Following is UN Secretary-General’s message, delivered by Abdoulaye Bathily, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Africa and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), to the forty-first Ministerial Meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC), in Libreville, Gabon, today:
I thank His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Gabonese Republic, as well as the Government and people of Gabon, for hosting the forty-first ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa. You have come together to further your efforts on critical issues discussed last June in Luanda and to address new challenges facing the subregion.
Central Africa has entered an electoral cycle that will end in 2018, with political tensions and disputes over constitutional issues leading to violence in some States. I call on all parties to reject violence and manage political differences during electoral periods in a manner that promotes dialogue and advances the consolidation of democracy. The United Nations will support Central African States in ensuring peaceful and democratic electoral processes and enhancing the capacities of the subregion to consolidate peace.
I am deeply concerned about the latest cycle of violence in the Central African Republic, which began on 26 September, and its impact on the population. The people of the Central African Republic have suffered enough. It is critical that the individuals responsible for the most recent violence, and their sponsors, are brought to justice. Under the leadership of President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo and my Special Representative for Central Africa, Abdoulaye Bathily, the International Mediation has contributed to keeping the political transition on track.
I commend the region for its continued engagement in support of the efforts by the Transitional Authority to restore constitutional order and fight impunity in the Central African Republic. I also encourage the international community to assist the Transitional Authority with the timely and effective implementation of the recommendations of the Bangui Forum for National Reconciliation, and of the revised electoral calendar.
Armed groups in the Central Africa region, including those active in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the Lord’s Resistance Army, continue to threaten local populations. Terrorist attacks by Boko Haram continue to target countries across the Lake Chad Basin region with growing humanitarian, human rights and socioeconomic consequences for Central African States.
I welcome the deployment of the Multinational Joint Task Force against Boko Haram, as well as the efforts of both the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), for the initiative of holding a joint summit to discuss the matter and explore ways to further cooperate in the fight against Boko Haram. I hope that such a summit can take place without any further delay.
I also welcome the active engagement of Central African States in developing an integrated strategy on counter-terrorism and the non-proliferation of small arms and light weapons for Central Africa. This important initiative, one of the recommendations of the thirty-third UNSAC ministerial meeting in Bangui, has now come back to UNSAC for adoption at the current session. The strategy is an important tool that will help Central African States advance a collective approach against the threat to the subregion posed by violent extremism.
Piracy, armed robbery at sea and illegal fishing still represent threats to the physical and economic security of Central African States. I encourage States, working through ECCAS, ECOWAS and the Gulf of Guinea Commission, to continue and maintain their efforts to tackle maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea through the full implementation of the decisions of the Yaoundé Summit. I urge States to mobilize the necessary resources to ensure the adequate functioning of the Interregional Coordination Centre and further support the operationalization of the Regional Coordination Centre for Maritime Security in Central Africa.
Finally, I applaud UNSAC States for their substantive contribution to the next COP 21 [the twenty-first Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change]. They have demonstrated once more their privileged position in acknowledging the impact of climate change on peace and security. I remain concerned by continuing reports of illicit wildlife trafficking in Central Africa and its links to the financing of armed groups.
I welcome the General Assembly’s adoption of resolution 69/314 of 30 July, the first resolution on tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife, and one that was sponsored by an UNSAC member, Gabon. I also welcome the ongoing cooperation of Central African States with ECCAS and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to tackle this growing phenomenon.
In these and other initiatives to promote stability in the subregion, the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa and my Special Representative will continue to support your efforts in collaboration with the relevant United Nations entities across the subregion. I wish you great success in your deliberations.