  The situation in Haiti also presented an interesting debate over harmonizing peacekeeping objectives and the perceived national interests of Security Council members.  Compromising those national interests to the objectives of peacekeeping operations would be ideal.

 Ultimately, maintaining international peace and security was a continuous process, he said.  Peacekeeping was a phase in a continuum that might also include conflict prevention, peacemaking, peace-enforcement and peace-building.  The continuity must be maintained through timely transitions, which required closer coordination than at present between the Security Council and other United Nations organs, including the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and programmes and funds, especially the Bretton Woods institutions.  Also, non-governmental organizations must be recognized as an important component active in a situation, both before arrival of a mission and after its departure.  To avoid mistakes made in the past, the Council should set up a mechanism for cooperation and coordination with non-governmental organizations.

 PAUL HEINBECKER (Canada) said that the focus of peacekeeping missions must encompass the political and socio-economic context of conflict, including aspects of the rule of law and the human rights situation.  It was necessary to build on the traditional concepts of peacekeeping and work towards a broader, more integrated view of peace support.  He encouraged the Council to include long-term peace-building strategies when planning missions and drafting their mandates.  Long-term, peaceful resolution of conflict required a collaborative and inclusive approach with other United Nations bodies, international organizations, Member States and non-governmental actors.  Elements of peace-building should be integrated into a mission’s mandate from the very beginning. 
 Canada had stressed the need for peacekeeping mandates to be shaped by requirements on the ground and not by outside political or financial considerations, he said.  Mandates must be matched by the necessary resources.  Undue focus on keeping costs down, while cheaper in the short run, was more costly later if missions failed to achieve their objectives.  The Council must have the staying power to ensure that the international community’s investments in peace were not lost because of short-sighted political expediency.  The Council must also be judicious in deciding where to make investments in peace.  Without a peace agreement, or if military options continued to be pursued in spite of one, the Council should think twice before agreeing to deploy in the first place. 

 The pursuit of peace in a country torn by internal conflict posed special and complex challenges, he continued.  One of the lessons learned in the pursuit of sustainable and durable peace in countries emerging from conflict was that an indigenous capacity to manage conflict without violence must be developed.  He fully supported the Brahimi Panel’s recommendations aimed at enhancing the Council’s ability to address the root causes of conflict, which would be the greatest deterrent to violent conflict.  He also welcomed the recommendation to enhance the Secretariat’s early warning capabilities, as well as the recommendation to improve the support and planning capacities.  

 He also welcomed the Secretary-General’s decision to formulate a plan on strengthening the United Nations’ capacity to develop peace-building strategies.  His country had been active in finding ways to strengthen peace-building initiatives.  In 1996, Canada launched its own peace-building initiative to assist countries in conflict in their efforts towards peace and stability.  The importance of working with troop-contributing countries could hardly be exaggerated, as those countries must know what was expected of them.  He supported existing efforts to sustain United Nations peacekeeping interventions, in particular follow-up peace-building offices and missions.  An effective peace-building response required international coordination among various types of actors, including the specialized agencies, international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, civilian experts and the affected populations.

 ARNOLDO LISTRE (Argentina) said an exit strategy was just as important as the establishment of a peacekeeping mission, since both affected the success of the operation.  Ending a peacekeeping operation was more complex than it appeared.  Exits must not be determined by pre-established timetables, but by attainable objectives.  Interstate and territorial conflicts had exit strategies that were more clearly defined, usually by a ceasefire or the settlement of a border issue.  In the multidimensional peacekeeping operation that came about after the end of the cold war to address intra-State conflicts, the difficulties were greater.  They included military, political, civil, humanitarian, human rights and police aspects.  Activities ranged from supervision to the building of institutions and the provision of public services.  In such situations, it was also highly difficult to state when specific goals had been met.

 He said in a multidimensional operation, exit strategies were directly related to entry strategies.  While mandates and concepts were being planned, realistic objectives must be established.  The political will to attain objectives must also exist.  Keeping that will alive throughout a peacekeeping operation was one of the problems that both the Council and the Secretariat must continue to pursue.  Bringing about lasting peace and reconciliation required far more than a ceasefire.  The conditions for sustained development had to be created.  It was, therefore, appropriate to give thought to peace-building activities before a conflict ended.  Also, to meet challenges successfully, the political will of parties must be utilized to overcome the root causes of conflict.  The Council must also point out that peacekeeping aimed to resolve certain ends, which should not affect the resolve of the parties to a conflict to resolve their differences.

 MISRAN KARMAIN (Malaysia) said the Council had to act swiftly in face of the new dimension to armed conflicts -- that they created humanitarian catastrophes, by leaving millions of people as refugees and displaced persons.  The root causes of those multidimensional conflicts must be addressed.  Those causes included political ambition and greed, the continuing problems of extreme poverty, crippling debt, disease, famine and oppression.  Ending such military clashes was a major challenge to international peace and security.  The complex fragility of the process often required international intervention.

 Peacekeeping was one instrument at the Council's disposal, he continued.  It could be effective in the most challenging environment, if deployed in a deterrent capacity with a clearly defined and achievable mandate given adequate resources.  Above all, the operation must be backed by sustained political will, including that of the parties to the prospective peace agreements, who must agree to United Nations involvement at an early stage of negotiations.

 In addition, he said strategies for peacemaking based on preventive diplomacy and for post-conflict peace-building must be developed to consolidate and sustain peace in a conflict area.  Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration were at the heart of those efforts, along with national reconciliation.  That required more effective coordination of the United Nations system, in line with the Secretary- General's plan to strengthen United Nations capacity for peace-building strategies and implementing the programmes.  Also, operations should be more clearly defined, including efforts aimed at strengthening the local rule of law and human rights institutions.  Regional and subregional organizations must participate in decisions on the mechanisms for preventing, managing and resolving armed conflicts.  They must be seen as security partners in maintaining international peace and security, since the Council could not act alone.

 WANG YINGFAN (China) said that the formulation of an exit strategy depended largely on establishing a realistic peacekeeping plan, an understanding of the underlying causes of the situation and a guarantee of the resources necessary for implementing the operation.

He said that United Nations peacekeeping operations should be aimed at supporting the peacekeeping capabilities of the country concerned.  In assisting that country, the United Nations should take care to respect the views and opinions of its government.  The imposition of predetermined models could harm the Organization’s credibility and image.

 He said that in improving its peacekeeping operations, the United Nations should cooperate with regional and subregional organizations.  It should also strengthen the cooperation between its own component parts, including the General Assembly, the Security Council and other organs.  That was also very important to exit strategies.

 GENNADI M. GATILOV (Russian Federation) said the Charter provision that the Council alone was able to authorize extreme measures to address threats to peace and security remained a key provision.  He supported the recommendations contained in the Brahimi report.  There was a need to create favourable conditions to bring about the political decisions that would end conflicts.  Exit strategies must be carefully developed to ensure that violence did not again erupt and long-term settlements were achieved.

 Material resources were an important factor in the termination of peacekeeping operations.  Unfortunately, the Organization’s peacekeeping resources were not limitless and must be apportioned in the best possible way.  Given the recent surge in demand for United Nations peacekeeping, the budget had grown increasingly tight.  Also, a smooth transition was needed from one phase of an operation to the next.  Most of the economic aspects of a conflict should be handled by the competent offices in the Organization’s system.  Council involvement in such processes should be limited and should take place on an ad hoc basis.

 He said Council action had extinguished many major conflicts in the world.  His country, as a member of the Council, continued to make its contributions to peacekeeping and was currently participating in 10 out of 15 United Nations operations.

 SAID BEN MUSTAPHA (Tunisia) stressed the importance of determining whether an exit strategy was an end in itself, or part of a long-term solution to a conflict situation.  Any successful exit must cap a process supported by all the actors concerned.  It was also important that any peacekeeping operation respect strictly the principles of the United Nations Charter.

He said the point of any operation was to help the parties to work out the best possible peace agreement.  That commitment should not be affected by the complexities of any given conflict, as long as the parties showed they were committed to peace.  It was important to endow the peacekeeping operation with clear-cut mandates, objectives and command structures.

 Before exiting, a peacekeeping mission must ensure its objective had been attained, he said.  The Organization must ensure that the causes of the conflict had disappeared and that conditions for normal relations between the States in conflict were in place.  In a domestic conflict, all United Nations bodies must mount a sustained effort to address its political, economic and social causes and to establish the conditions to prevent a recurrence of conflict.  Peace and development were inextricably intertwined and a commitment by the international community to the eradication of poverty was a positive step towards peace-building.

 SELMA ASHIPALA-MUSAVYI (Namibia) said she viewed the objective of the theme "no exit without strategy" as a way of establishing a continuum from peacekeeping to peace-building.  The theme was not about "getting out", but "getting it right".  The successful post-cold war peacekeeping efforts of the United Nations had been offset by a few unfortunate failures, the most glaring of which were those of Angola and Somalia.  In those instances, the United Nations either withdrew prematurely or reduced its presence, only to have the situation revert to violence.  Thus, the unbalanced handling of conflict situations today was cause for great concern.  It appeared that certain conflicts were left to drag on, while others were addressed rapidly and with massive resources.

 She went on to say that the Charter obligation of collective security should guide the United Nations when setting peacekeeping mandates.  When setting such mandates, the Organization should plan for "worst case scenarios", ensuring that appropriate resources were provided to every peacekeeping operation, regardless of geographic location.  In that way, eventual difficulties could be minimized and the foundation of peacekeeping to peace-building would be assured.  She noted that the Council's current debate should not be seen as laying the groundwork for selective termination of mandates or the abandonment of missions because of lack of progress, fatigue or even fear.  Objectivity, not selectivity, was the real challenge the Council must overcome, particularly in dealing with conflict situations in Africa.  In her view, missions such as those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone should continue.

 She said that the poorest countries could not emerge from conflict without generous aid from the international donor community.  Their help would ensure that the foundation could be laid for durable peace and recovery.  Past experience had shown that peace-building was an integral part of peace operations as a whole.  At the same time, institution-building was also essential.  Each peacekeeping operation or mandate should, therefore, take into account the level of socio-economic development in the countries for which they were being established.  That would be the surest index of how much needed to be done in terms of peacekeeping.  Finally, she strongly recommended that the Council continue to send missions to conflict regions.  That was a way to assess situations on the ground and establish whether conditions were ripe for the termination of missions.

VOLODYMYR YEL’CHENKO (Ukraine) said that the debate was a logical continuation of the past and ongoing efforts to reform the existing United Nations peacekeeping mechanism.  The examination of the exit strategy should be carried out in the wider context of the whole process of United Nations peaceful efforts towards conflict resolution.  The end of United Nations involvement in a peace process constituted an integral part of the overall strategy of conflict resolution.  Conflicts could and should be averted before they erupted.  Effective conduct of the final phase of peaceful efforts should derive from the timely and efficient pursuit of its initial phase.  Conflict prevention was one of the most prospective instruments in the United Nations arsenal.

If and when there was urgent need for peacekeeping involvement, the Council, before mandating a peace operation, should develop realistic objectives for its response to the conflict situation, he continued.  Objectives should be based on the real assessment of circumstances on the ground and of the resources available to achieve them.  The Council should remain engaged through all phases of peace operations.  It was vitally important that the United Nations responses and strategies be elaborated through an improved mechanism of consultations between the Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries.  Such consultations should be held at all stages of peacekeeping operations, including the stage of their completion.

 A critical point in the strategic planning of peace operations was how to sustain success after the mission’s mandate was fulfilled, he said.  The Council should remain firmly committed to a post-conflict peace-building process leading to a self-sustaining peace based on good governance and the rule of law.  

Long-term development objectives should be pursued.  All possible measures should be taken to prevent unjustified losses of valuable mission property resulting from the lack of adequate termination procedures.  In that regard, he stressed the continuous and comprehensive implementation by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations of the recommendations of the Office of Internal Oversight Services.  Finally, the United Nations could neither “enter” nor “exit” conflict situations without a clearly defined and far-reaching strategy.

 CURTIS WARD (Jamaica) said it was very important that the Council was addressing the issue of appropriate exit strategies just two days after adopting a comprehensive new approach to peackeeping operations, based on the recommendations of the Brahimi report.  Among that report's conclusions was the notion that peacekeepers and peace-builders were inseparable partners -- one working to maintain a secure local environment and the other working to make that environment self-sustaining.  That report had further noted that only such an environment offered a ready exit to peacekeeping forces.  That conclusion should be taken very seriously by all Council members.

 Continuing, he said the paper presented on today's discussion -- "no exit without strategy" -- pointed to a number of cases in which the Council had terminated peacekeeping operations prematurely.  The fact that such action had often led to the return of conflict situations had been well documented.  Therefore, the Council must now focus on avoiding past mistakes.  The Council's exit strategy must be guided by a number of considerations, including:  the stability of the region in question; the effect of conflict on neighbouring States; the internal obstacles, such as debilitating poverty, which could pose dangers to sustainable peace; as well as other root causes of conflict that might cause a recurrence of the fighting.  The Council should also consider the effect external factors could have on the particular situation, following the termination of a peacekeeping operation.

 He next highlighted several elements for developing an exit strategy.  Most of those elements, he said, could be found in the recommendations annexed to Council resolution 1327 (2000) and could provide a new set of principles to guide the Council in creating new peacekeeping mandates to secure lasting peace.  Among the elements that might be considered were:  ensuring that peace agreements provided a clear political objective; and that such agreements incorporated practical tasks and guidelines for implementation.  The Council must also clearly define each peacekeeping mandate by ensuring that its provisions bore credible relation to the conditions on the ground.  Finally, the Council must incorporate, from the outset or as soon as practicable, peace-building measures as an integral part of planning peace operations.  Those important steps in the process of developing an exit strategy were aimed at significantly reducing, or even eliminating, the possibility of a peacekeeping operation leaving behind a situation that threatened to revert to serious conflict.

 SEKOU KASSÉ (Mali) said that, although there had been successes in peacekeeping, the failures should not be forgotten.  While his delegation agreed that there was need for an exit strategy, such a strategy should not put the people concerned at major risk.  His country did not favour deadlines for exits.  He called for strengthening the role of the Organization in Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in other parts of Africa.  Any exit strategy should be based on well-defined objectives.  The Council and the United Nations also needed to focus on a preventive approach. 

He said the closure of a peacekeeping operation was influenced by many parameters, the first being the mandate.  The second parameter was one of security, where members of staff were attacked and, thus, provoked questions on the continuity of a mission.  The main question to be considered in light of a discontinued mission, however, was “should a country be allowed to plunge into chaos?”  Withdrawal meant that the enemies of peace could fill the ensuing void.  The third parameter was the multidimensional nature of countries, and the fourth was finances. 

 He said one could not fail to emphasize the need for an early start up to operations.  Failure in that area could raise questions about the United Nations ability to respond to future problems.  There were also many questions that could be raised about the withdrawal of the United Nations from a locale where peace could still be effectively pursued.

Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said there was a need for a much broader and deeper analysis of what the Council was doing and the Brahimi Panel was quite right to recommend the establishment of an Executive Committee on Peace and Security Information and Strategic Analysis secretariat.

He stressed the importance of understanding not only the root causes of conflict, but also the context.  That importance must be reflected in the mandate, which should be dependent on the peace agreement that the parties in conflict had reached.  The United Nations was not in charge of any agreement and it should insert its interest at an early stage.  The mandate must also contain a criterion for an exit.  At the very least, the original problem must be dealt with.  Once the mandate was set, everybody should understand it, particularly the troop-contributing countries and potential contributors.
Regarding implementation of peacekeeping operations, he said the United Nations was seriously deficient in leadership.  The buck was passed endlessly between the Secretary-General, the Security Council and the troop-contributing countries.  In the case of Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom had strong national reasons for wanting to resolve the crisis, as had Australia in East Timor and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the Balkans.  But that leadership did not extend to the United Nations and the Security Council.  It was necessary to discuss that deficiency further.

 The meeting recessed at 1:13 p.m.

 The Council resumed its meeting at 3:14 p.m.

 DIETER KASTRUP (Germany) said that the recommendations contained in the Brahimi report related to today's brainstorming, including those on the quality of Security Council mandates; the comprehensive definition of peace operations; the timely deployment of adequately equipped troops; efficient coordination; and better flow of information.  When talking about an "exit strategy", it was important to first define the term itself.  Otherwise, workable mandates would be impossible.

 There was no magic formula to ensure a perfect Security Council mandate, he continued, but there were elements which could be taken into account in that respect.  Before setting up, altering or ending a mandate, a clear and reliable assessment of the situation on the ground which had been agreed upon by all important actors was essential.  The Special Representative of the Secretary-General should be involved in the process, and close consultations with affected States and potential troop-contributors were needed.  It was also necessary to strengthen the Secretariat's capacity to gather information, analyse and plan strategically. 

 An integrated approach should also take into account the repercussions of changes for neighbouring countries, he said.  When altering or ending a mandate, a clear analysis of options must be put together to evaluate the consequences of intended actions.  Mandates had to be clear, credible and achievable.  Adequate resources should also be provided.  When a mission was reduced or terminated, a transparent assessment of the achievement of the mission's goals must be undertaken.  It was important to resist any temptation to gradually extend authority of heads of missions into areas not explicitly covered by the mandate.  The experience of the operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina was a good case to study to that end.

 Mandates must include enough built-in flexibility to allow fine-tuning during mission implementation, he continued.  While understanding the reasons for quick pull-outs, it was important to set high thresholds for withdrawal.  The fact that first elections had been held could seldom be a concluding point for peace operations.  Criteria for the achievement of lasting, self-sustaining peace should include the rule of law and the functioning of civil institutions.  

Peace missions must be seen as a multifold continuum of tasks, he said.  It was important to address the integrated tasks, stretching from conflict prevention all the way to peace-building.  In practice clear distinctions between those phases did not exist.  Overlapping tasks and multi-functional operations were the norm.  Specific components of post-conflict peace-building should be included in peace agreements, in establishing new missions and especially when concluding mandates.  Also important were post-conflict governance, emergency assistance, economic stabilization, health care and coordination.

Germany had already started to implement a number of the Panel's recommendations at a national level, he said, including a stand-by agreement, international training for civilian peacekeepers, financial contributions to the trust fund on crisis prevention and active contributions to peace-building.

 KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore) said that the problem in analysing the successes and failures of peacekeeping operations was the huge variety of such operations.  To understand how peacekeeping operations could be terminated successfully, a clear distinction between the two normally-propounded types was needed.  The first type, created during the cold war in response to interstate conflicts and which provided the definition of peacekeeping operations, were generally single-faceted operations.  Their sole purpose was to monitor and supervise lines of ceasefire. They would exit only when the two sides came to a full peace agreement, unless compelled to withdraw earlier by one or both parties. They were peace monitors, not peacemakers or peace-builders.

 The second type of peacekeeping operation emerged as a result of the euphoria that followed the end of the cold war, he continued.  There had been a genuine feeling that many of the old conflicts had been stoked by the cold war and that, in the immediate post-cold war period, many could be resolved quickly partly because the Security Council was able to act in almost total unity.  That paved the way for many early successes in the peacekeeping operations established to deal with internal conflicts such as those in Namibia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cambodia, Mozambique, Tajikistan, Eastern Slavonia, Guatemala and the Central African Republic.

 He stressed that it would be foolish to generalize about the reasons why they succeeded.  A common factor was that the local populations took ownership of the peace processes.  It was also not possible to generalize about the grounds for failures, such as in Haiti.

 One disastrous failure in the immediate post-cold war era was Somalia, he went on.  Not enough was known about Somalia to explain the failure, but local factors played an important role.  Key external actors also made major errors of judgement.  The tragedy was that the United Nations was held accountable for the failure, when its hands were virtually tied throughout the operation.  But the decision to walk away completely without leaving behind any kind of presence to help improve the situation would remain a blot on the United Nations’ conscience.

 He said that Somalia almost killed peacekeeping operations  Fortunately, they survived as a species, and new ones of the second type were born, including those in Kosovo, East Timor, Sierra Leone and, possibly, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Kosovo and East Timor further pushed the envelope for peacekeeping operations to handle transitional administration.

 He said that any discussion of “mission closure and mission termination” should look at live case studies as much as it looked at past cases.

 ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal) said that the “twilight zone” -- the period of transition between peacekeeping and peace-building -- could result in a return to violence in certain conflict situations because of inattention.  The Council should include the necessary elements in peacekeeping mandates to permit an operation to withdraw smoothly and for the next phase to take over.  Since Portugal’s membership in the Council, the Council had increasingly focused on those and other aspects crucial to effective peacekeeping.  He agreed that the Council, aided by the Secretariat, should have an exit strategy.  The necessary resources should be combined with a clear and achievable mandate to help bring about the end of violence and set nations on the course of peace-building irrevocably.  Any long-term plan for operations must therefore include a commitment to post-conflict peace-building.  Since certain peace-building elements were part of peacekeeping, they must be included in the initial planning and deployment of operations.

 The Council should also stay involved in all phases of the United Nations efforts to address a conflict situation, he said.  This was the best way to ensure a smooth transition, as well as to give a clear signal that the withdrawal of a peacekeeping component did not mean that the United Nations was going back on its commitment to further peace-building.  The process was sometimes the art of the possible and not necessarily a rational response to crisis, with optimal resources and clear objectives.  It was hard to convince troop-contributing countries to provide more forces for peacekeeping operations when the United Nations still owed them for their participation in earlier operations.  It was both a matter of principle and of practical concern that assessed contributions be paid in full, on time and without conditions.  The Organization could not function otherwise.  Under such constraints, the Council had, in the past, failed to act or had authorized a mismatched operation in terms of resources or mandates or both.

The United Nations was only successful when the parties were committed to peace, he said.  It was more than evident that United Nations peacekeeping was sick and that something must be done soon.  The Brahimi report provided a clear roadmap to correct peacekeeping.  It was clear that the overwhelming majority of Member States believed that the time was ripe to make hard but far-reaching decisions, once and for all, to establish United Nations peacekeeping on a solid foundation.  The foundation of peacekeeping was made up of three building blocks:  Member States; the Security Council; and the Secretariat.  Member States must reaffirm their commitment to the United Nations as primarily responsible for the maintenance of peace and security.  They must also be generous.  

 The Council, the organ under the Charter with the responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security, must be able to fully discharge its functions, with full knowledge and understanding of the conflict situations brought to its attention, he said.  That required a clear supporting role from the Secretariat.  The Council must be responsive to Member States and to troop- contributing countries.  

 Without a well-resourced and well-staffed Secretariat, the United Nations could not hope to be effective in peace operations, he said.  Before the Council was asked to address the problems of transition, the Secretariat must be able to plan for such a capacity.  It was time for Member States to act to complete this collective effort.  They must make known their concerns and their support for the reform of United Nations peacekeeping.

 DUMISANI KUMALO (South Africa) said that the policy paper guiding his country’s participation in international peace missions argued that Security Council mandates should be linked to concrete political solutions, and that the deployment of a peacekeeping operation should not be seen as an end in itself.  A clear commitment to the prevention of conflicts before they degenerated into full-fledged civil wars was needed.  South Africa’s participation in peace missions could not be open-ended.  A credible exit strategy was inextricably linked to any well-planned project to build sustainable and durable peace.

 While welcoming the recent Council debate on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration as an important element of post-conflict peace-building, he argued that the Brahimi report recommendations on the need to develop a permanent United Nations capacity for peace-building required urgent attention.  The comprehensive scope and long-term nature of peace-building activities imposed a need to consider limits of involvement of the Security Council.  The implementation of the recommendations of the Brahimi Panel on that matter should also address the involvement of other components of the United Nations system, including the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and other United Nations programmes and agencies.

 He said that the responsibilities attached to peace-building activities in today’s complex conflict environments transcended the abilities and resource capacities of any one particular department or agency within the United Nations system.  Consequently, the Organization was obliged to undertake efforts in a coordinated manner.  For that reason, he welcomed the intention of the Secretary-General to institute integrated mission task forces to plan peacekeeping operations, which would facilitate the smooth transition from peacekeeping to peace-building.

 He congratulated the Council for adopting resolution 1327 mapping out its response to the Brahimi Panel recommendations.  The time had arrived to follow words with action.  The issue of political will and commitment was critical.  There had been tremendous criticism about the commitment gap, on the part of those with the greatest means, when dealing with conflicts in Africa.  The Security Council resolution should be followed up by concrete actions to invest in sustainable and durable peace in the many conflicts in Africa, the most urgent of which was Sierra Leone.

 ASDA JAYANAMA (Thailand) said his delegation was skeptical about the idea of an exit strategy based on the successful fulfilment of a mission mandate as signified by the achievement of a lasting peace.  In view of the United Nations overextended resources for peacekeeping and/or political constraints, maybe it was time to ask whether it was necessary for the Organization to intervene in every conflict situation?  He felt that some situations might be ripe for United Nations action while others could be dealt with by regional organizations.  The United Nations could also propose or approve “coalitions of the willing” as another practical option.

 He said that it was better not to have conflict or, realistically, to have as little conflict as possible.  Thailand, therefore, supported the Secretary-General’s initiative to replace the prevailing culture of reaction with one of prevention.  Prevention was the most preferable and effective means to address the possible outbreak of conflict.  The United Nations had to do more work on preventive diplomacy, which, after all, was one of the many components of the “Agenda for Peace”, proposed by former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali.

 PENNY WENSLEY (Australia) stressed that any adjustment to an operation's end-date should be timely and transparent, and be the subject of prior consultations with nations contributing-troops for that operation.  Developing an exit strategy required a clear view of an operation's objectives.  If the aims were clear to Council members, then it would be easier to identify the conditions that must be in place before the Council declared the mission had achieved its objectives.  Similarly, the actions necessary to achieve those conditions could be more readily developed.

 Exit strategies should take into account not only the military end-state that the Council wished to see, she cautioned, but also the political and economic implications of a pull-out or significant reduction in the number of peacekeepers or other United Nations personnel.  Politically, that might include the sustainability of political processes once the United Nations operation had departed, and whether reconciliation processes between parties in conflict, or the re-establishment of the conditions for an election or other significant national event, were in place.  There would rarely be a situation where the United Nations could leave a completely stable, fully-functioning polity.  Rather, the benchmark should be that political processes were such that international peace and security were no longer threatened.

Economically, the short-term impact of the Organization’s exit could mean the loss of a significant source of demand and income, but equally, a large-scale United Nations presence could create distortions in a local economy, especially if left in place for a long time, she said.  In cases where the United Nations had a major impact on a national economy, the Council must give weight to those economic factors.  There should be, as far as possible, a seamless transition from high levels of United Nations-stimulated economic activity and short-term project assistance, to medium-term projects which would support the economy in the long haul.  Coordinated planning and implementation of medium-term assistance projects should ensure that the termination of the formal operation did not result in frustration and renewed tension, or a sense that the United Nations had turned its back on the country.

 AHMED ABOULGHEIT (Egypt) said that the Security Council should approach the termination of peacekeeping operations on a case-by-case basis since the strict application of a single policy or set of policies was not practical.  Attention must be paid to the particular characteristics of each case.

 He said that in conflict areas where peacekeeping operations had already been deployed, the Security Council should not apply political pressure on any side to achieve the self-serving interests of one or more of its members and without paying attention to the interests of the hosting society, State or region.  Somalia and Rwanda were examples of cases in which peace operations had been terminated for such political motives.  The Council’s responsibilities and role necessitated that its members put aside parochial and individualistic actions in the interest of the higher general good.

 The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations was within the domain of the General Assembly, he noted.  Therefore, in considering past mistakes where peacekeeping operations had been abandoned prematurely or contrary to the needs of the prevailing social climate, the Security Council should hold a frank dialogue with the Assembly and other United Nations organs and bodies. 

 He said that although the time factor was important, it should not be the key factor determining the departure of a peacekeeping operation from the hosting State.  Some operations had existed for decades and their existence had become an important symbol of the international presence pending the achievement of a satisfactory agreement between parties to a conflict.

 United Nations peacekeeping operations should not be open-ended, but should end after the peacekeeping phase, he said.  The Security Council should only be involved in post-conflict peace-building and reconstruction in consultation with the General Assembly and other organs.

 SERGIO VENTO (Italy) said that, too often, an exit strategy had amounted to little more than an escape route.  It was necessary to move beyond logic dictated by emergencies or by partial temporary interests.  A functional connection between the conflict prevention phase and possible action to be undertaken if a crisis degenerates into a threat to international peace and security must be built.  Such a strategy must include provisions for peace-building –- a phase that was essential to achieving sustainable peace once an operation had ended.  “Let us not forget that well-planned peace-building can also have a preventive effect by stemming any possible relapses”, he said.  

He said certain recommendations in the Brahimi report, such as the proposed development of a standing rapid deployment capacity and the emphasis on the use of civilian police, dovetailed with the current thinking in the European Union.  The United Nations and the Union had much to learn from each other in the fields of crisis management and conflict prevention.  There was need for higher standards of international legality.  The time had come to put an end to the law of the strongest.

He said attention to economic and social aspects was an indispensable corollary to an international presence in crisis areas.   Exiting from an operation without first holding elections could also be a recipe for failure.   Integrated strategies entailed the rejection of arbitrary sunset clauses as well.  The United Nations must ensure that conflicts were settled before peacekeeping operations were dismantled.  Close attention must also be paid to the establishment of clear, credible and achievable mandates.  Such a goal, however, could not be achieved without Member States who were willing to contribute personnel.

 ARNE HONNINGSTAD (Norway) called for a distinction between end-date and end-state exit strategies.  An exit strategy for the military components of a mission based on an end-date, and disconnected from the overall objectives of the peace operation, reduced the chances for success.  Planning of military withdrawal must therefore be coordinated with a gradual transfer of responsibilities from the international mission to local authorities.

 He said that in order to reduce the possibility for unilateral withdrawal of forces, or pressure for an end-date-oriented exit strategy, troop-contributing countries must be trusted and supported in their efforts to fulfil the mandate of the mission.  Realistic mandates containing well-defined goals and a carefully established plan for reaching that end-state would contribute to that.

 Certain principles were necessary for successful peace operations and for the successful exit from such missions, he said.  United Nations peace operations should be given clear goals and mandates, the mandate should fit the task, and the resources must fit the mandate.  It was necessary to take a long-term perspective on peace and security.  United Nations involvement should be seamless, from preventive measures through peace operations to post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building.  The Security Council must remain engaged throughout all phases of a peace operation.

JØRGEN BØJER (Denmark) said any exit strategy should be based on the notion of local ownership of the peace-building process.  This should occur as a result of gradual passing of responsibilities to local authorities.  Building local capacities must, therefore, be an integral part of any exit strategy.  The exit strategy should not only refer to the withdrawal of the military component of a United Nations’ operation but also to a long-term plan designed to lead to a self-sustaining peace in the conflict area.  When peacekeeping forces were withdrawn from a former conflict area, that should be done in a gradual manner as the situation stabilized.

He said the phasing out of a military presence should be followed by an enhanced civilian presence that aimed to accelerate the post-conflict peace- building process.  Judicial experts were indispensable to rebuilding civil society and the economy, and their work must be part of any solid peace-building strategy.  The leadership of a peacekeeping mission must also work closely with humanitarian and developmental agencies.  The proposed Integrated Mission Task Forces could prove an essential tool in bringing developmental and humanitarian expertise into the planning and execution of missions.

He said one way of ensuring coherence between peacekeeping, peace consolidation and construction efforts could be for the Council to strengthen consultations with the Secretariat, as well as with the humanitarian and developmental agencies of the Organization, when formulating closure of mandates.  A mandate must not inappropriately limit the Secretary-General’s ability to shape and adjust the operation or mission to take account of evolving circumstances.

 FELIPE H. MABILANGAN (Philippines) said that implicit in today’s discussion was the Council balance sheet in peacekeeping, which was, at best, spotty.  While there were successes, there were also failures and shortcomings.  An exit strategy should be an essential component of any peacekeeping mandate.  Without an objective, any mission would be a waste of human and financial resources, he stressed.  

He said transparency by the Council in peacekeeping had two dimensions.  One was the partnership with troop-contributing countries.  The Council must engage in dialogue with those States who placed their citizens at great risk.  Furthermore, exit strategies formulated without consulting those countries would lack legitimacy.  

He said the second aspect was the multidimensional nature of modern peace operations.  The Council, on its own, could not ensure that United Nations involvement would result in comprehensive peace settlements.  There was a need for closer partnerships between the Council and other relevant international bodies and agencies.  The challenges were daunting and, therefore, required the full cooperation of all.

 MARJATTA RASI (Finland) said that the exit part of an operation should be regarded as the final stage of a comprehensive continuum, which was based on a clear mandate.  A number of irksome experiences from recent history showed that inaccurate decisions on extension, alteration or termination of an operation’s mandate presupposed reliable and objective information from the field.  Should an operation be conducted with inadequate information and a vague mandate, the risk of getting entangled in a “mission creep” type of uncontrolled and hazardous adventure became acute.  

As a representative of a troop-contributing country, she could not overemphasize the need to consult countries that contributed personnel.  They should be involved at the early stages of every phase of the decision-making process of the Council, whenever the mandates of peace operations were extended, modified or terminated.  Their true participation in the decision-making process would facilitate the implementation and also termination of a mandate.

 A post-conflict environment was vulnerable and often exposed to various internal and external pressures, she said.  Without the commitment of regional and local actors, there could hardly be a successful exit strategy.  Post-conflict peace-building should be regarded not only as a matter of approach but also as an integral part of peacekeeping operations.  It was important to define and identify elements of peace-building before they were incorporated into the mandates of complex peace operations.  Peace-building measures and continuous monitoring were important tools for the United Nations to contribute to the success of the operation or, if necessary, to react and introduce appropriate measures in case of regression.

 SHAMSHAD AHMAD (Pakistan) recalled the stereotyped image of peacekeepers renewing hope when war had wreaked havoc to illustrate that the real picture was the opposite.  In most cases, he said, the best that peacekeepers could do was to maintain the status quo and, eventually, wind up an operation without contributing to resolving the conflict in the long term.  The fault lay not with the peacekeepers but with the Council, which often decided on "quick fixes" rather than developing strategies to restore peace in conflict areas.  Too often, it addressed symptoms of conflicts rather than root causes.  Often, the Council failed to implement its own resolutions and tried to appear as if making peace without fulfilling its responsibilities.

 To improve traditional peacekeeping, he said, the United Nations did not need to terminate, impose arbitrary sunset clauses, or indefinitely continue missions that upheld the status quo.  Rather, it must remain actively engaged with other actors on the ground to find a political resolution to the dispute.  Further, once in place, the United Nations must ensure the conflict is resolved before disengaging.  Reducing a mission's military component could cause the situation to deteriorate into renewed conflict.  Exiting without a durable peace was both unacceptable and costly.

 Therefore, he said, peacekeeping must be linked to conflict resolution and post-conflict peace- building.  For the United Nations, the mandate was clear.  To maintain international peace and security, peacekeeping must be seen as one component in an overarching peacemaking process.  That approach was applicable to both intrastate and inter-State conflicts anywhere in the world.  Rather than absolving itself of responsibility by deploying a peacekeeping mission to a conflict area, the Council must come up with a sound, workable "peace strategy" aimed at resolving a dispute by addressing its root causes, and backed up by political will to resolve it.

 Postponing conflicts without resolving disputes did not bring peace, any more than perpetuating a status quo that exacerbated suffering did not bring justice, he said.  The Council must change words into action.  It must reassert lost credibility by fulfilling its obligations, and it must implement decisions without discriminating.  It must uphold principles of justice and international law, and redeem its pledge to the people of Kashmir by implementing resolutions regarding it.  That situation was not just a lurking threat to world peace and security but was also a litmus test for the credibility of the United Nations.

 SERGEI LING (Belarus) said it was clear that the entire nature of United Nations peacekeeping was undergoing a qualitative change.  From its origins in keeping peace between warring States, it now involved mainly intra-State conflicts.  The scope of peacekeeping had expanded to include maintaining a United Nations presence after the end of hostilities, as in Kosovo and East Timor.

Noting that the concept of mission completion was also undergoing significant changes, he said his country supported the recommendations contained in the Brahimi report.

He said thought should be given not only to exit strategies, but also to entry strategies.  It was necessary to have an entry strategy which would preclude the need for exit following an unsuccessful peacekeeping operation.  In turn, such a strategy would entail the total willingness and commitment of the international community to carry out the mandates set by the Security Council.

KAMALESH SHARMA (India) said that renewed confusion over the definition of peacekeeping had arisen.  The notion that modern peacekeeping forces must be prepared to defeat the lingering forces of violence led in a direction from which there was no exit without embarrassment.  Classic missions, which monitor a ceasefire between two countries, would be evacuated if the ceasefire broke down, since impartiality and consent were essential.  In that sense, there was no difference between an inter and intra-State conflict, and veering from that policy, as in Sierra Leone, led the United Nations down an undesirable route.

Other known rules, he said, had been broken to put operations in untenable situations.  Neighbours and regional Powers had recently been allowed to participate in operations, despite the fact that those parties were often part of the problem.  And missions' roles in Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and oversized relief operations often did not take into account the overall effect this had on the dynamics of the conflict.  In addition, commenting on the President's paper and non-paper, he said that diamond embargoes required missions to take on unforeseen, ambitious, and very dangerous tasks, for which peacekeepers were not best suited.  

Maintaining peacekeeping operations until reconstruction was on its way, to ensure lasting peace, was untenable, he said.  Also, he said, mandates, or changes to mandates, should never be a response to pressure caused by media attention.  The Council needed to consult far more widely with key players, particularly the troop contributors, than it did now.  And peacekeeping operations should leave before the host made it clear that they had overstayed their welcome.  

In addition, he said, if a peacekeeping operation was to be brought to a successful end, terms and time frames of peace agreements must be reasonable and supported by all key players.  All parties must be informed exactly what the role of the peacekeeping operation would be and must give consent to it, and then adequate force should be   Disarmament and demobilization should only take place after a general sense of security had been established, and an environment should be created in which delivery of humanitarian aid could be steadily improved, along with actions described as "aid to civil authority".  When an inclusive political arrangement was in place, or when the host government asked it to leave, the operation should be wound up.  A peacekeeping operation should be long gone by the time post-conflict peace-building got into full swing.

PETER TOMKA (Slovakia) said it was evident that a mission should be given an achievable mandate, together with sufficient resources, to be able to fulfil its designated objectives.  The establishment of such a mandate should be based on close and interactive cooperation between the Council, as the decision-maker, and the troop contributors, as the executors of the mandate of the peacekeeping operation.  Member States, however, must be able and willing to provide troops prepared for the given tasks, and thus support the United Nations as it carries out the tasks it is asked to do.  Member States should therefore enter, where feasible, into effective cooperation that would enable them to form adequately trained and equipped troops.

 He said there was no doubt that a peace process was not complete and the cooperation and the assistance of the international community could not stop after the restoration of peace.  Durable results -- lasting and self-sustaining peace and development -– could not be achieved and maintained without adequate follow-up.  It was assumed that a clear and smooth transition from peacekeeping operations to post-conflict peace-building would address all needs for consolidation and development, and thus save the momentum developed by peacekeeping.  The Council must, therefore, remain engaged throughout all phases of the operation.

 PHILOMENA MURNAGHAN (Ireland) said a good exit strategy should offer not just a clear prospect of peace, but one that ensured that there was little chance that conflicts would recur.  In the post-cold war era, conflicts had become increasingly complex and were not just the result of purely military rivalries.  It was, therefore, necessary that peacekeeping operations have a broader scope in order to address the various causes of conflicts.

 Noting that the Security Council should base the formulation of its mandates on requirements and not other factors, she welcomed its new practice of sending visiting missions to conflict areas.  The visits would help the Council’s analysis of the causes of conflicts.

 She said the high costs of peacekeeping operations could lead to the premature termination of missions.  Operations must, therefore, have the necessary resources to ensure their successful conclusion.  While an approach motivated purely by cost was not appropriate, that was not to say there should be no regard to cost.

 IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) described today’s debate as an important contribution to a missing link in the Brahimi report that could not be supplanted by that report’s call for “clear, credible and achievable mandates”.  Having hosted five peacekeeping operations, Croatia was convinced that mandates must also favour, and help usher in, the end objective of self-sustainable peace.  That goal required a well-thought out strategy and an unwavering commitment by all the parties involved.

 He said Croatia took pride in having persevered in carrying out, together with the United Nations, a comprehensive strategy for the successful termination of the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES).  At its launch, the Mission's mandated area of operation had still been under occupation.

From the outset, the Security Council had set a clear, credible and realistic mandate, based on, and corresponding to, the 1995 agreement of the parties involved, he recalled.  The finality of the two-year mandate had provided both the focus and discipline needed to anticipate and then carry out a number of mandated tasks, most notably the disarmament programme launched early in the operation, and completed swiftly, and an innovative weapons buy-back scheme in parallel.

He said two other elements of the UNTAES strategy were equally important: follow-up security assistance and political missions that ensued upon termination of the operation; and a national strategy and policy measures regarding the rehabilitation and reintegration of the former combatants.  Another element was the development and implementation of Croatia's national strategy for peaceful reintegration of the region.

The proper initial formulation of the mandate, he said, and its subsequent modifications to fit evolving realities were a part of a well-defined strategy to meet the final objectives -- peaceful reintegration and sustainable peace in Eastern Slavonia.  Because the Security Council had neither lost sight of, nor appeared hesitant regarding that objective, it had been able to anticipate and act flexibly.

JOSEPH MUTABOBA (Rwanda) said it was imperative that members had, and showed, the same sense of responsibility in whatever they were doing in the Council Chamber.  Also, each peacekeeping operation that they were called upon to launch should end with a successful exit.  To achieve that there was a need for the right strategies, which would stem from clear thinking, clear achievable mandates, adequate logistics and, most of all, from a sustained political will to take the whole membership of the Organization on board.  Such a systematic way of thinking –- step-by-step and phase-by-phase –- could not lead to disaster or failure.  On the contrary, it would lead to success, which was what was collectively sought.  

He said that whilst no peacekeeping forces could expect a soft landing in any given country, with good strategies those forces could avoid the worst and do the best job.

 He said clear objectives and mandates defined strategies.  The lack of those had been the cause of, and would continue to be the repeated cause of, failures.  While exit was permissible, the question to be asked in that context was, “have you done what you had to do and are you satisfied with your own achievements?”  If the answer was no then all the strategies ought to be thrown on the table and revised.  The Brahimi report undoubtedly showed that Srebrenica and Rwanda could have been avoided all together.  Words alone, however, could not serve any purpose.  They must be followed by actions.

 PETER VAN WALSUM (Netherlands), the President of the Council speaking in his national capacity, said today’s debate had made a useful contribution to the overall exercise of improving United Nations peacekeeping operations.  Today’s subject, however, deserved a much more detailed study than the paper he had provided today.  That paper was merely meant to challenge minds and loosen tongues.  It was now necessary to move to a more operational mode, with effective follow-up.  He would put the issue on the agenda of the Council for consultations of the whole.  Delegations with suggestions could submit them to the President of the Council.

He said one recurring theme was the importance of ensuring a smooth transition from the conflict phase to the post-conflict peace-building phase.  In that respect Guinea-Bissau was a tragic case in point.  It was now in the throes of post-conflict peace-building.  An open briefing on that country had been scheduled in the Council for the end of this month.

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