30 October 2003


NEW YORK, 29 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the closing ceremony of the dialogue of national reconciliation in the Central African Republic, as delivered in Bangui on 27 October by General Lamine Cissé, Representative of the Secretary-General in the Central African Republic:

I have the pleasure of extending my greetings to you at the closing ceremony of the national dialogue, which I followed with great interest.

I should like to congratulate you on the spirit of openness, forgiveness and understanding that characterized your talks.  You candidly examined the political, socio-economic and security situation that held sway in your country for decades. You understood the need for a permanent dialogue to sustain national unity and guarantee the well-being of present and future generations.

You made highly pertinent recommendations for re-establishing social peace, political stability and national cohesion, the prerequisites for harmonious and sustainable human development.

True national reconciliation, however, is not just an event; it is a process.  It is essential, therefore, that you show determination and a strong political will in implementing the recommendations and decisions coming out of your meeting.  Your efforts must continue well beyond the transition period.

From the beginning, the international community, and the United Nations system in particular, provided support, especially technical support, for this process crucial to your country’s future.  Rest assured that the United Nations will continue to support your efforts to restore constitutional legality through credible, democratic and transparent elections.

Allow me, in closing, to congratulate the organizers of the Dialogue of National Reconciliation and to thank the heads of State present or represented here, along with all who supported these talks.  I should like to pay tribute, in particular, to the Gabonese President, His Excellency El Hadj Omar Bongo, under whose auspices this meeting took place.

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