NEW YORK, 6 AUGUST 1997
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TADEU SOARES, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3808th MEETING (the situation in the Central African Republic)
Like others before us, Portugal would like to commend the African mediation in the resolution of the crisis in the Central African Republic. Moreover, we would like to pay tribute to the decision by the countries of that sub-region to establish an inter-African monitoring mechanism to help restore peace and security in the Central African Republic, and in particular to disarm the former mutineers, the militia and all other unlawfully armed individuals. I would like to stress the importance we attach to support for the democratic process, namely to help prepare the elections to be held in August 1998.
In this context, we fully support and commend the efforts of the International Monitoring Committee, of its Chairman, General Touré, and also of President Bongo of Gabon for their important role in the resolution of the crisis in the Central African Republic.
The on-going efforts of the Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements, even if not completely successful in terms of the process of disarmament, have nevertheless made a significant contribution towards national reconciliation and peace in that country.
As President Ange-Félix Patasse pointed out in his letter to the Security Council of 14 July, the situation in his country continues to be volatile and could affect regional stability and threaten peace in the region. In fact, the proliferation of a large supply of weapons in the hands of former mutineers and of the civilian population is of great concern. Therefore, the continuous support of the international community is not only vital for political stability and peace in that country but also important in the entire subregion. It was in this context that Portugal decided to give its support to the draft resolution before us today, which responds in a positive way to the request of the President of the Central African Republic, and gives its support to the efforts of the countries of the subregion.