Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a UN Security Council Open Debate on UN Cooperation with Regional Organizations

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
April 19, 2021


Thank you, Mr. President. And allow me to join others in congratulating you on your assumption as President of Vietnam, and to thank Vietnam for your extraordinary leadership during this month’s Security Council.

Today, I’d like to offer a topline overview of some of the world’s most important regional organizations, share our views on their important work, and offer plans for coordination and collaboration.

We have worked with the African Union across Africa to address many crises, from Somalia and Darfur, to Ebola response in West Africa. And as you heard from the Secretary-General, as well as from the President of Kenya, we continue to have many challenges on the continent. At this very moment, a strong UN-AU partnership is crucial to addressing the conflict in Tigray and the unfolding humanitarian and human rights crisis. The conflict has already caused hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. Working together, with the support of the international community, the UN and AU are positioned to press for free, safe, unhindered humanitarian access, an end to violence, accountability for those responsible for human rights violations, and a peaceful solution.

Confidence and security building measures are another important tool that the UN and regional organizations can use to foster cooperation and trust. The United States particularly commends the Organization of American States for its long history of using these measures across the hemisphere. They have successfully identified traditional, as well as nontraditional measures, that address new threats, concerns, and other challenges in the hemisphere. The OAS has helped broker agreements to resolve territorial disputes between Belize and Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, as well as Costa Rica and El Salvador. The OAS has also participated in several conflict resolutions and national reconciliation activities, including disarmament and demobilization in Colombia. These confidence and security building measures have contributed to transatlantic military stability, predictability, and transparency.

The OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission also plays a vital role in reporting on daily activities of violence on the ground in Ukraine. We owe it to their leadership, all of the brave monitors, and everyone with an interest in a strong European security environment, to ensure the Mission can operate freely and without hindrance.

We also deeply appreciate the European Union’s deployment of civilian and military missions in support of the UN Security Council resolutions. The EU’s military training missions in the Central African Republic, Mali, and Somalia directly support UN peacekeeping efforts. We thank you for your willingness to take on these challenges inside and outside of your region.

The United States also looks to regional organizations like ASEAN to play a strong role in encouraging conflict prevention, mediation, preventative diplomacy, and peacebuilding. While the ultimate responsibility lies with the Security Council to address threats to international peace and security – this month in particular – we in the Security Council eagerly await the outcome of the ASEAN meeting on Burma, which deserves serious and immediate attention. ASEAN-led forums, including the ASEAN Regional Forum and East Asia Summit, provide a space for constructive dialogue between regional countries to discuss pressing regional and international issues, including good governance, counterterrorism, and maritime security. We will continue to actively engage in these forums to foster constructive engagement with Indo-Pacific countries.

Through our contributions to the preventative diplomacy agenda at the ASEAN Regional Forum, we have seen great strides on the inclusion of women, youth, and civil society organizations. Increasing the meaningful participation of women in all political processes is a priority at other regional organizations too, like the OSCE. It’s yet another reason to coordinate with these organizations, as we do everything we can to promote support for the women, peace, and security agenda here at the Security Council.

Finally, we’d also like to recognize the leading roles that the Pacific Island Countries’ regional organizations play in advancing economic development and security cooperation. Our partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum enhances regional security cooperation and supports implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions with Pacific governments and their shipping registries.

Regional organizations are essential partners in working toward peace and security. They are engines of diplomacy. We at the United Nations have to be in close contact with them to secure our success. So, we look forward to continuing to coordinate and collaborate with all of these organizations, as well as others, in the days, weeks, and years to come.

Thank you, Mr. President, for hosting this important debate.