Peace in Central Africa depends on region's governments, people, Security Council told

Peace in Central Africa depends on region's governments, people, Security Council told

UN Security Council in session
While the United Nations system would offer needed support, the restoration and consolidation of lasting peace in Central Africa remains the primary responsibility of the governments and peoples of the sub-region, a senior UN official told the Security Council today as it began an open meeting on the issue.

While the United Nations system would offer needed support, the restoration and consolidation of lasting peace in Central Africa remains the primary responsibility of the governments and peoples of the sub-region, a senior UN official told the Security Council today as it began an open meeting on the issue.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tuliameni Kalomoh said in his opening remarks that despite various efforts in the sub-region, several of the 11 members of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) have been afflicted by armed conflicts, cross-border tensions, armed incursions resulting in the deaths of innocent people, and wanton destruction of infrastructure as well as the outflow of millions of refugees, returnees and displaced persons.

The UN has shown its support of fighting these negative developments by enhancing the sub-region’s capacity for early warning, prevention and peace consolidation over the long-term, Mr. Kalomoh said. It has also created, in May 1992, the Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, with the mission to limit arms, carry out disarmament projects and build confidence among the States in the sub-region.

UN support could also be seen in UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s dispatch of special envoys to the sub-region and the Security Council’s deployment of peacekeeping and peace-building operations to respond to specific situations, such as the disarmament, demobilization and repatriation of foreign armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the Sudan.

The success of UN initiatives, however, would depend on the political will of the parties concerned as well as the provision of necessary funds by the international community, Mr. Kalomoh said. "Unless the necessary resources are made available, ex-combatants are unlikely to be successfully reintegrated into their home communities," he stressed.

To effectively consolidate peace agreements reached in the sub-region, Mr. Kalomoh called for comprehensive reintegration packages from the entire UN system and the World Bank. “This approach,” he said, “should address the security and human rights, as well as the economic and developmental aspects of reintegration into society.”

In addition to all 15 Council members and the Foreign Ministers of some of the countries of the sub-region, the daylong programme also included the participation of officials from the World Bank, UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the African Union and ECCAS.