SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC UNTIL 15 FEBRUARY 2000

22 October 1999
SC/6744

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC UNTIL 15 FEBRUARY 2000

22 October 1999

Press ReleaseSC/6744

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC UNTIL 15 FEBRUARY 2000

19991022

Resolution 1271 (1999) Adopted Unanimously

The Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA) until 15 February 2000.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1271 (1999), the Council welcomed a proposal of the Secretary-General that the military and civilian strength of the Mission, whose mandate would have expired on 15 November be reduced in three stages to ensure a gradual transition from United Nations peacekeeping involvement to a post-conflict peace-building presence. The Council strongly encouraged the Government of the Central African Republic to coordinate closely with MINURCA in the progressive transfer of MINURCA's functions in the security field to the local security and police forces.

By other terms of the text, the Council called on the Government of the Central African Republic to complete, with the advice and technical support of MINURCA, the initial steps of the programme for the restructuring of the Central African armed forces and of the programme for the demobilization and reintegration of the retired military personnel. Welcoming the Secretary-General's proposal to convene a meeting in New York to solicit funds to finance those programmes, the Council appealed for the international community's support.

The Council also welcomed the Secretary-General's proposal to despatch a small multidisciplinary mission to Bangui to examine the conditions for the maintenance of the United Nations presence beyond 15 February 2000. The Council requested the Secretary-General to inform it as soon as possible concerning his detailed proposals in that regard.

The Council requested the Secretary-General to submit by 15 January 2000 a report on the implementation of the mandate of MINURCA.

The representatives of the United States and China made statements before the vote.

The meeting, which began at 1:38 p.m., was adjourned at 1:44 p.m.

Work Programme

The Security Council met this afternoon to consider the situation in the Central African Republic. The Council had before it the eighth report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA), in which he recommends a short but gradual transition from United Nations peacekeeping in the Central African Republic to post-conflict peace- building (document S/1999/1038). The reduction of MINURCA would take place over a three-month period, with a view to ending the mission on 15 February 2000.

The Secretary-General says that during such a transition MINURCA would continue to provide assistance in the implementation of major reforms and its good offices to promote national reconciliation. It would facilitate a smooth transformation from the current international involvement to post-conflict peace- building. The MINURCA military component would continue to discharge its present security functions in Bangui, which it would gradually hand over to local security and law enforcement forces.

During the transition period, the Secretary-General says, MINURCA would gradually reduce its military strength. He proposes that the reduction of the Mission be conducted in three stages, ending on 15 February and leaving an element of 185 military personnel to provide security for United Nations personnel and protect United Nations assets in Bangui during the liquidation of the mission. The Mission's substantive and administrative personnel would also be reduced in a gradual fashion.

To finalize the mandate and requirements of a post-conflict peace-building presence in the Central African Republic, the Secretary-General intends to dispatch a small multidisciplinary mission to Bangui led by the Department of Political Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Following the termination of MINURCA'S mandate, the United Nations will maintain a small political office, the Secretary-General says. That office would closely monitor developments in the political, socio-economic, human rights and security spheres. It would also facilitate a continued dialogue among the political actors to promote reconciliation and national unity, as well as provide good offices in resolving disputes among political parties and supporting efforts aimed at promoting democratization and good governance. The office would include a small number of military and civilian police advisers to closely follow security- related reforms to be implemented by the Government, including the restructuring of the armed forces, demobilization and reintegration programmes.

Should the Council approve the Secretary-General's recommendation, he would inform the Council of the related requirements and seek additional resources from the General Assembly.

For several years, the Secretary-General says, the international community, including MINURCA and its predecessor the Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements, has done much to assist the people and Government of the Central African Republic on the path of national reconciliation and economic recovery. He hopes that they will now be prepared to begin assuming full responsibility for the future of their country.

Also before the Council was a draft resolution (document S/1999/1078), the full text of which reads as follows: “The Security Council,

“Reaffirming all its relevant resolutions, in particular resolutions 1159 (1998) of 27 March 1998, 1201 (1998) of 15 October 1998 and 1230 (1999) of 26 February 1999,

“Noting with satisfaction the successful conclusion of the presidential elections held on 19 September 1999,

“Commending the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the support provided to the electoral process,

“Affirming the commitment of all States to respect the sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of the Central African Republic,

“Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 7 October 1999 (S/1999/1038), and noting with approval the recommendations contained therein,

“Recalling the importance of the process of national reconciliation, and urging all the political forces of the Central African Republic to continue their efforts toward cooperation and understanding,

“Emphasizing the necessity of proceeding speedily to the restructuring of the Central African armed forces (FACA),

“Reaffirming the importance of regional stability and of consolidation of the climate of peace in the Central African Republic, which constitutes an essential element for the restoration of peace in the region,

“Reaffirming also the link between socioeconomic progress and the consolidation of the stability of the Central African Republic,

“Recalling the relevant principles contained in the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, adopted on 9 December 1994,

“Taking note of the desire expressed by the Government of the Central African Republic for an extension of the presence of MINURCA beyond 15 November 1999,

“1. Decides to extend the mandate of MINURCA until 15 February 2000 with a view to ensuring a short and gradual transition from United Nations peacekeeping involvement in the Central African Republic to a post-conflict peace-building presence with the aid of the relevant United Nations agencies and programmes and of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development;

“2. Welcomes the proposal of the Secretary-General in paragraph 58 of his report of 7 October 1999 recommending that the reduction of the military and civilian strength of MINURCA be conducted in three stages;

“3. Calls once again upon the Government of the Central African Republic to continue to take tangible measures to implement the political, economic, social and security reforms mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General of 23 February 1998 (S/1998/219) and to honour the commitments set forth, inter alia, in the letter dated 23 January 1999 (S/1999/98, annex) from the President of the Central African Republic addressed to the Secretary-General, and reaffirms the role of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Central African Republic in assisting the promotion of reforms and national reconciliation;

“4. Strongly encourages the Government of the Central African Republic to coordinate closely with MINURCA in the progressive transfer of the functions of MINURCA in the security field to the local security and police forces;

“5. Calls upon the Government of the Central African Republic to complete, with the advice and technical support of MINURCA, the initial steps of the programme for the restructuring of the FACA and of the programme for the demobilization and reintegration of the retired military personnel, appeals to the international community to give its support to these programmes, and welcomes the proposal of the Secretary-General to convene a meeting in New York in the coming months to solicit funds in order to finance these programmes;

“6. Welcomes the proposal of the Secretary-General to despatch a small multidisciplinary mission to Bangui in order to examine, in accordance with the wishes expressed by the Government of the Central African Republic, the conditions for the maintenance of the United Nations presence beyond 15 February 2000 in accordance with the recommendations made by the Secretary-General and contained in his reports of 30 May 1999 (S/1999/621) and 7 October 1999, and requests the Secretary-General to inform the Council as soon as possible concerning his detailed proposals in this regard;

“7. Reaffirms the importance of the role of MINURCA in supervising the destruction of confiscated weapons and ammunition under MINURCA control;

“8. Requests the Secretary-General to submit by 15 January 2000 a report on the implementation of the mandate of MINURCA and, in particular, on the progressive transfer of the functions of MINURCA in the security field to the local security and police forces, on the evolution of the situation in the Central African Republic, on the progress achieved in the implementation of the commitments set forth in the letters dated 8 December 1998 (S/1999/116, annex) and 23 January 1999 from the President of the Central African Republic addressed to the Secretary- General, and on the implementation of the Bangui Agreements and the National Reconciliation Pact, including the commitments relating to economic recovery, the restructuring of the security forces and the functioning of the Special Force for the Defence of the Republican Institutions (FORSDIR);

“9. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

Statements

PETER BURLEIGH (United States) said his Government joined the consensus to extend the mandate of the MINURCA for a three-month period. Since its establishment two years ago, MINURCA had helped create an improved security situation in the Central African Republic, which, in turn, had allowed the Government to conduct a peaceful presidential election on 19 September and to begin implementing much-needed reforms.

Much work, however, remained to be done in the Central African Republic, not by MINURCA, but by the Government and people themselves, he said. The Mission's job was essentially complete, and now it was time for the people of the Central African Republic and their elected representatives to continue the process of military and economic reform. Specifically, he encouraged further military restructuring, demobilization, and strict adherence to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, which included the regular payment of salaries to soldiers and other government employees.

The MINURCA would end on 15 February, he said. The need for a smooth transition to non-assessed post-conflict institution-building was paramount. The Mission's troops must begin to withdraw immediately and the United Nations must take steps to formulate a programme for the Organization and international donors to support reform after the Mission departed. His Government had opposed extensions of the Mission's mandate in the past, but was joining the consensus today because it was committed to promoting peace in Africa as a means for enhancing development and economic growth. He hoped the President and people of the Central African Republic would continue to make the necessary changes that would lead to peace and stability.

SHEN GUOFANG (China) said that since the Council had mandated the Observer Mission, the situation had remained stable and had proceeded in a smooth and orderly manner. As destabilizing factors still existed, however, the MINURCA’s continued presence was highly necessary. His delegation supported extending the Mission. It believed that doing so, along with the future establishment of the United Nations office in Bangui, would contribute to the Central African Republic's reconstruction.

The Security Council then unanimously adopted resolution 1271 (1999).

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For information media. Not an official record.