"A wind of hope blows in Africa"

Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa on 9 July 2018.
Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, at the headquarters of the African Union, Addis Ababa, 9 July 2018. Tiksa Negeri / REUTERS

African heads of state and government meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sunday 10 February, for the 32nde Top of the African Union (AU). UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will encourage the journey to encourage "The wind of hope" represented by the recent peace agreements signed in the Horn of Africa. But the challenges for the continent remain numerous, he explains World Africa.

Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi was elected under conditions that many observers disputed. The UN reacted very sensitively to this election. What do you expect from this new president?

Antonio Guterres We naturally expect a devotional service to the cause of Congolese people, who have suffered a lot and are still suffering. Look at what's happening in the east of the country, with all these armed groups, violence against women and children, Ebola … It will require an inclusive government, able to gather all Congolese and create the conditions for the country overcome political, economic and social problems and find stability to find a solution to the problems of the country.

"Our agenda in the DRC is the peace, security and welfare of the Congolese people."

Regardless of what has happened, there is an established situation today and I think it is important to work together with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to overcome the huge problems it is still facing. You say that we are measured. It's true. We did not have an agenda. Our agenda is the peace, security and welfare of the Congolese people. And I hope that the neighboring countries of the DRC will be able to give the Great Lakes region, with its enormous wealth, a future of peace and prosperity that can have a positive impact in Africa.

Read also Despite allegations of fraud, Felix Tshisekedi acknowledged president of the DRC

The outgoing president, Joseph Kabila, wanted the UN mission to leave. What signals do you expect from the new president? Should Monusco remain in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

We have already started a dialogue with the new president. I believe that there is a mutual desire for cooperation. Ultimately, it will be necessary to review the mechanism that exists in the DRC. The big problems lie mainly in the east, but it would be an illusion to think that we could close the mission quickly. There is still work to be done in close cooperation with the Congolese authorities and people.

It is two years since two UN experts were killed in the Kasai region. Many reports have referred to the responsibility of the Congolese state in these killings, but the UN has given Kinshasa the responsibility to manage this investigation. Why?

We obtained from the Congolese government the integration of independent international elements, such as expert Robert Petit, into the research system. It is true that Robert Petit has already made several references to the fact that cooperation with the Congolese authorities was not positive enough, and I hope that the climate created by the elections will contribute to a greater use of justice. Congolese, so that the guilty are actually found and punished.

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A peace agreement must be signed in Central Africa, concluded in Khartoum under the auspices of the AU and the UN. Experts find it too weak, with many gray areas, especially about the amnesty of armed groups …

The agreement does not provide for the amnesty of armed groups, impunity can not exist. It provides a mechanism similar to the mechanism already established in other countries to determine the truth and create conditions for justice and reconciliation. I hope that these mechanisms will work in Central Africa.

How can this agreement stabilize the country and what is different from previous peace agreements, which all failed?

In my opinion, there is one very important thing: the involvement of the neighboring countries. We can see Sudan, Chad, DRC, Cameroon, all strongly committed to making this agreement triumph. The Central African Republic is extremely fragile, the presence of the state in the country is very small, the armed groups are very diverse. The realization of this agreement will not be easy, but there is a commitment from neighbors and African and international institutions that corresponds to the wind of hope blowing in Africa. I believe that people are increasingly convinced that we need to put an end to these conflicts that hinder the development of the continent, respect for human rights and the horrors of suffering for the people.

Read also Central African Republic: "We can doubt the reliability of the peace agreement announced in Khartoum"

You speak about "the wind of hope" in Africa. What progress has been made in 2018?

In general, we talk about negative things. But see the similarities between Ethiopia and Eritrea on the one hand, between Eritrea and Somalia on the other, and now the negotiations between Eritrea and Djibouti. See the agreement between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, finally possible in South Sudan, although there is still a long way to go. Look at these elections where we were expecting terrible problems, such as in the DRC, Madagascar or Mali. Even if there were differences, the losers behaved favorably to the constitutional structures of the countries and without violence. And we, the United Nations, are determined in close cooperation with the AU and sub-regional organizations of Africa to ensure that this wind of hope can spread across the continent, which deserves peace to give its citizens the benefits of development. .

But the year 2018 was also marked by the proliferation of terrorist attacks. And the UN-AU talks about financing terrorist military operations by soldiers from African countries, such as G5 Sahel Joint Force [qui regroupe la Mauritanie, le Mali, le Burkina Faso, le Niger et le Tchad], did not succeed.

"To combat terrorism, we need African forces that are supported by the international community."

Unfortunately, there is no unanimity in the Security Council to ensure that these African troops, who are not peacekeepers but peace-enforcing and anti-terrorist forces, have a mandate to provide clear and strong and predictable and guaranteed funding. The expansion of the areas of influence of terrorist groups and their ability to act requires much stronger mechanisms for combating terrorism. In my opinion, the only way to do this effectively is with African troops strongly supported by the international community. We do not yet have an effective mechanism for combating terrorism, and at the same time a much greater commitment from the international community is needed to finance development programs, in solidarity with the Sahel and others. African region & # 39; s.

Read also Burkina Faso, host and concern of the G5 Sahel summit

Rwanda commemorates the 25th anniversary of the genocide in April. What traces and lessons has this genocide left to the organization?

I would not say "remember", I would say "relive" this tragic moment … I believe we should pay tribute to the Rwandan people, who managed to overcome this terrible thing and create conditions for the country to could develop quickly, with almost unique economic and social progress in Africa.

Are you going there?

I will not go to Rwanda at the time, but I will have a meeting with President Kagame, who is still the president of the AU, in Addis Ababa. We see that the risks of genocide persist. We must not forget what happened in Rwanda, because we must not forget the Holocaust and other tragic moments in the history of mankind.

Marie Beul (New York, United Nations, Correspondent)

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