SECURITY COUNCIL ESTABLISHES UN MISSION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
SECURITY COUNCIL ESTABLISHES UN MISSION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
SECURITY COUNCIL ESTABLISHES UN MISSION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC19980327 The Security Council this morning unanimously decided to establish a new peacekeeping operation called the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA), with up to 1,350 military personnel, for an initial three-month period, effective from 15 April.
Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council also extended until 15 April the authorization of the Member States participating in the Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements (MISAB), as well as those States providing logistical support, to ensure the security and freedom of movement of their personnel.
In adopting resolution 1159 (1998), the Council authorized the Secretary-General to take measures necessary to ensure that MINURCA was fully deployed by 15 April and to ensure a smooth transition between MISAB and MINURCA. The Council expressed its intention to decide on the extension of the new Mission's mandate based on a report to be submitted by the Secretary- General by 20 June.
The Mission's initial mandate will be to help maintain and enhance security and stability, including freedom of movement, in Bangui and its immediate vicinity; to assist the national security forces to maintain law and order and protect key installations in the city; to supervise, control storage and monitor final disposition of weapons during disarmament; and to ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel and the safety and security of its property.
MINURCA will also assist with international efforts in a short-term police trainers programme and advise on the restructuring of police and security forces. It will provide advice and technical support on the electoral code and the country's legislative elections scheduled for August/September.
The Council approved the Secretary-General's intention to establish a trust fund to enable Member States to make voluntary contributions to support and finance MINURCA's activities and urged Member States to contribute to the
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fund. It also welcomed the appointment by the Secretary-General, within MINURCA, of his Special Representative to the Central African Republic to help promote the reforms necessary to achieve national reconciliation, security and stability in the country.
Further, the Council asked the Secretary-General to report by 20 June on implementation of the Bangui Agreements and the National Reconciliation Pact, as well as Government plans to adopt an electoral code and set a date for the legislative elections. It also asked him to make recommendations on the future role of the United Nations in the election process.
It requested the Government of the Central African Republic to conclude a status-of-forces agreement with the Secretary-General before 25 April. Pending the conclusion of such an agreement, the model status-of-forces agreement dated 9 October 1990 would apply provisionally. It also urged the Government to continue to fulfil the commitments undertaken by its President on 8 January aimed at consolidating peace, strengthening security and ensuring the country's economic and social recovery.
MISAB was deployed in Bangui on 8 February 1997. Member States in the force are Burkina Faso, Chad, Gabon, Mali, Senegal and Togo. The Mission was established in January 1997 at the request of the Central African Republic following army rebellions.
Statements were made by the representatives of the Central African Republic, United Kingdom (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Sudan, Kenya, France, Costa Rica, Brazil, Portugal, Sweden, Japan, China, Bahrain, Slovenia, Russian Federation, United States, Gabon and Gambia.
The meeting, which was called to order at 11:14 a.m., was adjourned at 12:31 p.m.
Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in the Central African Republic. It has before it a report of the Secretary-General on the situation there (documents S/1998/148 and Add.1). That report was first before the Council on 16 March, when, acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council extended until today the authorization of Member States participating in the Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements (MISAB), as well as those States providing logistical support, to ensure the security and freedom of movement of their personnel. It took that action by adopting resolution 1155 (1998).
Also by that text, the Council affirmed its intention to take a decision by 27 March on the establishment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Central African Republic, as recommended by the Secretary-General. It also urged the Government to continue to fulfil the commitments undertaken by its President on 8 January aimed at consolidating peace, strengthening security and ensuring the country's economic and social recovery.
In his report, the Secretary-General states that, if security and stability in the Central African Republican are to be maintained and further progress made towards sustainable national reconciliation, the only viable option remains the establishment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation to succeed MISAB.
Given the progress made in implementing the Bangui Agreements of 25 January 1997, which provide modalities for alleviating the crisis in the Central African Republic, and in light of a 29 January 1998 letter from President Ange-Felix Patasse reiterating his strong commitment to their eventual full implementation, the Secretary-General recommends that the Council consider the establishment of a peacekeeping operation as described in his report.
Specifically, he recommends that the Security Council set the duration of the operation at 90 days after the announcement of legislative election results, and that the initial mandate of the United Nations mission be established for a period of three months, in order to allow the Council to review the implementation of the commitments made by the Government. The Secretary-General also recommends that the Council approve special arrangements to allow a smooth transition towards the new operation and authorize the continued conduct of MISAB until 15 April. The legislative elections are currently scheduled for August/September 1998.
The Secretary-General stresses that the support of MISAB troop contributors will be essential for the success of the United Nations effort. In the meantime, he intends to appoint a special representative to the Central African Republic to assist the parties in implementation of the Bangui Agreements.
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An annex to the Secretary-General's report describes the mandate and concept of operations of the proposed new mission, a multi-functional operation to be known as the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA). Its main goals would include assisting the people of the Central African Republic to consolidate the process of national reconciliation on the basis of the full implementation of the Bangui Agreements and subsequent undertakings by promoting vital reforms through programmes supported by the international community. It would also aim to assist in sustaining a secure and stable environment in the country's capital, which is essential for general stability in the country; to support the establishment of the necessary conditions for the holding of free and fair legislative elections to be held in August/September; and to observe and verify the conduct of the elections if these conditions are met.
The minimum strength of the force necessary to perform the military mandate of the mission would be approximately 1,400 personnel all ranks, the report states. That force would include six mechanized infantry companies, each approximately 120 to 150 personnel strong. The infantry's tasks would include establishing and maintaining over 30 stationary and mobile patrols/checkpoints on a 24-hour basis in various parts of the city of Bangui. Attached to the force would be a military logistic unit of up to 150 personnel.
In an addendum to the report, the Secretary-General estimates the total cost of the proposed mission at some $70.2 million gross for a nine-month period. Should the Council decide to establish the mission, he recommends to the General Assembly that the related costs be considered as an expense of the Organization, to be borne by Member States.
The text of the draft resolution submitted to the Council (S/1998/268) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Reaffirming its resolutions 1125 (1997) of 6 August 1997, 1136 (1997) of 6 November 1997, 1152 (1998) of 5 February 1998, and 1155 (1998) of 16 March 1998,
"Recalling the report dated 10 March 1998 (S/1998/221) to the Security Council by the International Committee for the follow-up of the Bangui Agreements pursuant to resolution 1152 (1998),
"Recalling also the letter dated 11 March 1998 from the President of the Central African Republic to the President of the Security Council (S/1998/219, annex) and the letter dated 13 March 1998 to the President of the Security Council from the President of Gabon, on behalf of the members of the
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International Committee for the follow-up of the Bangui Agreements (S/1998/233, annex),
"Having further considered the report of the Secretary-General of 23 February 1998 (S/1998/148) submitted to the Council in accordance with resolution 1152 (1998),
"Reiterating its appreciation for the neutral and impartial way in which the Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements (MISAB) has carried out its mandate, in close cooperation with the Central African authorities and noting with satisfaction that MISAB has contributed significantly to stabilizing the situation in the Central African Republic, in particular through the supervision of the surrendering of arms,
"Recognizing that the States participating in MISAB and the Central African Republic extended the mandate of MISAB until 15 April 1998 in order to ensure a smooth transition to the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation,
"Stressing the importance of regional stability and the need to consolidate the progress achieved by MISAB, and in particular to assist the people of the Central African Republic to consolidate the process of national reconciliation and help to sustain a secure and stable environment conducive to the holding of free and fair elections,
"Stressing also the need for all signatories to the Bangui Agreements to continue to implement these Agreements, and for the authorities of the Central African Republic to take concrete steps to implement political, economic, social and security reforms as referred to in the report of the Secretary- General of 23 February 1998, including the establishment of an electoral code and preparations for legislative elections scheduled for August/September 1998,
"Recognizing the link between peace and development and that a sustained commitment by the international community to assist and support the economic, social, and institutional development of the Central African Republic is indispensable for long-term peace and stability in the country, and in that regard welcoming the cooperation between the Government of the Central African Republic and the international financial institutions in developing an economic reform programme,
"Determining that the situation in the Central African Republic continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,
"1. Welcomes the progress made by the Central African authorities and parties towards the achievement of national reconciliation and sustainable stability in the Central African Republic;
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"2. Urges the Government of the Central African Republic to continue to fulfil the commitments expressed in the letter of 8 January 1998 to the Secretary-General from the President of the Central African Republic (S/1998/61, annex) and calls upon the parties in the Central African Republic to complete the implementation of the provisions of the Bangui Agreements and to implement the National Reconciliation Pact (S/1998/219, annex);
"3. Reiterates its call to all States, international organizations and financial institutions to assist in post-conflict development in the Central African Republic;
"4. Welcomes the efforts made by the Member States participating in MISAB and by those States providing support to them, and their readiness to maintain these efforts;
"5. Approves the continued conduct by the Member States participating in MISAB of the operation in a neutral and impartial way to achieve its objective as set out in paragraph 2 of resolution 1125 (1997);
"6. Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, authorizes the Member States participating in MISAB and those States providing logistical support to ensure security and freedom of movement of their personnel;
"7. Decides that the authorization referred to in paragraph 6 above will end on 15 April 1998;
"8. Recalls that the expenses and logistical support for MISAB will be borne on a voluntary basis in accordance with article 11 of the mandate of MISAB, and encourages Member States to contribute to the Trust Fund for the Central African Republic;
"9. Decides to establish a United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA) with effect from 15 April 1998, and decides also that the military component of MINURCA will not exceed 1,350 personnel;
"10. Decides that, taking into account the recommendations of the Secretary-General in his report of 23 February 1998, MINURCA shall have the following initial mandate:
"(a) To assist in maintaining and enhancing security and stability, including freedom of movement, in Bangui and the immediate vicinity of the city;
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"(b) To assist the national security forces in maintaining law and order and in protecting key installations in Bangui;
"(c) To supervise, control storage, and monitor the final disposition of all weapons retrieved in the course of the disarmament exercise;
"(d) To ensure security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel and the safety and security of United Nations property;
"(e) To assist in coordination with other international efforts in a short-term police trainers programme and in other capacity-building efforts of the national police, and to provide advice on the restructuring of the national police and special police forces;
"(f) To provide advice and technical support to the national electoral bodies regarding the electoral code and plans for the conduct of the legislative elections scheduled for August/September 1998;
"11. Authorizes the Secretary-General to take the measures necessary to ensure that MINURCA is fully deployed by 15 April 1998 in order to carry out its mandate, and to secure a smooth transition between MISAB and MINURCA;
"12. Decides that MINURCA is established for an initial period of three months until 15 July 1998 and expresses its intention to decide on the extension of MINURCA on the basis of the report to be submitted by the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 15 below;
"13. Affirms that MINURCA may be required to take action to ensure security and freedom of movement of its personnel in the discharge of its mandate;
"14. Welcomes the appointment by the Secretary-General, within MINURCA, of his Special Representative in the Central African Republic:
"(a) To assist in the promotion of the reforms necessary to achieve national reconciliation, security and stability in the country;
"(b) To head MINURCA;
"(c) To have overall authority over all United Nations activities in the Central African Republic, in support of MINURCA's mandate;
"(d) To provide good offices and mediation between the Government and political parties;
"(e) To provide advice and facilitate technical assistance in the areas of good governance and the rule of law;
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"(f) To cooperate with other international partners, including international financial institutions, with the objective of supporting activities aimed at establishing the foundations for lasting peace, national reconstruction and development;
"(g) To encourage the United Nations agencies and programmes to provide assistance to the Central African Republic, in particular in the areas referred to in the report of the Secretary-General;
"15. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Security Council regularly informed and to submit a report to the Security Council by 20 June 1998 on the implementation of the mandate of MINURCA, on developments in the Central African Republic, on progress towards the implementation of the commitments expressed in the letter of 8 January to the Secretary-General from the President of the Central African Republic and on the implementation of the Bangui Agreements and the National Reconciliation Pact, including on commitments related to ensuring the country's economic recovery;
"16. Further requests the Secretary-General to provide information in his report referred to in paragraph 15 above on the progress by the Government of the Central African Republic to adopt an electoral code, set a date for the legislative elections, and develop specific plans for the conduct of the legislative elections, and to make recommendations on the future role of the United Nations in the legislative elections process;
"17. Urges Member States to respond positively to the request made to them by the Secretary-General to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources to MINURCA in order to facilitate its early deployment (S/1998/148);
"18. Approves the intention of the Secretary-General to establish a trust fund to enable Member States to make voluntary contributions to support the activities of MINURCA and to assist in the financing of the Mission and urges Member States to contribute to it;
"19. Requests the Government of the Central African Republic to conclude a status-of-forces agreement with the Secretary-General before 25 April 1998, and recalls that pending the conclusion of such an agreement, the model status-of-forces agreement dated 9 October 1990 (A/45/594) should apply provisionally;
"20. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
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Mr. DIENDE FERNANDEZ (Central African Republic) expressed gratitude to the international community, as well as to the Secretary-General and the Secretariat whose efforts made the establishment of the peacekeeping force possible. He also thanked the Council for its indulgence, patience and tolerance in giving the Central African Republic the time to accomplish all necessary tasks in order to make its mission possible and said he was grateful to the French Government for its continued support, which was vital for the success of the operation.
The Central African Republic, he stated, was determined to cooperate fully with MINURCA to ensure the success of its mandate. It would fulfil all of its commitments and its obligations under the agreement of MISAB. Peace, once established, would be monitored, and the process of free and fair elections would be safeguarded.
Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom), spoke on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Cyprus and Norway. He welcomed the significant steps taken towards stabilization of the Central African Republic following the breakdown of security and civil order in 1996. In that regard, the Bangui Accords represented a major breakthrough in that process. Also commendable was the vital contribution made by MISAB towards improving the security situation over the last year.
He said the rapid and effective deployment of that mission in 1997 was an important example of a regional response to regional problems, and demonstrated the professionalism and capabilities of African peacemakers. The continued commitment by its participants in the new United Nations operation, MINURCA, was also welcomed. That new expression of United Nations readiness in the peacekeeping field should be applauded.
The Union warmly welcomed the establishment of MINURCA to replace MISAB from mid-April, he said. Its security, training, disarmament and electoral assistance responsibilities would play a key role in the period leading up to the elections. Also welcomed was the Secretary-General's intention to appoint a special representative in the country. In that respect, the Union would continue to provide development assistance, especially under the European Development Fund, which would include substantial support in the transport sector, as well as assistance in the health sector.
He said the Union shared the concerns over the fragility of the situation in the country. However, the United Nations, through MINURCA and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, could make a significant contribution to meeting the challenges that lay ahead and help build lasting peace, democracy and development in the Central African Republic.
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ELFATIH MOHAMED AHMED ERWA (Sudan) said his Government had the honour of participating in the signing of the Reconciliation Act of the Central African Republic, and it saluted the regional integration that characterized the accomplishment. That pact had proven that Africans could shoulder responsibility and solve problems peacefully. The pact was an example of the time-honoured tradition in Africa of peacefully resolving disputes.
Sudan, he said, paid tribute to the mediation efforts of the group of heads of State that made up one family of the African continent, so peace and stability could return to the Central African Republic. The President of Gabon, Omar Bongo, in particular, played an important role in guiding the parties to a peaceful solution.
Sudan also paid tribute to the important role played by the African States that participated in the MISAB, by establishing peace and security in the country, he said, as well as the sincere efforts of the Secretary-General and the Council, which made the realization of many important achievements possible.
The ultimate goal of the African continent was regional cooperation and integration as well as achieving development for all people, he stated. Sudan called for the support of the international community to help the Central African Republic to realize its development aspirations.
THOMAS B. AMOLO (Kenya) said the stage in Bangui was now set for the home stretch. The situation, however, remained fragile and was not irreversible. The establishment of a United Nations mission in the Republic would therefore provide the needed assurance to its people that the United Nations had recognized their gains and sought to assist them in their consolidation.
Continuing, he said that the establishment of MINURCA at this point in the peace process should serve to confirm the international community's engagement in the country and would assist it in ushering in an era of national reconciliation, democracy and reconstruction. In that context, it was noteworthy that the resolution clearly recognized that long term peace and stability in the country required the sustained commitment by the international community in support of economic, social and institutional development. In that regard, the progress achieved thus far in discussions with international financial institutions was welcomed, and development partners were urged to provide the necessary support. Contributions were also sought for the Trust Fund established by the Secretary-General.
He said that the 90-day mandate of MINURCA, as recommended by the Secretary-General, should be enough time to lay a solid foundation for the Republic's renaissance. A new dependency on United Nations peacekeeping
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operations to hold countries together was not one that he would cherish or want to nurture.
ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said the Bangui Agreements put an end to the turmoil that had swept the Central African Republic, and the MISAB was deployed to ensure that those agreements were implemented. MISAB was entrusted to enforce peace and security and to confiscate weapons, and it had done a considerable job, almost completing its mandate. However, much remained to be done to ensure a lasting peace in the Central African Republic. The intervention of the United Nations would make it possible to secure peace in Bangui and to the rest of the country. MINURCA's mandate went beyond what MISAB could do. It would continue to monitor the reforms and commitments made by the Central African Republic authorities, contribute to assuring stability and security, maintaining law and order, assisting in the preparations for legislative elections, and encouraging and coordinating actions of United Nations institutions and programmes.
He said the resolution before the Council defined an initial mandate for a duration of three months, which could be extended if the efforts of the Mission were met by the efforts of the Central African Republic to fully implement the Bangui Agreements and the National Reconciliation pact. The establishment of MINURCA was an illustration of the importance of the presence of the United Nations in Africa in the service of peace and security. There was no need to distinguish African capacities for peacekeeping and the role of the United Nations. Both were complementary and reinforced one another. Other states external to the region should also contribute resources to peace and stability in the region. MINURCA was an excellent example of preventive diplomacy.
MELVIN SAENZ BIOLLEY (Costa Rica) said his Government had consistently supported the work done by MISAB, and had acknowledged its important work, which achieved peace in the Central African Republic. Costa Rica was grateful to all those that took part in the Mission, as well as the International Mediation and Internal Monitoring Committees. Yet, the situation had not been resolved nor have the reasons for the crisis disappeared. Fragility was a main feature in the country. The state of the political and security crises had been overcome, but the country was now in a new stage of peacebuilding which would determine if the achievements would be lasting.
His Government supported the concept of a multi-functional United Nations operation, he said. The Mission would serve as an example of United Nations activities in peacebuilding. MINURCA would work to improve peace and stability in Bangui and the surrounding areas. Once that goal was achieved, then other work would proceed and be carried out uninterrupted. MINURCA should also give assistance in the protection and monitoring of the main installations in Bangui. It was important that MINURCA also provided technical and political advice to the electoral bodies, so the legislative and
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presidential elections could be held in the near future. The appointment of a Special Representative was important in coordinating all United Nations activities in the country and in establishing direct channels of communication with the Government.
The economic and social situation in the Central African Republic continued to be a source of major concern and interest, he said. Recent statistics demonstrated an alarming situation, specifically in the social areas. The interruption of social institutions and the pay of civil servants have led to many strikes and other problems. It was indispensable that the international financial institutions reconsider their positions to the Central African Republic. The country was at a crucial stage in its development, and what was done now, in terms of the United Nations peacekeeping operation, would help the Central African Republic move ahead and allow it to become a productive member of the international community.
CELSO L.N. AMORIM (Brazil) commended the valuable work performed by MISAB, which placed the Council in a position to take a formal decision today. Despite such progress, the situation remained fragile. Conditions during the period leading up to the elections must not be permitted to deteriorate, and in that regard, the Council should closely follow events in the coming weeks and months.
Continuing, he said MINURCA was the first full-fledged peacekeeping operation authorized by the Council in more than two years. That was something to reflect upon, especially since that lull did not coincide with a period of fewer conflicts, particularly in Africa. A forthcoming report by the Secretary-General should permit the emergence by the Council of a clearer and more constructive agenda for Africa on the basis of a balanced assessment of recent experiences.
In his view, the draft represented a satisfactory outcome, and reflected the ability of the participants in the negotiations to iron out their differences. MINURCA would operate under the explicit consent of the parties, which placed it in the corresponding legal framework established under the United Nations Charter. The resolution's affirmation that MINURCA might be required to take action to ensure security and freedom of movement of its personnel in the discharge of its mandate should apply generally to peacekeeping operations rules under Chapter VI of the Charter.
Overall, he went on, the Council's decision to establish a peacekeeping operation in the Central African Republic signified a meaningful contribution by the international community. Moreover, given the prevailing budgetary restraints under which the Organization had been operating, such a decision could not be taken lightly. President Patasse and the parties involved were therefore urged to make the best of that opportunity to ensure lasting peace in the Republic, thereby contributing to greater regional harmony.
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JOSE TADEU SOARES (Portugal) associated his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the European Union. The establishment of MINURCA was an example of an African-led initiative to promote regional peace and stability. Portugal strongly believed in such initiatives and supported the recommendations of the Secretary-General for its establishment.
It must be remembered that the relative security in the Central African Republic was very much due to the tireless efforts of regional leaders, he said. However, those efforts required the continued presence of the international community to assist in the remaining tasks. The National Reconciliation Pact, adopted earlier this month in Bangui, was an important step in fostering stability in that country. The holding of free and fair elections in August or September should help to further consolidate that peace.
The establishment of MINURCA, in a still fragile country, was a clear example of the willingness of the international community to cooperate closely with regional efforts in Africa, he said. Indeed, its mandate was tailored to the requirements of the particular situation. Its future role in maintaining and enhancing security and stability was significant, as well as its support of the national security forces in matters of law and order, and its assistance in the coordination of other international efforts in a short-term police trainers programme. Also welcomed was the appointment by the Secretary- General of a Special Representative.
HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden) said the Council's decision to establish a peacekeeping operation in the Central African Republic was important for the country, the region and the United Nations. MINURCA gave the country much needed international political and security support in the crucial process leading to elections. The new Mission's presence would also play a significant role in building security and in strengthening democracy and the rule of law. In addition, it would have an important stabilizing effect in the region. Regional security was precarious, and any further deterioration in the situation in the Central African Republic would have perilous consequences.
The establishment of MINURCA demonstrated the determination of the United Nations, and of the Council, to assume its responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security in Africa, he said. The Council must be ready to decide on actions throughout the spectrum of conflict resolution: early warning, prevention, mediation, peacekeeping and, if needed, enforcement. The success of MINURCA would depend on the continued cooperation of all parties in the Central African Republic. President Patasse and his Government had so far made considerable progress in fulfilling their commitments to economic, social, security and electoral reform.
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MASAKI KONISHI (Japan) said that the efforts towards the maintenance of stability in the Central African Republic, in particular by the participants in MISAB, the International Monitoring Committee, and the International Mediation Committee, as well as France, had been key to maintaining order in the country, thereby preventing the destabilization of the subregion.
Although significant progress had thus far been achieved, including the reported adoption yesterday of the electoral code, national reconciliation remained a difficult and complex process, he said. Among the tasks that remained were the holding of a legislative election, the restructuring and capacity-building of security forces, and the introduction of financial and economic reforms. Those challenging tasks required concrete assistance from the international community. Japan therefore, supported the establishment of MINURCA and would vote in favour of the draft resolution. MINURCA's establishment would demonstrate the ongoing commitment and unique capability of the United Nations, and particularly the Security Council, with regard to maintaining world peace and security.
He reiterated that MINURCA must by no means be viewed as a panacea for the problems confronting the Republic. Its mission was simply to support the efforts of the Government to overcome its problems. It was the responsibility of the Republic to rebuild itself and to strive for prosperity. It was therefore incumbent upon President Patasse to fulfil the commitment he had made to the people of country.
SHEN GUOFANG (China) said the Central African Republic had maintained a rather stable environment and tangible efforts had been achieved towards national reconciliation. The excellent performance of MISAB had established conditions in the country that had allowed recent national reconciliation and peace and security to take place. China had always maintained that the Council should pay attention to the problems faced by African countries. By solving those problems, the demands of the African country should be supported. MINURCA would help the Government of the Central African Republic to realize its ultimate goal of national reconciliation.
China supported the establishment of the peacekeeping operation and the resolution before the Council, he said. The text accommodated the specific request of the country and also made reasonable and proper provisions for the mandate, function and time-frame of MINURCA. MINURCA should follow the good practices of the MISAB in fully respecting the Government of the Central African Republic. Its work should proceed according to the specific situation in the country and continue to promote communication among all parties. The country had already taken the first step on the road to restoring the national economy. The stability of the country relied on its people and its Government. MINURCA would help the country to move gradually toward peace, stability, and prosperity.
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JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) shared the Secretary-General's concern regarding the fragile political and security situation in the Central African Republic, particularly owing to the presence of light arms still in circulation and obtainable from neighbouring countries. Indeed, some elements of the former armed forces had fled to Zaire in the south, and the presence of local militia persisted in the north. Those circumstances made it essential for the international community to maintain its presence in order to regain stability and security in the country.
Stemming from the concern over its security and stability, as well as regional security, it was especially important to maintain a United Nations presence there, he said. In that regard, Bahrain supported the draft, and called on all parties involved to ensure the security, safety and freedom of movement of the Mission's members.
DANILO TURK (Slovenia) said that the draft before the Council was timely and necessary in a period when decisive action was needed to normalize the situation in the Republic. He welcomed the progress made thus far towards national reconciliation and sustainable stability in that country, in particular the commitment and efforts of Member States monitoring the implementation of the Bangui Agreements, and the neutral and impartial way in which they were supporting the improvement of the security situation.
However, the situation in the country remained fragile and continued to constitute a threat to international and regional peace and security, he said. Further efforts by the international community were therefore required. In addition, an appropriate security environment was needed in order to implement political, economic, social and security reforms, including the establishment of an electoral code and preparation for legislative elections. Such an environment would also support the implementation of the National Reconciliation Pact. That secure and stable environment would remain essential, as would the assistance and support of the international community.
Slovenia would therefore vote in favour of the draft to extend MISAB and establish MINURCA for an initial three-month period, he said. Slovenia was encouraged by the ability of the Council to act today. Its grasp of the issues at hand and the degree of unity among its members would undoubtedly contribute to MINURCA's success.
YURIY FEDOTOV (Russian Federation) said his Government was pleased to note that progress had been achieved in normalizing the situation in the Central African Republic, partly due to the active actions of the MISAB. The activities of the International Monitoring Committee and the International Mediation Committee had also contributed to MISAB's significant achievements. Continued international assistance was still necessary to finish the process
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of national reconciliation and the holding of free and fair elections. Finding solutions to lasting economic and social issues was also an important factor in establishing lasting peace and stability.
He went on to say that the viability of the international community's assistance in achieving a resolution in the Central African Republic depended on the readiness of the Government and all parties to demonstrate political will to fully implement the Bangui Agreements and to comply with the National Reconciliation Pact. The initial mandate for MINURCA, as defined in the resolution, was optimum. Its complete deployment would be completed by 15 April to ensure an orderly transition between MISAB and MINURCA. Further deployment would depend on progress in the elections and the implementation of the agreements. The Russian Federation would vote in favour of the resolution.
BILL RICHARDSON (United States) said MINURCA was designed as a temporary bridge to give the Central African Republic time to re-establish a secure State under good governance. In discussions on MINURCA, the Council had agreed that the United Nations would not assume responsibility for security in the country indefinitely; the Government must use the opportunity that MINURCA provided wisely and well. Progress toward reform must continue, including progress toward regular and complete payment of military and civilian salaries, toward national reconciliation, military restructuring and the stability of the country. If the Government did not make concrete progress toward the necessary economic and security reforms, the United States would find it difficult to renew MINURCA for another period.
The role of the Special Representative was critical for the transitional period in the Central African Republic, he said. He would be in charge of MINURCA and assist the Government with its reform efforts and oversee all United Nations activities in the country. The coordination of United Nations assistance programs with other international efforts was essential for the ultimate success of the Mission.
He went on to say that elections were another important part of the country's democratic reform process. Election experts from United Nations or international non-governmental organizations should provide assistance to the Central African Republic. Election assistance should not be placed under MINURCA's military command. It should form a separate building block of the broad programme of assistance that the Special Representative would coordinate with support from other organizations.
DENIS DANGUE REWAKA (Gabon) said his Government fully subscribed to the MINURCA's assigned objectives. Those were the reinforcement of the process of national reconciliation as set out in the Bangui Agreements; the establishment of the necessary conditions for the transparent holding of legislative elections, and close cooperation between MINURCA regional initiatives, particularly the National Reconciliation Pact. Gabon believed that the future
Security Council - 17 - Press Release SC/6494 3867th Meeting (AM) 27 March 1998
MINURCA would be the determining element for effecting the acts contained in the national reconciliation agreements to ensure the establishment of a durable peace and the beginning of real economic development.
MOMODOU SALLAH (Gambia) said significant progress had been made in implementing the Bangui Agreements. Even more encouraging were the commitments shown by President Patasse to implement the reforms necessary for the full implementation of the Agreements.
He said although the security situation had steadily improved, it was still precarious. It was against that backdrop that MISAB's mandate would soon end. In light of those two facts, it was imperative that some intervention be made in order to consolidate and build upon the gains already made by MISAB. The required intervention would take the form of a United Nations peacekeeping mission, established under the current draft resolution.
The Secretary-General's report indicated the urgent need for substantial economic and financial reforms, he said. Otherwise, the present negative socio-economic conditions in the country were likely to seriously undermine the country's overall security and stability. It was therefore fitting that the draft resolution called on States to contribute to the Trust Fund for the Central African Republic and called upon international organizations and financial institutions to assist in the post-conflict development.
Central to the peacekeeping operation was the request made to Member States to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources to MINURCA, he said. Another important provision was the request made to the Secretary- General to report on the progress made by the Government to adopt an electoral code and develop plans for the legislative elections. Such a provision put some pressure on the Government to act. On balance, the draft was in the right direction, and his delegation would therefore support it.
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