Source: United Nations 4
Note: A complete summary of today’s Security Council meeting will be made available after its conclusion.
FRANÇOIS LOUNCÉNY FALL, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Africa and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), presenting the Secretary-General’s report (document S/2018/521), stressed that the situation in Central Africa continued to be difficult due to a number of serious political and security threats, including in countries affected by long-standing conflicts, such as the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. All 11 member States of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) were in the middle or beginning of electoral cycles, while populations across the region continued to call for better socioeconomic conditions. On 10 May, the new Government of Chad was sworn in, he noted, while in Gabon, the newly established electoral body began preparations for upcoming legislative elections. On 7 June, the President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, adopted a new Constitution and validated the results of the referendum of 17 May, although many had expressed concern that the reform could undermine the progress made under the Arusha Accords.
The escalation of violence and tensions in the north and south-west of Cameroon continued to be of major concern, he said, adding that some 20,000 Cameroonian refugees had crossed the border into Nigeria. The Congo continued with a series of trials of political leaders arrested after the presidential elections in 2016, while in São Tomé and Principe, tensions continued to escalate following a decision to revoke the appointment of several Supreme Court judges. The conflict in the Central African Republic continued to have a negative impact on the subregion, particularly in neighbouring countries, which were hosting many refugees. On 11 June, the President of Equatorial Guinea called on all legally registered and unregistered parities, as well as civil society and the diaspora to participate in a national political dialogue.
“The scourge of terrorism and violent extremism continues to affect populations of the subregion and divert Government resources from much-needed development programmes to costly security operations,” he warned. Boko Haram and the Lord’s Resistance Army had not stopped their deadly attacks on civilians, committing egregious human rights abuses, resulting in countless victims. UNOCA was engaging subregional organizations to fight Boko Haram and address violent extremism, including in the implementation of the Regional Strategy against Boko Haram. “Violent extremism, as well as persisting cross-border security and criminal activities, are compounded by the flow of small arms and light weapons throughout the subregion,” he emphasized.
He said that, to respond to those challenges, the first Conference of States Parties to the Central African Convention for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition and all Parts and Components, was taking place in Cameroon, with the participation of UNOCA. He was convinced that the participation of women and youth would be crucial in ensuring a successful joint summit of the ECCAS and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which was expected to take place in July. Consistent with its mandate, UNOCA continued to actively support Member States in Central Africa, as well as subregional organizations.
AHMAD ALLAM-MI, Secretary-General of the Economic Community of Central African States, speaking via video-teleconference from Manhasset, New York, introduced the work of that 11-nation organization, which was established in 1983 to promote and strengthen cooperation and balanced and sustained development. Peace and security became part of its work in 1999 through the creation of the Council for Peace and Security in Central Africa. He noted its efforts in the areas of maritime security and the fight against terrorism, with a framework for cooperation with the ECOWAS on the latter issue being prepared ahead of a joint summit of the two organizations in late July. At the same time, ECCAS was undergoing major reforms, with draft texts due to be adopted by Heads of State and Government in late 2018 or early 2019.
Turning to the political, security and humanitarian situation, he said Central Africa remained a region of open and latent crises and conflicts. It was particularly affected by political crises in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the political, security and humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic; and the activities of terrorist groups in the Lake Chad Basin. Welcoming the Secretary-General’s report, he said excellent cooperation between UNOCA and ECCAS had enabled joint activities on the ground. He went on to note several recent developments, including the announcement by the President of Burundi that he would not seek re-election in 2020; the acquittal of the former Vice‑President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, by the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court; and in the Central African Republic, the resurgence of violence in Bangui and the interior of the country. Condemning all acts of violence, including those perpetrated against the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), he said the political, security and humanitarian situation would be discussed by leaders of ECCAS on the margins of the African Union summit on 1 and 2 July in Nouakchott.
JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom) expressed concern about the security and political situation in Central Africa, including the threats from terrorist groups, such as Boko Haram and the Lord’s Resistance Army. He stressed that military and non-military action were required to address those threats, including a better understanding of their root causes and the humanitarian needs of the affected populations. His delegation was concerned by the situation in Cameroon and the number of resulting military and civilian causalities. He recognized UNOCA’s efforts, including its support for the African Peace Initiative in the Central African Republic, and its support for States in the subregion to hold timely, inclusive and transparent elections. He expressed concern about the threat of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and called for further reporting on the issue in the future. UNOCA had demonstrated its ability to support regional Governments and organizations and should continue focusing on building the capacities of regional entities.
JOB OBIANG ESONO MBENGONO (Equatorial Guinea) noted that the international community was facing a new outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with more than 20 deaths thus far, which raised new concerns that called for new coordinated actions. The political and security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic were challenges which should be resolved through direct internal dialogue with the support of the international community and regional and subregional organizations. The African Union continued calling for support from the international community in the battle against the Lord’s Resistance Army. Expressing concern about Boko Haram, he said that the terrorist activities of that group were not only a threat to the countries of the Lake Chad Basin, but to the whole of West Africa. He drew attention to the failed coup d’état in his country in December 2017, and said that situations of even greater gravity could arise, further destabilizing an already volatile region.
For information media. Not an official record.