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Security Council members to visit Central Africa in bid to consolidate peace

Security Council members to visit Central Africa in bid to consolidate peace

Amb. de La Sablière of France
Security Council members will head for the troubled Great Lakes region of Africa later this week to show global support for national peace efforts, the leader of the mission said today.

"We're going to say that the international community is there to help," French Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière told a press briefing in New York.

Representatives of all 15 countries serving on the Security Council will travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda from 20 to 25 November. Their trip will follow on a visit to Nairobi on 18 and 19 November.

Ambassador de la Sablière said the Central Africa meetings would provide an opportunity to emphasize that all factions are responsible for achieving peace. The UN "is there to help, but it cannot replace the parties; it is up to the parties involved to achieve reconciliation and dialogue."

Council members would also encourage the four Central African States to foster dialogue and cooperation with each other. "There has to be in this region, among all the countries, a confidence which has been lacking in the past," the Ambassador said.

The Security Council will be "emphasizing its priorities, which are the priorities decided on by the parties involved: namely the need to make progress," Mr. de la Sablière stressed.

"We have to maintain this dynamism because we know that there will be obstacles," he said.

In related news, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region is set to begin a two-day ministerial meeting in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, tomorrow.

The gathering is being convened to prepare for a summit to be held on 19 and 20 November, also in the Tanzanian capital.

The International Conference was proposed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is scheduled to depart for Africa early this week to attend the Dar-Es-Salaam meeting, as well as official events in Burkina Faso, Egypt and Kenya.


Video of press conference [37mins]