10 February 2000


Press Release
SC/6805



SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES DECISION BY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ESTABLISH UNITED NATIONS PEACE-BUILDING OFFICE IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

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Presidential Statement Urges Authorities Of Central African Republic and BONUCA to Work Closely Together

The Security Council this afternoon welcomed a decision by the Secretary- General to establish a United Nations Peace-Building Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA), for one year, beginning 15 February.

In a statement read out by its President Arnoldo Listre (Argentina), the Council encouraged the authorities of the Central African Republic which has accepted the proposal, and BONUCA to work closely together.

The Council noted with satisfaction that the principal mission of BONUCA, which will be headed by a representative of the Secretary-General, would be to support the Government’s efforts to consolidate peace and national reconciliation, strengthen democratic institutions and facilitate the mobilization at the international level of political support and resources for national reconstruction and economic recovery in the country. It also expressed satisfaction that the Office was tasked with monitoring developments in and promoting public awareness of human rights issues.

In a 3 December 1999 letter to the President of the Council, the Secretary- General said the head of the Office would be at the D-2 level. A small number of military and civilian police advisers would be included in the Office to follow up on security-related reforms and to assist in the implementation of the training programmes for the national police, which were initiated by the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA).

The mandate of MINURCA, which was established with effect from 15 April 1998 by Security Council resolution 1159 (1998) of 27 March 1998, will expire on 15 February 2000. The MINURCA originally replaced an inter-African force (MISAB), which was founded on 31 January 1997 by the heads of State of Gabon, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali to monitor the implementation of the Bangui Agreements.

In its statement, the Council commended MINURCA and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Oluyemi Adeniji of Nigeria, for the contribution they have made to restoration of peace and security in the country and for their important and tangible support for the holding of free and fair legislative and presidential elections. They were also praised for their contribution towards the restructuring of the security forces, the training of the police force and the launching of vital reforms in the political, social and

Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6805 4101st Meeting (PM) 10 February 2000

economic fields. The Council thanked States that participated in and contributed to the success of MINURCA, particularly the troop-contributing countries.

The Council recognized the significant progress made by the Government in implementing the Bangui Agreements (S/1997/561, appendices III-VI) and the National Reconciliation Pact (S/1998/219), which were the foundations of peace and stability in the country. It strongly encouraged the Government to build on the progress made and to strengthen democratic institutions, broaden the scope of reconciliation and national unity and promote economic recovery.

The Government was also urged to continue to conform to the requirements of the economic reform and financial consolidation programmes agreed upon with the international financial institutions. The Council called upon members of the international community, and on bilateral and multilateral donors in particular, to actively support the efforts being made by the Government of the Central African Republic. It stressed the importance of the provision of international assistance to refugees and displaced persons in the country and to the other countries of the region to contribute to regional stability.

The Council welcomed the promulgation by the Central African Republic authorities of three laws on the restructuring of the armed forces and decrees issued to implement them. It encouraged the authorities to submit, with the help of the United Nations, specific plans for a meeting in New York to mobilize the financial and other resources necessary for the effective implementation of the programme for the restructuring of the country’s armed forces and the demobilization and reintegration programme. The Council called for international support for the programmes.

The Council welcomed the decision by the Government to disband the Special Force for the Defence of the Republican Institutions. It noted with satisfaction that the force would be replaced by a unit fully integrated in the national security forces, under the command of the Chief of Staff of the Central African Republic armed forces, and that its mission would be strictly limited to protecting State authorities at the highest level.

The Secretary-General was asked to continue to inform the Council regularly of the activities of the Office, the situation in the Central African Republic and, in particular, the progress achieved in political, social and economic reforms, and to submit a report by 30 June 2000 and every six months thereafter.

The meeting, which began at 1:20 p.m., was adjourned at 1:26 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The text of the presidential statement, which will be issued as document S/PRST/2000/5, reads as follows:

"The Security Council has considered the report of the Secretary-General dated 14 January 2000 (S/2000/24) submitted in accordance with resolution 1271 (1999) of 22 October 1999.

"The Security Council commends the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA) and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the contribution they have made to the restoration of peace and security in the Central African Republic and for their important and tangible support for the holding of free and fair legislative and presidential elections, the restructuring of the security forces, the training of the police force and the launching of vital reforms in the political, social and economic fields in the Central African Republic. The Council expresses its thanks to all the countries which took part in and contributed to the success of MINURCA, particularly the troop-contributing countries.

"The Security Council recognizes the significant progress made by the Government of the Central African Republic in implementing the Bangui Agreements (S/1997/561, appendices III-VI) and the National Reconciliation Pact (S/1998/219), which are the foundations of peace and stability in the country.

"The Security Council strongly encourages the Government of the Central African Republic to do all it can to build on the progress made while the Inter- African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements (MISAB) and MINURCA have been present in the country and to work with determination to strengthen democratic institutions, broaden the scope of reconciliation and national unity and promote economic reform and recovery. The Council urges the Government of the Central African Republic to continue to conform to the requirements of the economic reform and financial consolidation programmes agreed with the international financial institutions. The Council calls upon the members of the international community and on bilateral and multilateral donors in particular to give their active support to the efforts being made to this end by the Government of the Central African Republic. The Council wishes also to stress the importance of providing international assistance to the refugees and displaced persons in the Central African Republic and the other countries of the region in order to contribute to regional stability.

"The Security Council welcomes the promulgation by the Central African authorities of three laws on the restructuring of the armed forces and the decrees issued by the Government so that these laws can be implemented. The Council encourages the Central African authorities actively to prepare and to submit, with the help of the United Nations, specific plans for the holding of a meeting in New York to mobilize the financial and other resources necessary for the effective implementation of the programme for the restructuring of the Central African armed forces and the demobilization and reintegration programme. The Council calls upon the members of the international community to support these programmes.

"The Security Council welcomes in particular the decision by the Government of the Central African Republic to disband the Special Force for the Defence of the Republican Institutions (FORSDIR), and notes with satisfaction that FORSDIR will be replaced by a unit fully integrated in the national security forces, under the command of the Chief of Staff of the Central African armed forces, and that its mission will be strictly limited to protecting State authorities at the highest level.

"The Security Council also welcomes the decision by the Secretary-General, which has been accepted by the Government of the Central African Republic, to establish, for an initial period of one year beginning on 15 February 2000, the United Nations Peace-Building Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA), headed by a representative of the Secretary-General, and encourages the Central African authorities and BONUCA to work closely together. The Council notes with satisfaction that the Office's principal mission will be to support the Government's efforts to consolidate peace and national reconciliation, strengthen democratic institutions and facilitate the mobilization at the international level of political support and resources for national reconstruction and economic recovery in the Central African Republic; and that the Office is also tasked with monitoring developments in and promoting public awareness of human rights issues.

"The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to continue to keep it regularly informed of the activities of the Office, the situation in the Central African Republic and, in particular, the progress achieved in political, social and economic reforms, and to submit a report to the Council by 30 June 2000 and every six months thereafter."

Secretary-General's Report

When the Council met this afternoon, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General in which he states that, on 15 February, the United Nations Peace-building Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA) will take over from the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA) to provide assistance in the peace-building effort (S/2000/24). That date marks the scheduled end of MINURCA's mandate as stipulated in Security Council resolution 1271 (1999).

According to the report, the Secretariat, in coordination with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Programme on Demobilization and Reintegration of the Central African Government, has already initiated consultations with external partners in preparation for the proposed donor conference to raise funds for the restructuring and demobilization programmes. However, it remains primarily for the Central Africans themselves to strengthen the democratic institutions in the country, to broaden the scope for reconciliation and national unity and to intensify the implementation of the programmes designed to accelerate economic recovery.

In discussing the financial aspects of the United Nations efforts in the Central African Republic, the Secretary-General states that as at December 1999, unpaid assessed contributions to the MINURCA special account amounted to $36.9 million. Outstanding loans totalling some $17 million from the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund and a closed mission to finance MINURCA's operational requirements have yet to be repaid. Thus far, payment of troop costs to troop-contributing countries have only been paid through November 1999. As at 31 December 1999, contributions to the trust fund for the support of activities of MINURCA totalled

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$870,000, with expenditures authorized in the full amount of contributions received.

In June 1999, the General Assembly appropriated and assessed an amount of $33.4 million for the operational and administrative closing of MINURCA from the period 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2000. In addition, the Secretary-General obtained authorization from the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions for $6.7 million to cover the costs associated with the supportive role that MINURCA played in the presidential elections in the Central African Republic. The Secretary-General will seek from the General Assembly the appropriation and assessment of those additional requirements.

As spelled out in the Secretary-General's letter dated 10 December 1999 to the Council (S/1999/1235), BONUCA would assist national efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and mechanisms for fostering reconciliation and dialogue, including reinforcement of the Comité de suive et d'arbitrage. The BONUCA would provide food offices, upon request by the Government; follow the political and security situation in the country; contribute to the strengthening of national capacities for promotion and protection of human rights and follow the human rights situation in the country; and follow security-related reforms to be implemented by the Government in cooperation with bilateral donors, including restructuring of the armed forces and demobilization and reintegration programmes.

Other tasks of BONUCA would be to follow the implementation of the reforms of the national police and continue to assist with training programmes initiated by MINURCA and support the efforts of the Resident Coordinator and those of the United Nations system in promoting an integrated approach in the development and implementation of post-conflict peace-building programmes aimed at national reconstruction, economic recovery, poverty alleviation and good governance. It would also facilitate the mobilization of international political support and resources for the security-related reforms and for socio-economic programmes. The Secretary-General proposed that the duration of the office be for one year.

In his report, the Secretary-General reiterates the concern expressed by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Government of the Central African Republic over the possible consequences of MINURCA's withdrawal on the security and stability in the country. The Secretary-General reminded them that the Council had intended to terminate MINURCA's mandate by 15 November 1999 but had extended it to 15 February 2000.

By successfully conducting two national elections and the ongoing reforms, the people and the Government of the Central African Republic have demonstrated their strong commitment to democracy and peaceful development, the Secretary- General says. Still, much remains to be done. The consolidation of the progress made will depend on the determination of the parties, particularly the Government, to honour their commitments under the Bangui Agreements and the National Reconciliation Pact.

The Secretary-General states that while the Government has reaffirmed its commitment to its programme of action, implementation will require considerable resources. In this connection the role of the international community remains crucial.

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