UN meeting on security in Central Africa wraps up

7 September 2007 –

The illicit arms trade, violence in individual Central African countries and other pressing concerns were among the issues addressed at a United Nations meeting on the region’s security concerns which concluded today in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Topics conferred on by participants at its 26th ministerial meeting of the UN Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa – whose prime objective is to promote peace and security in the sub-region – included the situation on the ground in Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

“Despite encouraging progress, Central Africa’s political, security and socio-economic situation remains worrying,” according to a press release issued by the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, which organized the five-day conference.

Regarding Burundi, attendees discussed compliance with the ceasefire agreement, while they voiced concern over the violence in the Kivus and the militia and armed groups’ repeated violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

The group welcomed the deployment of a joint UN-European Union (EU) force in north-eastern CAR and eastern Chad, as well as the Joint Communiqué signed between Rwanda and the DRC.

The topic of controlling small arms and light weapons in the area, known as the “Initiative of Sao Tome,” was also discussed.

The 11 States members of the Committee are: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Congo, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe. Representatives from several UN entities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were also in attendance.

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