Members of the United Nations Security Council today welcomed the decision by Chad and the Central African Republic to quickly convene a joint commission in Gabon and urged them to use it to make substantial progress in their bilateral relations.
Reading a statement to the press, the current Council President, Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sablière of France, said the members noted the commitment by both countries to implement fully and without delay all the provisions of the agreement signed in the Gabonese capital, Libreville, under the auspices of President El Hadj Omar Bongo.
Council members also recalled their opposition to any attempt to seize power by force in the Central African Republic. They noted their satisfaction with President Patassé's appeal for a national dialogue in his statement of 25 November and welcomed the recent establishment of the national dialogue coordination committee.
The statement also welcomed the tabling of a bill on freedom of the press. Council members encouraged the Central African authorities to create the conditions for a comprehensive and all-inclusive dialogue, and requested Secretary-General Kofi Annan to continue providing support and assistance in this area.
According to Ambassador de La Sablière, Council members reiterated their total support for the Representative of the Secretary-General in the Central African Republic, Gen. Lamine Cissé, and for his work as head of the UN Peace-building Support Office in the country (BONUCA). "They also expressed their continued interest in the human rights situation the Central African Republic and also their support for the activities of BONUCA, in this respect," the Council President added.
Council members welcomed the ongoing deployment of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) force under the leadership of Gabon, and with the logistical and financial support of France. They paid tribute to the members of CEMAC for their efforts and called upon all Member States to provide financial or logistical support to the force.
Earlier today, in a briefing to the Council, General Cissé presented the Secretary-General's latest progress report on the situation in Central African Republic.