Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



(Delayed for translation of text, originally delivered in French.)

This is the text of a message by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the twenty-second ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, in Brazzaville, Congo, on 1 September, delivered by Amadou Ouattara, Representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the Congo:

I should like to thank the people and Government of the Republic of the Congo for hosting, for the second consecutive time, the meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa.  This twenty-second ministerial meeting of the Committee is being held at a time when the countries of Central Africa, along with the other nations of the world, are preparing to participate in September in the High-level Plenary Meeting of the sixtieth session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, a meeting which will review progress made towards realization of the commitments contained in the Millennium Declaration.

The Central African subregion still presents a mixed picture in terms of security and peace.  In spite of some progress, such as the successful electoral processes in the Central African Republic and Burundi, as well as the continued political transition and registration of voters in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the situation remains worrying, in particular as a result of persistent transborder insecurity, the illegal circulation of small arms, massive flows of refugees and displaced persons, human rights violations and the existence of underlying tensions.  All these factors constitute major obstacles to the consolidation of peace and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Central Africa.

The adoption by the United Nations General Assembly on 14 July of a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) testifies to the United Nations commitment to the promotion of peace and security in the subregion.  The resolution seeks to assist ECCAS in strengthening its capabilities for maintaining peace and security, and for reconstruction.

Peace, like freedom of expression and the rights to life and health, is an inalienable right; the peoples of Central Africa must be guaranteed full enjoyment of that right.  That can be possible only in States which respect democratic principles and good governance.

Your Committee has helped strengthen confidence among your countries and assisted in the ratification of an important non-aggression pact among its member States.  These achievements would not have been possible without the spirit of dialogue, consultation and solidarity you have demonstrated in the context of the Advisory Committee.  I hope that you will show equal determination and political will in implementing the recommendations which will be adopted at the conclusion of your work.

Rest assured that the United Nations will continue to provide you with all necessary assistance.  I wish you every success in your work.

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