Kofi Annan: "Interventions: A Life in War and Peace"



good afternoon I'm Robert Lieberman I'm the Dean of the School of International and public affairs here at Columbia University and on behalf of the school and of the Saltzman Institute for Warren Peace Studies I'm delighted to welcome you all here and to welcome Kofi Annan back to Columbia mr. Annan as you all know has spent a time here over the last couple of years and we've been delighted and honored to have him among us he was spoke at the CEPA graduation a couple of years ago so he's an old hand here at Columbia and it's a real pleasure and honor to have him back to celebrate the publication of his new book and to talk to us a little bit about some of the issues that he's dealt with over a long and very distinguished career at the United Nations and most recently in in Syria before we move on I want to acknowledge and introduce ambassador Arnold Saltzman who is not just a friend of Columbia University and of Seba and the benefactor of the Saltzman Institute for Warren Peace Studies but but a real champion of the kind of work that we do here at the Institute and really has made it possible for us to have these kind of events to have the kind of serious intellectual and political exchanges and policy dialogues that that the Saltzman Institute provides a platform for to say a few more words about the Institute and to introduce our speaker I'm going to introduce my colleague professor Richard Betts dick is the Saltzman professor and the director of the Saltzman Institute a longtime faculty member at Columbia both in Seba and the political science department extremely distinguished scholar commentator on American foreign policy defense and security studies intelligence and and the leader of the Saltzman Institute so it's my pleasure to introduce dick Betts thank you rob I'm fortunate to be the director of the Arnold a Saltzman Institute as many of you know the Institute was originally founded by Dwight Eisenhower when he was president of Columbia and this spring will mark the tenth anniversary of the renaming of the Institute in honor of ambassador Arnold Saltzman is – promotes research on the full range of international affairs and it promotes involvement of our academic researchers in the foreign policy arena and public discussion of critical issues especially on how to apply lessons from the piece part of war and Peace Studies on behalf of the Saltzman Institute and ambassador Saltzman himself who's with us today I'm privileged to add my words of welcome to one of the most honored international public servants Kofi Annan this year marks a half a century since mr. Annan took up a position as a Budget Officer with the World Health Organization thus beginning a long career with the United Nations that culminated in his two terms as secretary-general and included work on many issues that aren't him numerous recognitions for his service including the Nobel Prize for Peace since then he's continued active involvement in world affairs most recently returning to UN service as special envoy to Syria a mission by the way on which our own jean-marie gano Associate Director the Saltzman Institute took leave to service as deputy most of you were quite familiar with mr. Annan's many accomplishments for those who for some strange reason are not you have a detailed biographical sketch of him in the program so rather than following the common practice of introducing a distinguished guest by saying he needs no introduction but then preceding nevertheless to deliver a lengthy one I will not waste time that we could spend hearing from him to repeat his achievements in detail instead let's cut to the chase to hear his reflections on life in the middle of world events after which Michael Doyle who worked closely with our guests at the United Nations will moderate a brief discussion mr. Annan thank you very much yet professor Betts and I think we all relieved that you didn't say here's a man who needs no introduction and then proceeded to introduce him but a word of caution I I had an experience my wife and I after I stepped down went to Como the region to rest and we borrowed a friend's house and thought we will rest there for three months no television no radio and no newspapers after six weeks of this I was beginning to get bored so I told my wife let's go to the village and get her paper we entered the tobacconist and within minutes a group of men at the corner started staring at us and one of them broke away and made straight for me I tend to my wife and said oh my god we have six more weeks to go and we broken our cover how are we going to manage by then the fellow was on top of me and he put his hand out and said Morgan Freeman may I have an autograph so I say sure I signed Kay Freeman he was happy and we kept our anonymity and continued our work so be careful let me say that as you said it's a bit like homecoming I have many friends I in the room today some work very closely with me and I'm also happy to be in the company of leaders of the 21st century as we discussed over lunch and I perhaps will start by making a few remarks and Michael and I would I would answer some questions from Michael and then we open it up but let me say people have asked me why did I write the book interventions and basically very good Michael basically I felt that I have had a privilege of living through some unique experiences that was important for me to write about them and share that experience with all this I worked with an organization which M has has done a lot for the world but is based by no means a perfect organization the UN is not perfect we can improve and besides I need to reassure you that the men and women of the UN who work at the UN are no Saints we are no superhumans we are we make mistakes I saw others do but we are also an organization that cannot tell the story even the successful ones so I felt I should try and share my experience as I lived it through the UN and perhaps get the public to have a better understanding of what goes on inside the glass building for me it all started in Ghana where I was born and went to school in Ghana high school and first few years of university and as a boy growing up the struggle for independence was at his height and we saw all the changes that would draw all of the colonial authorities the appointment of ghanians not only as Prime Minister but head of the army head of the police and as a young boy growing up we're in school we role-played suddenly we saw this big change this big achievement of Independence and you walk away with the feeling that change is possible even basing really big fundamental changes are possible and for me that marked my life and then of course say I got it for Foundation grant to study in the United States and that's how I ended up at Macalester College people asked me why would you choose one of the coldest places in America I said I did not choose it was chosen for me but it was a wonderful experience it was really cold I recall I recall having to wear layers and layers of clothing to keep one by that word spine I thought was logical enough but there was one item the Year mobs that I was determined not to use I for some reason I found them in elegant so I said I'm not going to use them until one Sunday I had got had gone to get something to eat and I almost lost my ears and the next day I bought the biggest pair I could find elegant elegant or not but I also lent a lesson that you don't walk into an environment and behave as if you know better than the natives you have to listen and they have to do what they what they do so that was my beginning of my life in the United States and then of course going back to Ghana we had the independence and a whole group of African nations also became independent I think at one point in the UN about 19 new members came in in one go and Ghana was very hopeful place at the time or the way it seemed to me it was very hopeful we were all quite anxious to see our countries develop for us to play a role an interest in of Ghana and Malaysia got the independence the same year in 1957 Ghana in March and Malaysia in August about five years ago I was asked to do the lecture for Malaysia's independence and Ghana's independence and comparing where the countries were at the time of independence and where they are today in terms of economic and political and social development it was quite striking I mean the two countries haram was the same amount of reserves at the National Bank in terms of income per capita about the same but of course today when you look at it in the Malaysia has 13 times the GDP of Ghana and what went wrong where where did we diverge of course Malaysia has had a relatively stable government may be some situations to some was said to stable we have gone through a whole series of military coup details we destabilize his society a niche government that comes in doesn't build on what has been achieved they want to start afresh and do their own thing and that really set up the situation in Ghana so in the book you will notice that I talked a lot about African leadership the type of leadership but that is required where we went wrong why some leaders had become dictators and the role of civil society in steering things right my I recall my first ever address to the African Union as secretary-general I raised this issue of governance and challeng them in a room full of dicta some of the leaders were dictators or military leaders arguing that they should not allow leaders who take over power by force to join them I associate of a subspace and treat them as if they are legitimately elected leaders and it was interesting when I made that bold statement there was a bit of applause but not from the floor the leaders were sitting on the main floor and the civil society were in the in the rafters or balconies the applause came from the balconies not from where the leaders way and I decided that it was an African secretary-general I couldn't take on these issues and and challenge them to do better it will be much more difficult for other secretaries general to do it you know what less than two years later they came up with their decision a norm in African Union that they will not accept any leader who come to power by by the gun so any country that where underwent a military coup was not allowed to join and recently where there have been fewer sections the first and a announces we don't want to keep our we are going to organize democratic elections and leave within the market within a year or two so it has made the changes taking place on the continent and of course ever since I stepped down I have become engaged in other mediation efforts in Kenya where divisions of our elections led to 1300 people killed in 2008-2009 and 650 thousand displaced I was sent in by the African Union with two other people graça Machel the wife of Nelson Mandela and president Benin kappa former president of in tanzania to see if we can help resolve the conflict it was very tense when we brought in the government which had been installed at midnight felt they won the elections fair and square the opposition felt they stole it fair and square and they were not talking to each other we managed to get them together and to form a coalition government a grand coalition and i encourage that because if an in addition to the settlement they also agreed a reform package a reform package that was designed to deal with the root causes so that whatever happened is not a repeated so with the opposition leader became the Prime Minister and President Kibaki has stayed in bar and I went there for two weeks I thought within two to three weeks I could help them Stephan's right but I'm still involved today working with them on the reform projects of five years on we are still working on the reforms the next elections will be in March next year and we are all open that there will be no violence and I just came from Kenya about ten days ago and civil society is now active the religious leaders women's organizations and the other civil society organizations and we have also worked very effectively with the media awareness because they have a role to play and during the crisis media played a very negative role people use in radio to incite one tribe against the other so we will see what happens at the next election and of course I am now also very actively engaged in agriculture we have a group called the Alliance for Green Revolution and now objective is to work with small-scale African farmers to increase their production and go beyond subsistence see themselves a small business women I say women because most of the farmers are women to be able to feed their families sell on the market and eventually for Africa to become part of the global food security system and it is possible if we were to double our production we will have quite a lot of a surplus but we are trying to go beyond that because sixty percent of the arable land today is still in Africa and hopefully if we can organize ourselves relying on this army of small-scale farmers linking up with commercial farms we should be able to feed the people and ensure that we are at least meeting one Millennium Development Goal to hear the other comment I would want to make is during my time as Secretary General we saw the end of the Cold War and that as we discuss with Stephen and the students earlier saw an explosion of UN peacekeeping operations the Security Council could take decisions that it hadn't taken and we were given all sorts of mandates in some very difficult situations and the resources Nathan didn't always follow we went through some tough moments I think I will start with Iraq I mean with the Somalia I will start with Somalia in 1992 where President Bush senior how they took a decision just before he left office to send in thousands of US troops to ensure that the starvation that we were seen in Somalia was brought to an end and in those days it wasn't because there was no food but the soldiers and the rebels were preventing the food from getting to the needy and so the u.s. soldiers made a real difference by opening up the supply chains ensuring that the food could leave the warehouses and be distributed to the people of course down the line when they became a UN operation and there was an attempt to arrest general Aidid one of the rebel leaders the u.s. plane was shot down and bodies of US soldiers dragged through the streets some of you may have seen the film Black Hawk Down and the u.s. decided to withdraw but we did not only lose the US soldiers soldiers from other Western countries who were best trained better or left so the operation collapsed by then we were also faced in Rwanda where an agreement had been signed between the rebels and the government and when the plane was shot down all best way off and there was said joj one of our generals gave us a warning that somebody had been to see him to say that there may be a plan to history of exterminate who choose to sister to a seminary to seize and that he had he would take him to go and capture 135 weapons at that time it was obvious at term governments are not going to put in additional troops his troop was very small about five six hundred men and they didn't have the resources to take on a major confrontation with a people and so what we told him was tell the American ambassador the French ambassador and the Belgian ambassador on the ground they should all make a common dommage to the president and tell him we know what his side is thinking and if they dare go ahead with this he will be held responsible and the consequences would be very bad normally these since the sort of pressure works and besides was the only weapon we really had because we did not want to see the kind of collapse we saw in Somalia and sure enough when the violence can start it and expanded in Rwanda ten Belgian soldiers were killed and the Belgian contingent retic withdrew the Sri Lankans were given instructions to protect themselves alone so delay had half a ganyan battalion of about 250 men working in this country with energy relatively show up here 800,000 people were killed and it was a national then I think the point we had thought it was something within the city but was a really organized national effort and I will tell you that had quite an impact on me and those of us working in in peacekeeping and at the same time we also had to Yugoslavia the Bosnian prices and what happened in several nature these events really taught us a lesson or me in particular and in fact when we talk of responsibility to protect it's been also a bit of a personal journey for me living through all this and asking yourself the question so what should the international community do to ensure that we don't go on repeating these events how do we protect the people who are trapped in these countries and when we start a discussion responsibility to project and the whole concept of getting governments to accept that they cannot hide behind sovereignty use sovereignty as a shield to brutalize their people or not to protect them and that if they did not protect them the international community may have to intervene will have the responsibility to intervene but intervention on the r2p does not necessarily mean use of force it starts with political diplomatic economic and other pressures and force being used as last resort and of course if one is going to use force you have to be certain that it should be effective useful and do and should not do more harm and so I don't want intervention to be seen in terms of military alone and in the book and use intervention in a much wider way that it covers all the issues interdependent issues that we need to intervene whether it's humanitarian whatever is on health issues whether is political and military and I would want to say that on poverty we were very lucky to be able to get the members to agree for us to deal with the Millennium Development Goals and I think it was good the Member State took on the issue of economic development because the conflicts that we deal with often has economic basis basis of deprivation people fight another limited resources and and helping ensure that they have the basic minimum often would also help you may contain certain situations the book also talks about the Middle East peace process and my efforts in it as well as say the war in Iraq and the israeli-palestinian conflict and there's quite a full description of the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah which was an interest in that and because was one of the first is symmetrical wars that we fought in recent times and in a way the war was very costly for Israel because there when the best organized and the most respected I mean in the region cannot defeat a Hezbollah movement for the public the Hezbollah becomes the heroes and for Hezbollah survival was victory if they survive they had won and Israel got into this and even at the end when they just before the ceasefire Hezbollah was still pushing shooting ketosis missiles into into Israel and that was a very expensive lesson there for Israel to ass also during this period that we got involved in the HIV a struggle where we worked with governments to establish the Global Fund to fight hiv/aids tuberculosis and malaria and here apart from the nations on the government we also worked with this private sector and civil society for example the pharmaceutical industry we managed to get them to reduce the cost of medication considerably so that the poor and afford it at the time it was hundred fifty thousand a year we managed to get them to come down to Africa under 150 dollars and in fact with some of the medication may vary pain to prevent mother-to-child transmission which for me was a the west and the wickedest of all transmissions they gave the medication free and yet when we first brought them into a conference room in Amsterdam with dr. guru Brundtland the head of World Health Organization and I started talking to them about reducing cost we had an interest in exchanges one of the managing chairman one of the chairman said I don't know why I'm here I don't have my lawyer with me and I said you don't need a lawyer another one said we could be accused of price fixing a surprise fixing means when you collude to increase your profits here I'm asking you to lose profits I'm asking you to lose money you know so nobody is going to come up but in the end they did it and this was at a time when they even had decades in the South African Court against Nelson Mandela because he had threatened to use compulsory licensing to produce a generic version of the medication to help the poor my advice to them was I don't know who your public relations person is but he has to be a real genius to consume and Ella in South Africa on an issue like medication for hiv/aids if you lose you lose if you win you lose and news so there was no way and you better get it out of court and and and they pulled it out settled privately but did the right thing in the end maybe I should pause here and give the floor to Michael thank you very much secretary general for those wonderful remarks I assure you having reread the book over the weekend that that's only a flavor of what is a ten-course meal in this book talking about the evolution of the international system and the leadership role that you played in it some of your staff used to call you on occasion the secular Pope and I think some of your remarks this afternoon and the record that you give trying to set norms for the international community comes forth very very powerfully in this book so I recommend it to all of you Amazon not very pricey easily ordered probably on Kindle soon I've got three questions I'd like to ask you to start off this conversation the first is a very difficult question I know it was part of the maybe the single most difficult time in your very distinguished career the secretary-general and I want to come back to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and you spoke about what happened and how it happened in just the past few minutes I was wondering whether you could say or would care to say a little bit more on how we should attribute the responsibilities for what happened we know of course the responsibility belongs to the interim way but what about the international responsibilities and what about the the UN itself including DBK oh where what's the right distribution responsibilities for this event and could it ever be repeated do you think there's a chance of that happening again yeah it's a good question and a difficult one a good question in the sense of 10 this is a question we asked ourselves and in fact a commission to study chaired by in Bacchus and the former prime minister of Sweden he came to the conclusion that the Welman reason for failure and inability to do anything to protect the people was lack of political will but I think I should go beyond that we given the question you have a put it is extremely difficult for the general public to understand what goes on in the UN and what is the UN I find that they have the best way to explain this because when we refer to the UN as they ask it we are outside you can you distance yourself and yet the UN is all of us the governments the Secretariat and the secretary-general and and in this situation we have to put in some context I started by explaining what happened in Somalia in a way Rwanda became a sort of a victim of Somalia because we were withdrawing from Somalia where we had had in thousands of troops because of the killing of several US soldiers and here is also a problem for governments and for us because we created the impression to the public that peacekeeping operations are risk-free operations and that casualties are not to be expected and casualties are not allowed the US troops who were killed which was very painful for all of us about 10-12 of them he find it is where do you remember but 10 12 of them and that led to unwrapped then of a whole operation and withdraw one of thousands of soldiers when you hear a week ago two weeks ago that 2,000 American soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan and about 5,000 wounded and the u.s. is still there now talking of withdraw if it is a national effort and national prestigious on the nine governments tend to want to stick or tend to take the casualties who if it's a UN operation which is bled in the numbers day and niche that you and the moment it happens everybody wants to withdraw because we have not taken the time to explain to the population that peacekeeping is a noble effort but there are risks and so that was one problem and that problem I think belongs to both the Member States and the secretary but in any event as we were withdrawing because it has been casualties we were looking at another situation which could potentially be worse than Somalia in terms of risks to troops and governments that we drew from Somalia were not in a hurry to jump into another adventure and we in the Secretariat at that time where media shy we were not using the media in fact Secretary General butros how Dhiru he was the only one who spoke to the press and most of us did not speak to the press and maybe we should have used a press a bit more to raise awareness to put the issue on the map and get civil society involved in the pendant massacre or genocide in Rwanda but even if we've done that I'm not sure given the mood immediately after Somalia governments would have been willing to put in troops and so and the nature of the of the conspiracy was so vast that I think at the beginning none of us thought it was on a national scale and yet that is what it was so my written will be one education and accepting making it clear what it means and also for us to really be bold enough to speak to the public appeal for support appeal for understanding and also point a finger at those who were actually responsible as you said was in the interim way and that was responsible but sometimes you have these groups who are oblivious to what the outside is saying even though the same group who do not listen to the outsiders often tell us we also listened to the CNN or we see this year when you ask them why did you kill the Belgians who say we also watch CNN yeah thank you so that's what your elaborate in for us is what it meant to have a lack of political will on the basis of the Member States and then the UN is not itself able to cultivate it and then some people whe that is the UN didn't fully understand what happened in that event let me move to a different question the the UN system is now in the process of formulating what are called the post-2015 development framework for some this is a attempt to revisit the MDGs that are due in 2015 and the new sustainable development goals that are being promoted in the system a panel has been appointed including Prime Minister Cameron and President Johnson Sirleaf from Liberia and President Yudhoyono from Indonesia to look into what should be a new set of goals for the International System with regard to development broadly considered and at the same time there's been a good deal of criticism of the MDG so I think it's the time that one needs to address do we need goals and if we do what goals do we need should they be broader include human rights should they be narrower and just include a friendly environment for governance and FDA and foreign direct investment and my question to you is given your understanding of the MDGs what lessons can we draw from the MDGs that should be conveyed to Prime Minister Cameron and his colleagues when they said about thinking about a new set of development goals no Maya do you work with me on the MDGs when we were both at the UN and I think the whole idea of coming up with the MDGs is to try and come up with a framework that will help the poorest the people who are the bottom of the pie to ensure that certain basic needs are satisfied from food to health to a clean water primary education and and I think these needs are still valid in many societies my own view is that we should press Eyre to provide the populations with these very very basic needs and if governments are able to achieve them they should move to the next level let's take the area of Education we are recommending primary education for all especially for girls if a country manages to achieve primary education for all it can move to the next level and offer a secondary education begin to think of how do I do secondary education and for those who have not achieved it we should share with them experiences of those who have been able to achieve these goals and try to rip and create them to achieve it for their own population the question of sustainability is something that we were all support whatever we do has to be sustainable the difficulty with the UN and all these outcome of conferences sometimes when you bring people together to review it invariably you you get a setback they open it up and not either able to put it together the way issue or try to roll back things which I've already been I achieved there has been discussions in the past where people have asked of the H Millennium Development Goals should we focus on education and if you get that selected others we say how about health why education are not held why held and not clean water so it became a very difficult into sort of choose and select now of course as you come to the target date of 2015 there is discussion about reviewing it and seeing what happens beyond 2015 are we going to make comprehensive recommendations for all countries those who have achieved them and those who have not would we make a distinction between those who have achieved them and those who are yet to achieve them and would it be a separate set of recommendation over and above the MDGs or were the MDGs be modified to include the new I really don't know I'm not close enough to be able I may be a companies but I'm not close enough I had to note but my idea my feeling is that we need to be very careful and we should push government to fulfill these basic needs for their population and if we have further recommendations of tens that governments can do to put them forward but not diabetic tension away from these basic needs it's my my feeling thank you so you're saying to them take the MDGs keep working on them if you haven't fulfilled them and think of additional goals to build on top exactly thank you it's my last question your mission to Syria was described in the press is mission impossible I think they didn't have in mind a Hollywood star would they mix other than you to fulfill it but they had in mind the difficulty of the mission and it certainly turned out to be a next to impossible mission your good friend Lakhdar Brahimi has stepped into your shoes to try to make what progress he can make on establishing a peace in Syria and I'm wondering based upon your experience what advice would you want to give him as to the nature the problem he's going to face and opportunities perhaps finding a peace in Syria that is so far not at all evident for the people in the ground yeah no in fact I spoke to him this morning he said he's in the region and it's a very difficult situation for him and I think let me try and put certain basic facts on the table before we I answer the question we all hear a lot about the conflict in Syria but we hear about the Sunnis and they otherwise were the Shia sort of a conflict between the two of them but they are only two of the groups in Syria you have the Christians you have the Druze you have the tech men you have their Kurds you have the Assyrians who are all living in Syria they make up the mosaic of Syria if the discussions focus on the two strong military wings Assad and the opposition and we have focused on Sunnis and Shia what happens to this group of men where do they go who looks after their interest and when you take these minority groups together they form about about 40 percent of the population so they are not insignificant this is a movement that started as political grassroots movement now these voices have been squeezed out by the two military air wings and we are so focused on the military side that I'm not sure these people in the middle are going to make making are being listened to and of course at the end when it comes to serious discussions and negotiations is probably going to be those on the ground whether guns will have a bigger voice the problem I see in Syria today or what I try to do given the mandate to seek a peaceful solution was to come up with that six point plan which air would have created an environment for political discussion and settlement peaceful environment they Assad accepted the opposition accepted that the ceasefire went into effect on the 12th of April and I must have we were in Geneva when we all turned on people have wondered whether they will respect the ceasefire we turned on the television on the 12th of April and to see al Jazeera say this morning all is quiet both sides excellency our guns demonstrating they could do it but I had also asked the governments with influence to pressure them both sides to respect the agreement from that day on the violence went down about 80% animistic spiked again in in May because those with influence over the two groups opposition and ago did not pressure them to honor the agreement now we have a situation where some governments believe that the best and the fastest way to solve the problem is like given more weapons to the opposition to finish the job but it's not going to happen a position is not going to be able to finish the job just like that we they can fight from much longer to a stalemate and in the end they will still have to talk and do some of the things we believe they should in fact on the 30th of June we had a meeting in Geneva where the foreign ministers of the permanent fire from Sergei Lavrov to Hillary Clinton were there with the foreign ministers of Kuwait Iraq and Qatar and the Secretary General of UN and the Arab League where we all agreed that the approaches political settlement came up with a Geneva communique which I would recommend my young friends to look at which talks of political settlement provides a framework and guidelines for such a settlement a settlement that will look after the interests of all groups to ensure that they are the interests are protected to ensure that the interim government will have full executive authority and at serious attempts made to maintain the security forces so that they can keep law and order as well as they protect the weapons their chemical and biological stockpiles and of course when all the permanent members signed on on it I thought they would come to New York and build on that but they came to New York and fought over a reference to chapter 7 which got vetoed by the Russians and the Chinese who had told us in Geneva the Vito but the substance itself was not never touched and and yet in the end I think they will have to go back to something like that and that's one of the means I said I lost my my team on the road to Damascus they also gave me the job I turned around and they were not there or fighting each other so I had to sort of a let go of the assignment but also explain why I was leaving thank you for those remarks I'd like to open the floor to anyone in the audience who would care to ask questions at this point oh yes I saw I thought I saw a hand over there yes oh but they have to come to them I I think the microphone is circulating what they happened oh this one over here anyone who'd like to ask a question please come up here as well so cheesy you're making it effort for them difficult I know I am making it more difficult okay professor Fazal the question is yours mr. secretary-general first thank you very much for your remarks and for your service I wanted to ask you about something that you mentioned briefly in your remarks and that's the the doctrine of the responsibility to protect and I'm curious to hear what you think about the future of this doctrine in particular what you see as the major challenges to its development and where you see it in the next 10 years or so I think is going to take time for it to fully take hold mr. norm is also an aspiration and it will take a while for it to take hold is a bit like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights we've never really fulfilled it nor will we but we keep pushing and waking up every morning determined to push it and I think what is happening is when we talk of examples of responsibility to protect I think Kenya is one where the whole international community to work together iesson envoi had the full support of the u.s. of the European Union the African Union and we all work together to put pressure on the Kenyans to stop fighting each other and come to a settlement I mean the cooperation was to understand that even when the u.s. wanted to put sanctions on individual Kenyan leaders who were playing a disruptive road they would check with me as I know if the time in his ride I didn't have to get to know the names and the people but that time in right is the tact it was the sort of cooperation and it did work fully and when the international community stands together and speaks with one voice they are much more effective and this is what has not happened in Syria in Libya we got a Security Council resolution through because the Russians and the Chinese are obtained they have not taken the stand in Libya I mean in Syria but let me say that I think it would take time for the norm to be fully established but it is such a powerful norm that I don't think it will be killed because of difficulties of a Libya or one area for example when when you consider the fact that in today's well with the communication anothers governments that brutalize their people are often in the news ostracized and come on the loss of pressure I would also want us to be careful not to embrace the fact that intervention of this kind means military might this is not so the short answer is a to survive to go through bumps and this is going to take some time for it to really take hold would you please introduce yourself Secretary General Allen thank you so much for your remarks my name is Nana Deborah kakari I'm actually a compatriot from Ghana as well and tell from the name yes I am a super student second year master of international affairs and economic and political development I wanted to ask you a question about your view on the role of the relationship between the AU ECOWAS and the UN especially pertaining to interventions in the region notably mali mali kind of fell apart nobody's really talking about it anymore and so us Africans are asking what is echo is doing what is it are you doing what is the UN doing why is there no movement so please know that yeah it's a very complex situation I think the UN has taken a position now that they would help put together trained air forces or put together a force to go in and help you the situation is also complex in the sense that the government itself is very fragile the government of Mali and there are divisions between the Prime Minister and the president and the between the weak Malian army and the government they're weak but they are strong enough to intimidate their government at one point saying we don't want foreign forces to come in we can handle this ourselves and they simply do not have the capacity so from what is happening in ellipses if within the next three or four months a force would be ready to go in the other development which if is correct is also significant is that the Tuareg rebels apparently want to remain in Mali and don't want to break away from the from the Republic so the one will have to deal with the jihadist elements alone but of course the jihadist elements have lots of weapons with their brought from Libya in a way Mali is a collateral collateral damage of the military action in Libya but I think now the international community is working with ECOWAS to try and help thank you thank you for the next two questions we could ask you to put them together a secretary-general unfortunately has to leave us at 2:30 so maybe if you could combine the next two questions introduce yourselves and do the next two questions that let her have a chance to address thank you my name is Jacques who Monica I'm from Rwanda actually did you do it good yeah yes that's better yeah the little story you shared I lived it as a child as a victim and as any African so I'm very good for that we came here and the service you are giving to the humanity for myself as a person and you are my inspiration because before I came here to Colombia actually I was googling your name just randomly and end up tracing this program here now here at Sipan so that's something but also um we had discussion a lot in Ronda and here sometimes when we are talking about the international peacekeeping mission when we should imply intervene so I'd like to ask from your experience when what should be the threshold of violence for the international community to intervene because that was exactly will happen to my country and will happen Rwanda I pursued as not only as you said the victim of what happened Somalia but also the infant's alien decision that the the fact that the committee had not come together as one like in one day in one their policies they are solely for the unit state the Senate has to intervene like it's not one person as the president to say okay now we are going down there so the thing is and what do you think about the intervention as a short-circuit from some countries in like what happened Libya as friends decide to help and to their billions and what is happening in Iraq and what should happen actually in Mali now because things are happening people are being cut handed hands are being cut and so many other stuff dots are not really like should not happen this century so we want to hear from you thank you have a lot of favorites there's no much time but thank you I'd like to guess the next person to please also pose your question then I'll give you a chance to my name is Prashant ready I'm an international fellow here at Seba a bit loud I mean around 50 can bend it down yeah my name is Krishna Reddy I'm an international fellow here at Seba thank you for coming today my question is about institutional reform there's more global powers today than there used to be including India China and Brazil how would you reform the United Nations to make sure that these countries have more representation especially at the Security Council level okay I think Stephen you raised a question with me over lunch which links up with the other thing you want to comment a bit sir well good know I think the question of a threshold is Sonny is an important one it is extremely difficult to establish such such a threshold you will recall even on questions of genocide we've had debates on there for what one was asking that a genocide or is it not the u.s. declared a genocide but didn't take any real action even after he's been declared genocide the council adopted another approach of setting up a commission headed by Italian Jake Assisi Casilla and the Commission went in reviewed the situation on the ground and submitted a report basically what they said was what was happening in there for consider crimes against humanity there were gross and systematic violations of human rights but they could not determine that it was genocide because it had juridical implications that they didn't have enough elements or we're competent to judge serve I'm reusing this as a threshold or determinant criteria so even on that we couldn't agree and when it comes to threshold it says trimly difficult to get governments to accept that there will be such and such a threshold but crimes are quent when the actions on the ground constitute crimes against humanity gross and systematic abuse of human right is a very serious red flag is raised then there some action has to be taken at the same time I've been asked that if in powerful countries have no vested interest in the country would they intervene I've even been asked if if fair Libya had been as poor as Somalia would we have had an intervention you know with this I interesting question on purely humanitarian ground the US and senior Bush intervened in Somalia but the question is valid but even apart from whether we intervene or not another problem is posed we often allowed failed States to be on their own we Bandon Afghanistan after this their war with Soviet Union we abandon Somalia in the early 90s and we only begun paying attention to them when bin Laden took over and made Afghanistan his Bates and Somalia began to gain attention when pirate became the center of piracy and so we ignore these failed States to our own peril because it can come back to bite us in a way that we cannot imagine but I don't think we're going to get a threshold but I would also say that you're going to we're going to have to live with this dilemma that we cannot intervene everywhere but is that does that mean we should intervene anyway you know I think you're going to see situations where the international community welcome the it will intervene where it can and where there are forces support an intervention and other situations where they will not it's not a perfect an ideal situation but this is what it will be on the question of a reform I think your question refers to the Security Council and I believe the Security Council should be reformed not in them in terms of creating more veto powers but creating more permanent members and given permanence ease to Latin America Africa India probably Japan to have some other stakeholders around the table and I believe if we do not reform the council to get effective cooperation we are likely to see a competition that could become destructive or – or a situation where some of the imagined powers will not pay much attention to the council thank you very much apologies to the gentlemen that couldn't ask a question but please join me in thanking secretary general for a wonderful presentation back

17 thoughts on “Kofi Annan: "Interventions: A Life in War and Peace"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *