2 May 2002
UN Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa Commemorates Tenth Anniversary and Adopts Kinshasa Declaration
NEW YORK, 1 May (Department for Disarmament Affairs) -- The United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa celebrated its tenth anniversary at a ceremony in Kinshasa on 26 April, in conjunction with its seventeenth ministerial meeting. The ceremony was attended by foreign ministers and heads of delegations from 10 Central African countries: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, and Sao Tome and Principe.
The ceremony was marked by a message from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, delivered by Lamine Cisse, Special Representative of the Secretary General, United Nations Peace-Building Support Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA). In his message, the Secretary-General congratulated the Committee for its tireless efforts during the last 10 years and expressed his hope that they would "show the same determination and the same political will in implementing the many recommendations and decisions adopted over the years".
Statements were also made by the representatives of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
During the week long session of the Committee, delegations reviewed the political and security situation, as well as measures taken in the area of regional cooperation. While commending States on their efforts, notably in Angola, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they expressed their deep concern over the persistence of armed conflicts in the subregion and reaffirmed their continued commitment to strengthening regional relations. Delegations also worked on finalizing the arrangements for joint military exercises, to be held in Gabon in 2003, with the aim of preparing them to take part in subregional peacekeeping and humanitarian relief operations.
At the conclusion of their work, the ministers and heads of delegations adopted the Kinshasa Declaration, in which they noted past accomplishments, including the creation of a Council for Peace and Security in Central Africa (COPAX) and the United Nations Subregional Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa, and renewed their commitment to carry out other decisions, such as the implementation of the Programme of Action of the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Traffic in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, the Subregional Conference on the Question of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, and the Subregional Conference on the Protection of Women and Children in Armed Conflict in Central Africa.
The ministers and heads of delegation urged Member States who had not yet ratified the Protocol relating to COPAX to do so without delay.
In his concluding remarks, Leonard She Okitundu, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, thanked the United Nations, the OAU and ECCAS for their "diligent efforts in the search for peace and lasting security in the region".
The Committee, which is serviced by the Department for Disarmament Affairs, was established on 28 May 1992 in accordance with General Assembly resolution 46/37 B, to develop confidence-building measures and promote arms restraint and development in the Central African subregion. It meets at least twice a year at the ministerial level and organizes conferences, seminars and workshops on various issues related to peace and security in Central Africa.
Currently, the Bureau of the Committee is constituted as follows: President: Democratic Republic of the Congo; First Vice-President: Central African Republic; Second Vice President: Equatorial Guinea; and Rapporteur: Republic of the Congo.
For further information, contact: Pamela Maponga, Secretary to the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, Department for Disarmament Affairs, room S-3100 A, tel: (212) 963-5521, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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