SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER SITUATION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, CONDEMNS RECENT KILLING OF UN SECURITY COORDINATOR

17 July 2001
SC/7101

SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER SITUATION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, CONDEMNS RECENT KILLING OF UN SECURITY COORDINATOR

17/07/2001
Press ReleaseSC/7101

Security Council

4346th Meeting (PM)

SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER SITUATION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC,

CONDEMNS RECENT KILLING OF UN SECURITY COORDINATOR

The Security Councilthis afternoon strongly condemned the killing of the Security Coordinator of the United Nations system in the Central African Republic.  It took note of the condemnation of that act by the authorities of the country and of their intention to carry out an investigation.

The Council took that action in a statement (document S/PRST/2001/18) read out by its President, Wang Yingfan (China), by whose terms it also urged the authorities in the Central African Republic to bring to justice those responsible for the killing of the Security Coordinator, Jean-Pierre Lhommée, a French national.

The Council reiterated its condemnation of the recent attempted coup d’état in the Central African Republic, and expressed its deep concern at the precarious situation in the country and the persisting acts of violence, particularly against certain ethnic groups.  It called upon the Government of the Central African Republic to take urgent steps to bring an end to all acts of violence.

The Council also welcomed the appointment of General Lamine Cissé, former Minister of the Interior of Senegal, as the new representative of the Secretary-General in the Central African Republic and looked forward to his assuming the leadership of the United Nations Peace-building Support Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA). 

The Secretary-General was also asked by the Council to submit by

30 September recommendations on how the United Nations might further contribute to the recovery of the Central African Republic.  In that respect, particular attention should be paid to the strengthening of BONUCA; exploring with the Government the provision of expertise in the area of public administration and finances; and the continued and improved restructuring of the armed forces and implementation of an effective arms-collection programme. 

The Council stressed that the enhanced international effort would be necessary to help in the recovery of the Central African Republic.  It urged all States that made pledges at the special donor meeting in New York in May 2000 to fulfil them.  It also called on the Bretton Woods institutions to take into account the specific nature of the situation in order to conclude programmes with the Central African authorities at an early date.

The statement also stressed the crucial importance of poverty eradication, debt repayment and payment of arrears of salary for civil servants, which would require in the long term heightened efforts on the part of the Government of the Central African Republic in the management of public finances and administration.

In addition, the Council called for respect for human rights, national reconciliation and political dialogue in the spirit of the 1998 National Reconciliation Pact.

Also this afternoon, the Council paid tribute to the late Humayun Rasheed Choudhury, Speaker of the National Assembly of Bangladesh and President of the General Assembly at its forty-sixth session in 1986.  It conveyed its profound condolences to the Government and people of Bangladesh, as well as the bereaved family, and then observed a minute of silence.

The meeting, which began at 12:43 p.m., was adjourned at 12:51 p.m.

Text of Presidential Statement

The full text of the statement, to be issued as S/PRST/2001/18, reads as follows:

“The Security Council has examined the report of the Secretary-General of

2 July 2001 on the activities of the United Nations Peace-building Support Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA) and the situation in the Central African Republic (S/2001/660).

“The Security Council expresses its appreciation to the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the mission he conducted in Bangui from 10 June to 1 July 2001.  It notes with satisfaction that the mission has contributed to easing tensions in the Central African Republic.

“The Security Council welcomes the appointment of the new Representative of the Secretary-General in the Central African Republic.  It looks forward to his assuming the active leadership of BONUCA at an early date.

“The Security Council reiterates its condemnation of the recent attempted coup in the Central African Republic.  It recognizes the importance of the Central African Republic to subregional stability.  It expresses its deep concern at the precarious situation in the country and the persisting acts of violence, in particular against certain ethnic groups.  The Council notes that such a climate is not conducive to encouraging the continuation of the return home of the thousands of Central Africans that were displaced or took refuge in neighbouring countries as a result of the events at the end of May.  It calls upon the Government of the Central African Republic to take urgent steps to bring an end to all acts of violence.

“The Security Council strongly condemns the killing of the security coordinator for the United Nations system in the Central African Republic.  It takes note of the condemnation of this act by the Central African authorities and of their intention to carry out an investigation and urges them to bring those responsible to justice.

“The Security Council calls for respect for human rights, national reconciliation and political dialogue in the spirit of the 1998 National Reconciliation Pact (S/1998/219, appendix).

“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to submit to it by 30 September 2001 recommendations on how the United Nations might further contribute to the recovery of the Central African Republic, paying particular attention to the following questions:

“(a)  Strengthening BONUCA, in particular in areas such as human rights monitoring, assistance to the judicial system and capacity-building, and enhancing the effectiveness of its early-warning capacity;

“(b)  Exploring with the Government of the Central African Republic, in cooperation with the relevant institutions, the provision of expertise in the area of public administration and finances, in particular by making available experts in such matters;

“(c)  The continued and improved restructuring of the Central African armed forces and the implementation of an effective arms-collection programme.

“The Security Council expresses its willingness to study, in cooperation with the relevant institutions, particularly the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, the recommendations of the Secretary-General.

“The Security Council stresses that an enhanced international effort will be necessary to help in the recovery of the Central African Republic.  It urges all States that made pledges at the special donor meeting in New York in May 2000 to fulfil them.  It calls on the Bretton Woods institutions to take into account the specific nature of the situation in order to conclude programmes with the Central African authorities at an early date.  The Council stresses the crucial importance of poverty eradication, debt payment and payment of arrears of salary for civil servants which requires in the long term heightened efforts on the part of the Government of the Central African Republic in the management of public finances and administration.

“The Security Council again recalls that responsibility for national reconciliation, stability and the reconstruction of the country lies primarily with the political leaders and the people of the Central African Republic.  It emphasizes in this regard that the full effectiveness of the assistance of the international community depends on the implementation in parallel of appropriate structural reforms.”

Background

As the Security Council met this afternoon, it had before it a third report of the Secretary-General (document S/2001/660) on the situation in the Central African Republic and on the activities of the United Nations Peace-building Support Office (BONUCA) there.

In his report, the Secretary-General urges emergency assistance from donors and the international community to meet priority needs of the Central African Republic before the consideration of any solution to overcome the crisis in the country.  The authorities had presented to the diplomatic corps and United Nations agencies in Bangui a minimum plan of action for social and economic recovery, estimated to cost approximately $75 million.

He also calls for urgent support for the restructuring of the country’s defence and security forces, the collection of weapons and the redeployment plan drawn up by the Government.

The continuation and completion of the restructuring programme is a priority task, the Secretary-General notes, adding that the efforts already made in that sphere and the training provided by BONUCA had enabled the country’s army to demonstrate its loyalty during the attempted coup d’état of 27 to 28 May 2001.

The vast majority of the army remained loyal and, according to the authorities, the number of participants in the attempted coup never exceeded

100 or so.  It, therefore, seems unlikely, the Secretary-General’s report states, that the failed coup attempt had jeopardized the restructuring of the defence and security forces upon which the Government had embarked.

The Secretary-General blames the instability in the Central African Republic partly on poverty, but adds that it was partly because of the financial difficulties of the State and the subsequent salary crisis that the political and economic situation had become so fragile.  Efforts should be made to prevent the situation from deteriorating and the Central African Republic from continuing to be the “soft underbelly” of the subregion.

While the international community has a duty to express solidarity with the Central African Republic, its people, in return, have an urgent duty to work together to establish the conditions for a political system based on consensus, the Secretary-General further states.  Towards that end, he calls on them to urgently re-establish political dialogue, restore confidence among themselves, foster consultations and promote tolerance.

He encourages political actors in the Central African Republic to continue and strengthen those initiatives to consolidate peace, democratic institutions and national unity in the country.  The majority must allow the opposition to carry out its activities freely.  The opposition, while performing in a constructive and responsible manner its role of critic and monitor of the actions of the Government pending the next elections, must let the majority govern.

“It is on these conditions alone that the Central African Republic will be able to emerge from the interminable crisis situation which seems to be its defining characteristic”, the Secretary-General writes.  At the subregional level, he encourages the Central African Republic to intensify its relations with its neighbours to reduce the tension which might compromise the region’s precarious stability.

On 30 May, General André Kolingba, a former President of the Central African Republic, claimed responsibility for the attempted coup during which 59 persons were killed (according to official figures), and 88,765 displaced.  It has been estimated that $3.6 million in humanitarian assistance would be required.

Despite the return to normalcy in the capital since the end of the fighting, the Secretary-General’s report states that the resumption of work had not been complete in the public sector.  The human rights situation had been markedly affected by the events that followed the attempted coup.

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For information media. Not an official record.