|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5621st Meeting* (PM)
Security Council requests dispatch of advance team to chad, Central African Republic
to explore possible United Nations mission in border areas
Concerned about the continuing instability along the borders between the Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic and the threat that posed to the safety of civilians and the conduct of humanitarian operations, the Security Council today asked United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to immediately authorize the return of a technical assessment mission to the border areas and to submit by the middle of next month final recommendations on the composition and mandate of a United Nations multidimensional presence there.
In a statement read out by the Council President for January, Vitaly Churkin (Russian Federation), the Council took note of the Secretary-General’s report containing preliminary recommendations on such a deployment, as well as the position taken by the Central African and Chadian authorities in favour “in principle” of such a United Nations presence.
To accelerate preparations for an early decision on possible deployment, the Council requested the Secretary-General to swiftly dispatch an advance mission to Chad and the Central African Republic, in consultation with their Governments, to collect more information on the situation in the border areas and further explore the possibilities of a political agreement. Such a team would also conduct further detailed planning and logistic preparation, so as to enable the submission of more comprehensive recommendations in due course.
The meeting began at 1:12 p.m. and adjourned at 1:17 p.m.
The full text of the statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/2007/2, reads as follows:
“The Security Council reiterates its concern about the continuing instability along the borders between the Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic and about the threat which this poses to the safety of the civilian population and the conduct of humanitarian operations.
“The Security Council takes note of the Secretary-General’s report of 22 December 2006 (S/2006/1019), which contains preliminary recommendations on the deployment of a multidimensional United Nations presence in eastern Chad and north-eastern Central African Republic. It notes the position taken by the Central African and Chadian authorities in favour in principle of such a presence and looks forward to their continued engagement in preparing for it.
“The Security Council notes the Secretary-General’s intention to authorize the immediate return of the technical assessment mission to the region in order to complete its observations that were curtailed on security grounds and requests him to submit, by the middle of February 2007, updated and finalized recommendations on the size, structure and mandate of a UN multidimensional presence.
“To accelerate preparations for an early decision on the possible deployment of a multidimensional UN presence, the Security Council requests that the Secretary-General deploy as soon as possible an advance mission to Chad and the Central African Republic, in consultation with their Governments, as envisaged in paragraph 88 of his report.”
For the Security Council’s consideration this afternoon of the situation in Chad and the Sudan, it had before it a 22 December report of the Secretary-General (document S/2006/1019) pursuant to resolution 1706 (2006). The resolution says that the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) in Darfur will include assisting in addressing security issues along the shared borders between the Sudan and Chad, and the Sudan and the Central African Republic. That would require, among other things, a multidimensional presence consisting of political, humanitarian, military and civilian police liaison officers in key locations in Chad, including in the internally displaced persons and refugee camps and, if necessary, in the Central African Republic. It would also contribute to the implementation of the Agreement between the Sudan and Chad signed on 26 July 2006.
In the report, the Secretary-General said there was evidently a need to address the rapidly deteriorating security situation and to protect civilians in the border areas. The situation in eastern Chad and the north-eastern Central African Republic, however, is “extremely fluid”, with ongoing hostilities between the respective Governments and rebel groups, especially in Chad. There are, at present, only limited prospects for a meaningful dialogue and reconciliation process between the Governments and the rebels in the two countries. Similarly, there are so far no signs of a credible and inclusive political process in Darfur.
Accordingly, he says, the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force in eastern Chad and the north-eastern Central African Republic “would face considerable risks, and its safe entry would depend on the consent of the parties”. Otherwise, any United Nations presence could become the target of attacks by rebel groups, if they were to perceive it as interfering with their cross-border activities. “Unless all the parties concerned were to agree to a ceasefire and engage in an intra- and inter-State dialogue aimed at a political solution, a United Nations force would be operating in the midst of continuing hostilities and would have no clear exit strategy,” the Secretary-General says.
He concludes, “The conditions for an effective United Nations peacekeeping operation do not, therefore, seem to be in place as at the time of writing of the present report.” However, should the Security Council decide to pursue the idea, it should consider authorizing the deployment of a robust monitoring and protection mission, as described in the current report. Mainly, such a mission would, among other tasks: facilitate the political process; protect civilians; monitor the human rights situation; and strengthen the local judicial, police and correctional system. Given the overall political and security assessment, it appeared necessary to establish a separate United Nations presence for Chad and the Central African Republic.
In addition to monitoring and reporting on the cross-border activities of armed groups along the border with Darfur, a larger military force, as envisaged under “option B”, would deter attacks and provide protection to civilians under imminent threat in its deployment areas, the report further states. The force would seek to deter attacks by armed groups and react pre-emptively to protect civilians, including refugees and internally displaced persons. The force would also require rapid reaction capabilities at the force, sector and battalion levels, which could be enablers, such as engineer companies and additional helicopters. In the Central African Republic, the deployment of a strong battalion would still be limited to the north-eastern border region.
Meanwhile, the report says, the Council may wish to consider dispatching an advance team to the two countries to collect more information on the situation in the border areas and further explore the possibilities of a political agreement. It would also conduct further detailed planning and logistic preparation, so as to enable the Secretary-General to submit more comprehensive recommendations to the Council in due course.
He stressed that the responsibility for addressing the situation in Darfur, eastern Chad and the north-eastern Central African Republic, however, must rest, first and foremost, with the leaders of those countries. They must muster the necessary political will and leadership to bring about an effective cessation of hostilities and thereby put an end to the untold civilian suffering.
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* The 5620th Meeting was closed.