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United Nations must be equipped to deal with genocide, but EU battle groups not best answer

14 October, 2004

Sinn Féin MLA Caitriona Ruane has said that she believes that 'the United Nations must as a matter of urgency develop the capacity to deal with genocide prevention, but I don't accept that outsourcing peacekeeping operations to regional military alliances such as the EU is the best answer for the international community'.

Ms Ruane was speaking after she attended the National Forum on Europe at Dublin Castle where UN Secretary General Kofi Annan delivered a keynote speech at 12 noon on the theme of 'EU/UN Cooperation in Crisis Management'.

Speaking afterwards, Ms Ruane said:

"I want to welcome Kofi Annan to Ireland. We have been given an unprecedented opportunity to listen and engage with the UN Secretary General on the future role of the United Nations. We in Sinn Fein are particularly interested in the opportunity to discuss proposals for UN reform, which for us is an international relations policy priority.

"We therefore look forward to reviewing the recommendations of the High-Level Panel established to assess the prevention and removal of threats to peace, which is due to report back to the UN in December 2004.

"It is my understanding that the panel is considering the option of allowing military action against a state if it can be determined it is involved in genocide against the population. Sinn Fein will review its conclusions on this matter with particular interest.

"Sinn Féin agree without reservation that the international community has a responsibility to prevent genocide. But we believe just as strongly that any such action must be organised and led by the United Nations, not regional alliances such as the EU. This is essential to endow such actions with the highest possible level of international legitimacy.

"I certainly recognise that the UN has been starved of resources for many years and has also been consistently undermined. In this context I understand that the outsourcing of peacekeeping missions to regional military alliances such as the EU seems an attractive option. But what we risk going down that road is the longer-term perception of the UN as redundant. That would be a very bad outcome indeed for the international community. My preference would be to see the EU refocus its efforts and resources towards building up the capacity of the UN to undertake its own peacekeeping missions, and to finance the business of getting on with badly needed UN reform." ENDS

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