[Dateline: Abeche | Author: DPKO/MINURCAT]
The ceremony for the transfer of authority between the European Union Force (EUFOR) and the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) took place on 15 March 2009, in Abeche, in the presence of several high-ranking civilian and military officials representing the Chadian Government, the European Union (EU), France, and the UN.
An important number of members of the diplomatic corps and local dignitaries also attended the ceremony.
The Chadian side was represented by several government members as well as by the Special Representative of the President of the Republic for EUFOR and MINURCAT. The EU was represented by both Mr. Torben Brylle, EU Representative for Sudan and Chad/Central African Republic (CAR), and by the EU Operation Commander, General Patrick Nash.
Mr. Bernard Kouchner also attended the ceremony in his capacity as French Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The UN delegation was led by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Alain Le Roy.
During the ceremony, EUFOR Force Commander, General Jean-Philippe Ganascia handed over command to MINURCAT Force Commander Major General Elhadji Mouhamedou Kandji.
MINURCAT's military force will include up to 5,200 troops. Countries whose troops rehatted during the ceremony are Albania, Austria, Croatia, Finland, France, Ireland, Poland, and Russia.
Meanwhile, 70 fresh troops from Togo and 70 others from Ghana arrived in Abeche on 14 March. Other countries, including Malawi, Namibia, Nepal, Norway, and Uruguay have committed themselves to send troops to Chad.
At the end of the ceremony, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs continued his trip to Goz Beida, while Mr. Le Roy returned to N’Djamena.