NEW YORK, 27 MARCH 1998
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TADEU SOARES, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3867th MEETING (the situation in the Central African Republic)
At the outset, I would like to say that Portugal concurs fully with the statement made earlier by the European Union presidency.
The establishment of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA) is an example of the cooperation of the United Nations with an African-led initiative to promote regional peace and stability. Portugal strongly believes in such initiatives and supports the recommendations of the Secretary-General for the establishment of a peacekeeping operation in the Central African Republic.
It must be remembered that the current situation of relative security in the Central African Republic is very much due to the tireless efforts of regional leaders. We praise the mediation efforts of President Bongo and the role of the International Monitoring Committee in the resolution of this crisis. In addition, the strong commitment of many African countries and of France to the Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements (MISAB) was essential in promoting stability, often under difficult circumstances.
However, the continued presence of the international community is required to assist in the important tasks that remain ahead. The National Reconciliation Pact adopted by the Reconciliation Conference, which took place in Bangui earlier this month, was an important step in fostering stability in that country. We harbour great hope that the holding of free and fair elections in August/September of this year will help consolidate peace in the Central African Republic. However, the situation remains fragile, and we clearly understand that further reform is required.
In this context, my delegation is pleased to see the establishment of MINURCA, starting next April. We see it as a clear example of the willingness of the international community to cooperate closely with regional efforts in Africa. Indeed, MINURCA is a peacekeeping force with a mandate tailor-made to the requirements of the situation in the Central African Republic. In particular, we would like to stress MINURCAs future role in maintaining and enhancing security and stability. Let me also underline that its mandate will include supporting the national security forces in matters of law and order, assisting in coordination with other international efforts in a short-term police trainers programme and providing advice and technical support to the national electoral bodies.
We also welcome the appointment by the Secretary-General of a Special Representative in the Central African Republic. As head of MINURCA, with overall authority with regard to United Nations activities in that country, the Special Representative can play a crucial role in the stabilization of the present situation. Moreover, we attach importance to action by the Special Representative to encourage the provision of assistance by United Nations agencies and programmes in the areas of development and economic recovery.
Portugal has always been firm in its support for the creation of a peacekeeping operation in the Central African Republic. We see this operation as a meaningful step on the part of the international community to promote peace and stability in the Central African Republic. Therefore, we will vote in favour of the draft resolution before us today.