|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General, in Message, Reiterates Call to Central African Countries
To Ratify Kinshasa Convention for Controlling Small Arms, Light Weapons
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, as delivered today by Abdoulaye Bathily, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), to the thirty-eighth ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC), in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea:
I would like to thank Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, as well as the Government and the people of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea for hosting the thirty-eighth ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa. This meeting takes place in a regional context still heavily dominated by the crisis in the Central African Republic, as well as by a number of threats to peace and security in the sub-region.
Following the “N’Djamena Appeal” you launched at the thirty-seventh ministerial meeting, the mobilization of the international community around the Central African Republic intensified considerably, notably through the strengthening of MISCA (African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic), and the subsequent adoption by the Security Council of resolution 2149 (2014), by which it established MINUSCA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic). This engagement has also materialized in the international mediation efforts in the Central African Republic crisis, led by President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo, accompanied by the African Union and the United Nations.
The Forum held in Brazzaville last week is a first step on the path towards national reconciliation and reconstruction, and laid the foundations for an inclusive dialogue among Central Africans. This initiative will need to be continued in Central Africa, and include all segments of society. I, therefore, invite all stakeholders to strictly abide by the commitments made at the Brazzaville Forum, notably the cessation of all forms of violence and hostilities. These constitute the preconditions for the holding of a critical political dialogue, and the effective disarmament of armed groups. I wish to reiterate the full commitment of the United Nations to this peace process, notably through the accompaniment of MINUSCA and the participation of my Special Representative for Central Africa in the international mediation.
The Central Africa region also faces the threats of terrorism, trafficking in small arms and light weapons, poaching, maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea and the activities of armed groups, such as the Lord’s Resistance Army and Boko Haram. Given the transnational nature of these threats, your meeting is an opportunity to review your collective efforts to confront these challenges.
I welcome the steps undertaken to enhance cooperation among the countries of the region of the Lake Chad Basin in the fight against Boko Haram, which is now threatening some countries in the Central African region. The United Nations stands ready to continue to help the countries of the region strengthen their national capacities to fight terrorism. I hope that the momentum created by the workshops held in Libreville and Bujumbura will be kept and that it will lead to the adoption of a regional strategy for counter-terrorism and non-proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Central Africa.
In this context, I reiterate my call to the Member States of the region to ratify the Kinshasa Convention for the control of small arms and light weapons. This is a critical tool in the fight against poaching and armed groups which are threatening peace and security in the subregion. The Convention will enter into force 30 days after the deposition of the sixth instrument of ratification. In this connection, I would like to commend the five Member States that ratified the convention, and hope that others will do so shortly.
I also commend the authorities of Cameroon and all the leaders of the region, as well as to the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Commission of the Gulf of Guinea (CGG) and their partners for the progress made towards the establishment of the Inter-regional Coordination Center for safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea. The United Nations Office for Central Africa will continue to support ECCAS, the CGG and the countries of the region to implement this framework.
Finally, I am pleased that the thirty-eighth ministerial meeting identified the strengthening of national electoral capacities for the conduct of credible and peaceful electoral processes as its special theme. The subregion will hold several elections in the coming two years. As you know, at times, elections result in heightened socio-political tensions. It is therefore important that States have the resources and appropriate institutions to ensure free, democratic and transparent elections. The purpose is to strengthen the positive role played by all institutions dealing with election processes, from electoral commissions, to those institutions in charge of electoral disputes, as well as technical, media and political entities concerned. These actors present the potential to contribute in a fundamental manner to building peace, security and democracy in the Central African region.
I thank you for your kind attention and wish you every success in your deliberations.
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