Security Council urges steps to pave way for Central African Republic elections
Following closed-door consultations, the Council President, Ambassador Mihnea Ioan Motoc of Romania, read a statement on behalf of the members hailing "the positive evolution of the political situation in the Central African Republic and the progress made in the economic and financial fields."
They also welcomed "the various steps taken in the political field, in particular the establishment of the mixed and independent electoral commission that represents an important step towards the restoration of constitutional legality," he said.
The statement came after the Council was briefed on the situation in the country by Gen. Lamine Cissé, the Representative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The UN has a peace-building mission, known by its French acronym BONUCA, which has been in the CAR since February 2000 when it took over from a UN peacekeeping mission. The intervention was a response to the CAR's recent history of instability and violence.
In his press statement, the Council President outlined a number of steps to be taken by the country's authorities, with the "top priority" being free, transparent and democratic presidential and legislative elections at the beginning of 2005.
Council members also urged the authorities "to facilitate the greater involvement of Central African women in the electoral transition process which is underway."
They urged the CAR authorities "to do everything possible to fight against human rights violations," Ambassador Motoc said, calling for the continued restructuring of the country's defence and security forces.
On external help for the process, Council members hailed the "considerable efforts" made by the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) and called on the international community to provide the necessary assistance to ensure the success of the transitional process.
Looking at the broader regional context, Council members voiced concern about how the crisis in Darfur, Sudan, could impact the CAR, and called for international support for plans by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide assistance.
Video of statement to the press [04mins]