Small arms and light weapons in Central Africa lead talks at UN meeting

5 September 2007 –

An initiative to control the trade of small arms and light weapons in Central Africa and a planned code of conduct for the region’s armed and security forces are expected to top the agenda at a United Nations-sponsored security meeting taking place in Yaoundé, Cameroon, this week.

The latest ministerial meeting of the UN Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa will also consider recent security and geopolitical developments among its member states, while a special conference on cross-border security issues will take place as well.

A press release from the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs said the meeting participants will examine the so-called São Tomé Initiative for setting up a legal instrument to control the profusion of small arms and light weapons in a region that has long been beset by deadly conflict.

The Committee, which meets twice a year at the ministerial level, was established by the UN Secretary-General in May 1992. Its membership comprises all 11 countries in the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) – Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and São Tomé and Príncipe.

The participants at this week’s meeting, which began on Monday and is scheduled to run until Friday, include representatives of the UN peacekeeping or political missions in the DRC, the CAR and Burundi.

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