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Security in Central Africa: UNOCA prepares the 33rd Ministerial Meeting scheduled in Bangui from 5 to 9 December 2011

By United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA)
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LIBREVILLE, Gabon, November 23, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) prepares the 33rd ministerial meeting of the Standing Advisory Committee of the United Nations in charge of Security issues in Central Africa (UNSAC), scheduled from 5 to 9 December 2011, in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic.

This meeting will enable Governments of member countries of UNSAC to make an inventory of the geopolitical and security situation in Central Africa. It creates many expectations, particularly concerning measures to prevent conflicts and consolidate peace in the region.

« This is an opportunity to exchange ideas and to better organize the coordination of actions to fight against the scourges and threats that hinder the development as well as regional and continental integration », explained Mr. Abou Moussa, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of UNOCA, to which the Secretariat of UNSAC was entrusted in May 2011.

« Apart from maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea for which the United Nations has deployed a mission over targeted sites, the question of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is one of the most crucial. It has already caused over 3,400 deaths and 440,000 displaced people, including more than 21,000 Central Africans and, for the past last six months, 49,000 Congolese », Mr. Abou Moussa said, noting that besides Uganda and Sudan, this rebel movement operates in two Central African countries, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

« During a seminar last October, we began discussing what to do. On 14 November 2011, I compiled a report on UNOCA to the Security Council. We will continue the discussion in Bangui. We hope that the international community will continue to mobilize to support regional efforts and those of the African Union so that together we can put an end to the LRA », strongly emphasizes the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Central Africa, whose office coordinates the fight against the Ugandan rebellion.

Mr. Abou Moussa encourages members of the Standing Advisory Committee of the United Nations in charge of Security issues in Central Africa to become more involved in this fight, including by contributing financially to the Trust Fund. The same call was made by Mr. Manuel Salvador dos Ramos, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Communities of Sao Tome and Principe (his country currently holds the presidency of UNSAC). In a Meeting on 30 October, he informed the Head of UNOCA that only two countries out of eleven are current with their dues.

Other important concerns : the ratification, by all concerned countries, of the Kinshasa Convention for the control of small arms and light weapons, ammunition and all parts and components that can be used in their manufacture, repair and assembly. It was adopted in April 2010. « The Ministerial Meeting in Bangui is an opportunity to sensitize authorities of the sub-region on the need to complete the ratification and implementation process of this strategic document. It is time to go beyond the intentions, take concrete actions », said Mr. Moussa, who reiterated the availability of UNOCA to support the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in the implementation of policies and mechanisms for the prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe, are members of UNSAC.

The 32nd meeting was held in Sao Tome from 12 to 16 March 2011. After Bangui, which had already hosted the meeting in August 2002, the Committee will meet in Bujumbura (Burundi) early 2012 for the 34th session.