Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council this morning extended until 27 March the authorization of Member States participating in the Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements (MISAB), as well as those States providing logistical support, to ensure the security and freedom of movement of their personnel.
Through its unanimous adoption of resolution 1155 (1998), the Council also affirmed its intention to take a decision by 27 March on the establishment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Central African Republic, as recommended by the Secretary-General. It also urged the Government to continue to fulfil the commitments undertaken by its President on 8 January aimed at consolidating peace, strengthening security and ensuring the country's economic and social recovery.
Stressing the importance of regional stability, the Council called on the parties in the Central African Republic to complete the implementation of the provisions of the Bangui Agreements and to implement the conclusions of the National Reconciliation Conference. The parties to those conclusions agreed, among others, to renounce the use of the armed forces aimed at destabilizing a democratic regime and to prevent human rights violations.
The Security Council today welcomed the efforts of the Member States participating in MISAB, as well as those States which were providing support to them. It approved the Mission's continued conduct of its operation in a neutral and impartial way to facilitate the return to peace and security by monitoring implementation of the Bangui Agreements. Those efforts include supervising the surrender of arms by former mutineers, militias and all others unlawfully bearing arms.
Recalling that the expenses and logistical support for MISAB will be borne on a voluntary basis in accordance with its mandate, the Council encouraged United Nations Member States to contribute to the Trust Fund for the Central African Republic.
The MISAB was deployed in Bangui on 8 February 1997. Member States in the force are Burkina Faso, Chad, Gabon, Mali, Senegal and Togo. The Mission was established in January 1997 at the request of the Central African Republic following army rebellions.
The meeting, which was called to order at 11:23 a.m., was adjourned at 11:28 a.m.
Text of Resolution
The text of resolution 1155 (1998) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Reaffirming its resolutions 1125 (1997) of 6 August 1997, 1136 (1997) of 6 November 1997 and 1152 (1998) of 5 February 1998,
"Taking note of the report dated 10 March 1998 (S/1998/211) to the Security Council by the International Committee for the follow-up of the Bangui Agreements pursuant to resolution 1152 (1998),
"Taking note also of the letter dated 11 March 1998 from the President of the Central African Republic to the President of the Security Council (S/1998/219, annex) and of the letter dated 13 March 1998 to the President of the Security Council from the President of Gabon, on behalf of the members of the International Committee for the follow-up of the Bangui Agreements (S/1998/233, annex)
"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 23 February 1998 (S/1998/148) submitted to the Council in accordance with resolution 1152 (1998),
"Expressing its appreciation for the neutral and impartial way in which the Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements (MISAB) has carried out its mandate, in close cooperation with the Central African authorities and noting with satisfaction that MISAB has contributed significantly to stabilizing the situation in the Central African Republic, in particular through the supervision of the surrendering of arms,
"Noting that the States participating in MISAB and the Central African Republic have decided to extend the mandate of MISAB until 15 April 1998 in
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order to ensure a smooth transition to the prospective deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation (S/1998/219, annex),
"Stressing the importance of regional stability and in this context fully supporting the efforts of the International Mediation Committee established by the nineteenth Summit of the Heads of State and Governments of France and Africa and by the members of the International Committee for the follow-up of the Bangui Agreements,
Stressing also the need for all signatories to the Bangui Agreements to continue to fully cooperate in respecting and implementing these Agreements,
"Determining that the situation in the Central African Republic continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,
"1. Welcomes the efforts made by the Member States participating in MISAB and by those States providing support to them, and their readiness to maintain these efforts;
"2. Urges the Government of the Central African Republic to continue to fulfil the commitments expressed in the letter of 8 January 1998 to the Secretary-General from the President of the Central African Republic (S/1998/61, annex) and calls upon the parties in the Central African Republic to complete the implementation of the provisions of the Bangui Agreements and to implement the conclusions of the National Reconciliation Conference (S/1998/219);
"3. Approves the continued conduct by Member States participating in MISAB of the operation in a neutral and impartial way to achieve its objective as set out in paragraph 2 of resolution 1125 (1997);
"4. Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, authorizes the Member States participating in MISAB and those States providing logistical support to ensure security and freedom of movement of their personnel;
"5. Decides that the authorization referred to in paragraph 4 above will be extended until 27 March 1998;
"6. Recalls that the expenses and logistical support for MISAB will be borne on a voluntary basis in accordance with article 11 of the mandate of MISAB, and encourages Member States to contribute to the Trust Fund for the Central African Republic;
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"7. Affirms that it will take a decision by 27 March 1998 on the establishment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Central African Republic on the basis of the report of the Secretary-General of 23 February 1998;
"8. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
In considering the situation in the Central African Republic, the Council had before it a report on the situation there (documents S/1998/148 and Add.1). In it, he states that if security and stability in that country are to be maintained and further progress made towards sustainable national reconciliation, the only viable option remains the establishment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation to succeed the Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements (MISAB).
Given the progress made in implementing the Bangui Agreements of 25 January 1997, which provide modalities for alleviating the crisis in the Central African Republic, and in light of a 29 January 1998 letter from President Ange-Felix Patasse reiterating his strong commitment to their eventual full implementation, the Secretary-General recommends that the Council consider the establishment of a peacekeeping operation as described in his report.
Specifically, he recommends that the Security Council set the duration of the operation at 90 days after the announcement of legislative election results, and that the initial mandate of the United Nations mission be established for a period of three months, in order to allow the Council to review the implementation of the commitments made by the Government. The Secretary-General also recommends that the Council approve special arrangements to allow a smooth transition towards the new operation and authorize the continued conduct of MISAB until 15 April. The legislative elections are currently scheduled for August/September 1998.
The Secretary-General stresses that the support of MISAB troop contributors will be essential for the success of the United Nations effort. In the meantime, he intends to appoint a Special Representative to the Central African Republic to assist the parties in implementation of the Bangui Agreements.
An annex to the Secretary-General's report describes the mandate and concept of operations of the proposed new mission, a multi-functional operation to be known as the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA). Its main goals would include assisting the people of the Central African Republic to consolidate the process of national reconciliation
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on the basis of the full implementation of the Bangui Agreements and subsequent undertakings by promoting vital reforms through programmes supported by the international community. It would also aim to assist in sustaining a secure and stable environment in the country's capital, which is essential for general stability in the country; to support the establishment of the necessary conditions for the holding of free and fair legislative elections to be held in August/September; and to observe and verify the conduct of the elections if these conditions are met.
The minimum strength of the force necessary to perform the military mandate of the mission would be approximately 1,400 personnel all ranks, the report states. That force would include six mechanized infantry companies, each approximately 120 to 150 personnel strong. The infantry's tasks would include establishing and maintaining over 30 stationary and mobile patrols/checkpoints on a 24-hour basis in various parts of the city of Bangui. Attached to the force would be a military logistic unit of up to 150 personnel.
In an addendum to the report, the Secretary-General estimates the total cost of the proposed mission at some $70.2 million gross for a nine-month period. Should the Council decide to establish the mission, he recommends to the General Assembly that the related costs be considered as an expense of the Organization, to be borne by Member States.
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