Press Releases

    26 April 2002


    NEW YORK, 25 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the seventeenth ministerial meeting of the Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, delivered on his behalf by Lamine Cisse, Representative of the Secretary-General in the Central African Republic, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on 25 April:

    It is a pleasure to send my greetings to all of you. I wish to warmly thank the people and the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for hosting, for the third time in the last 10 months, a meeting of the Committee, in its capital, at a time when the country is engaged in a quest for sustainable peace and stability.

    This year, the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa celebrates its tenth anniversary. It was created on 28 May 1992 with the objective of promoting peace, security and development in the Central African region, and was seen, from the outset, as an instrument of preventive diplomacy aimed at avoiding conflicts within and among its member States. I trust that this solemn occasion will serve not only as an opportunity for reflection on the objectives for which the Committee was created, but also as an opportunity for defining the way forward for the Committee and the Central African region.

    Over the last 10 years, your tireless efforts have resulted in the adoption of a number of confidence-building measures between member States, and the creation of several structures aimed at promoting regional cooperation and collaboration in the areas of peace, security and development.

    The Committee has also encouraged information sharing and capacity building, and has helped forge common understanding of issues of special relevance to the region. The Central African region was the first region that responded to my report on the causes of conflict in Africa by organizing a high-level seminar with a view to exploring ways that this particular region could respond to issues raised in that report.

    I hope that you will show the same determination and the same political will in implementing the many recommendations and decisions adopted over the years. While international assistance is needed, it is imperative for the States of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) to assume leadership on issues affecting their region. Accordingly, priority should be given to rendering the Council for Peace and Security in Central Africa operational. To that end, ECCAS may wish to avail itself of the various services that the United Nations extends to other regional organizations.

    Recently, we have seen some encouraging developments in some of the member States of the Committee: in Angola, in Burundi, in the Central African Republic, in the Democratic Republic of Congo -- countries that, for many years, have been torn by continued political strife and armed conflict. We must encourage and support this progress.

    In conclusion, I wish to congratulate the Committee for its tireless efforts during the past 10 years and to encourage it to continue its work for peace and development throughout the whole Central African region. Let me assure you that the United Nations will continue to give you all possible support.

    * *** *