A dispute between the President of the Central African Republic (CAR) and the country's former top military official has stalled the CAR's efforts to return to normalcy, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report.
The political situation in the CAR has continued to be marked by the repercussions of the attempted coup last year, and further deteriorated when President Ange-Félix Patassé relieved Gen. Bozizé of his duties in October 2001 as Chief of Staff of the country's armed forces, the Secretary-General writes in his report to the Security Council on the activities of the UN Peace-Building Support Office (BONUCA).
"The national reconciliation which was expected after the failed coup d'Etat of 28 May 2001 has still not taken place, partly because of the continuing judicial investigations," Mr. Annan observes. "However, a meeting between President Patassé and the opposition leaders would help reduce tension and bring together the main political actors." He also commends the efforts of the leaders of the subregion to promote a resumption of political dialogue and encourage national reconciliation in the CAR.
Meanwhile, the Secretary-General expresses the hope that President Patassé's solemn call for the return of refugees will contribute to an easing of tension, noting that the provisions, including security provisions, taken by the country's authorities in the context of the reception committee for these refugees demonstrate their desire to rebuild unity among the nation's peoples.
In the area of human rights, the conclusion of the mandate of the joint commission of judicial inquiry and the trial of the individuals who took part in the coup will certainly help to consolidate the progress already made, Mr. Annan says.
The Secretary-General also encourages the development partners to continue to assist the country during the transitional period, in which there are likely to be greater difficulties than before, pending the outcome of the donor meeting held in Paris on 20 December.