Global perspective Human stories

Central Africa's security situation remains cause for concern - Annan

Central Africa's security situation remains cause for concern - Annan

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has voiced concern over instability in Central Africa, where clashes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are threatening the country's peace process.

In a message to a UN-hosted ministerial meeting in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, Mr. Annan urged all the parties represented in the DRC's Transitional Government to stay fully engaged in the effort to consolidate peace and to refrain from any action that could threaten the unity of the administration.

The Secretary-General also underscored other worrying developments, including the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan as well as political strife in the Republic of the Congo, and urged intensified efforts to restore stability.

"Be assured that the UN will continue to provide you with all necessary support to help you assume your responsibilities in the areas of peace, stability and economic and social development," he said in the message, which was delivered by Lamine Cissé, Head of the UN Peace-building Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA).

In a separate message to a meeting in Mozambique of leaders of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group, the Secretary-General said trade agreements being negotiated with the European Union should stimulate a range of policy and institutional changes.

"Many of your countries are heavily dependent on income from tariffs for government revenue," he noted in the message, which was delivered by K.Y. Amoako, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

"The prospect of falling government revenue, combined with falling commodity prices and huge external indebtedness, imposes a heavy burden on your countries and threatens to further hinder your ability to achieve the Millennium Development Goals," he added, referring to a series of anti-poverty targets adopted at a UN summit meeting in 2000.

To address that vulnerability, the Secretary-General emphasized the need for the countries of those regions to move away from their dependence on primary commodities. "That is why we look to the international community to help you diversify your exports," he said, pledging the UN's support in that endeavour.