15 May 2008

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



Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the twenty-seventh ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, delivered by Sergio Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, in Luanda, 15 May:

I am honoured to send my greetings to this twenty-seventh ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa.  I thank the Government and people of Angola for hosting this important event.

Your meeting is particularly timely.

The recent dramatic escalation in food prices worldwide has evolved into an unprecedented challenge of global proportions, impacting on the world’s most vulnerable, including the urban poor.  If not managed properly, it could touch off a cascade of related crises -- affecting trade, economic growth, social progress and even political security around the world.

United Nations agencies are already taking concrete measures to address the crisis.  We should consider this not only as a problem but also as an opportunity.  In addition to the immediate priority of feeding the hungry, we need to ensure food for tomorrow, by giving small farmers -- especially in Africa -- the support they need.  I call on world leaders to attend the High-Level Conference on World Food Security, to be held in Rome from 3 to 5 June.

Since your last meeting held in Yaoundé, efforts aimed at promoting peace and security in your subregion have yielded some encouraging results.  There has been progress in the preparation of the inclusive political dialogue in the Central African Republic; the Goma peace conference on the Kivu provinces was held and adopted the “Goma Actes d’engagement”; a United Nations Mission in north-eastern Central African Republic and eastern Chad (MINURCAT) has been deployed in collaboration with the European Union (EUFOR); and elements of the unarmed political opposition have joined the new Government in Chad.

But at the same time, worrying developments continue to threaten lasting peace and stability in the subregion.  The resumption of fighting in Burundi, which I have firmly condemned, remains an issue of great concern.  The non-compliance with the “Goma Actes d’engagement” -- including its recent violations -- is troubling the prospects for lasting peace in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Once again, I encourage the Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple to work actively with the signatories to the agreement and the international facilitation, to ensure its full and rapid implementation.

Meanwhile, the activities of armed groups along the border between Chad and the Sudan continue to create instability in the area.  I renew the support of the United Nations for efforts to promote improved relations between Chad and the Sudan, so vital to the security of this part of Africa.

The United Nations will continue to support efforts by the Economic Community of Central African States to operationalize and strengthen the capacity of its Council for Peace and Security, and its Early Warning Mechanism.  The effective operation of these two mechanisms would contribute significantly to the stabilization of the subregion.

Finally, the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa has achieved substantial results in agreeing on common courses of actions which, when effectively implemented, will enhance the prospects for durable peace and security in your subregion.  These include the Sao Tomé Initiative, as well as your recommendations on improved cooperation on border security.

I urge you to continue to discuss concrete measures that can further strengthen peace efforts, and, most importantly, to enforce the measures that you have devised and adopted together.  I assure you of my and the United Nations continued commitment to supporting the work of this important Committee, and wish you success in your proceedings.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record