Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a UN Security Council Arria-Formula Meeting on Strengthening Regional Arrangements

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
July 27, 2022


Thank you, Ambassador, and thank you to Ghana for convening this important discussion today. I would also like to thank our distinguished briefers for your insightful contributions.

Regional organizations prevent, de-escalate, and mitigate crises and conflicts. And in Africa, the African Union and the subsidiary Regional Economic Communities are particularly well-positioned to detect, warn, and intervene early when a regional approach best corresponds to dynamics on the ground. Their early interventions can prevent mass atrocities. They can create the space for ceasefires, political processes, and peace efforts. The AU can be Africa’s key to peace. So, we wish to strengthen the AU’s capabilities, especially the regional standby forces.

Military solutions alone, however, cannot address today’s complex security threats, including terrorism and extremists. We must not only be reactive but also proactive. Peace requires targeted prevention efforts – alongside development, humanitarian, and security responses. These initiatives need careful consideration. We must define their scope, their principles, their objectives, and their end states. They should be clearly structured and resourced, and closely coordinated among the growing regional and international actors operating alongside one another in these dynamic and volatile environments.

To that end, the United States remains committed to working with the AU to leverage the continent’s expertise and experience to address peace and security challenges in Africa. We welcome AU engagement in conflict prevention and mediation, and we pay tribute to the sacrifices AU personnel have made in support of the peace and stability of the continent. We are proud to contribute significant bilateral funding, material support, training, and other assistance to regional initiatives and to the troop- and police-contributing countries.

We are also committed to working with the AU and Security Council members to explore predictable and sustainable funding options for AU peace support operations, so the AU has the flexibility it needs to address today’s evolving threats. This funding should help preserve the core principles of UN peacekeeping, including impartiality. It should ensure appropriate oversight. It should include women peacekeepers. And it should help achieve lasting solutions.

We applaud the progress that the AU has made in developing its own human rights and international humanitarian law frameworks, as noted in the Secretary-General’s report. And we encourage the AU to continue implementing compliance frameworks for peace support operations in important areas – like international humanitarian law and human rights and conduct and discipline, including sexual exploitation and abuse. We also encourage the AU to continue to strengthen training, monitoring, reporting, and accountability.

As we have stated on several occasions, compliance with international law – as well as oversight by the Security Council – remain key considerations for any discussions about the potential use of UN-assessed contributions, including for any actions undertaken by regional organizations under Chapter VII* of the Charter of the United Nations.

Finally, we are encouraged to see the increasingly joint approaches that the UN and the AU are bringing to conflict analysis and prevention throughout Africa. We’re seeing more joint field visits, assessments, working groups, and exchanges going on between the UN and the AU than ever before. That’s good for the UN. It’s good for the AU. And it’s good for peace.

Let us continue to use these fora to elevate issues of concern, establish shared knowledge of complex situations, and consider how to address them together.

Thank you, Mr. President.


*Chapter VIII