SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTION EXTENDING MANDATE OF UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC AND CHAD UNTIL 15 MARCH 2009
5980th & 5981st Meetings (PM)
SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTION EXTENDING MANDATE OF UNITED NATIONS MISSION
IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC AND CHAD UNTIL 15 MARCH 2009
The Security Council this afternoon expanded until 15 March 2009 the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), which was to expire tomorrow.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1834 (2008), the Council also expressed its intention to authorize a United Nations military component to follow up the European Union Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (EUFOR) when its mandate expires on 15 March 2009. It requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on the follow-on operation by 15 November, concerning its size, structure and mandate. A decision on the matter would be taken by 15 December.
MINURCAT was established under Council resolution 1778 of 25 September 2007 as a multidimensional presence in Chad and the Central African Republic intended to help create security conditions conducive to a voluntary, secure and sustainable return of refugees and displaced persons. By the same resolution, the Council, acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, authorized a European Union deployment of an operation to support MINURCAT’s activities for one year. (See Press Release SC/9127.)
Prior to the Council’s adoption of the resolution, the representative of the United Kingdom questioned the need for a force twice the size of EUFOR, adding that he had reservations about the case for a military presence in the Central African Republic. Persuasive evidence that such a presence would bring real value was yet to be seen. In his recent statement, the Secretary-General had highlighted the pressures on United Nations peacekeeping.
The Organization could not mandate peacekeeping operations without sufficient money, troops or other personnel, he stressed, adding that a disciplined approach to peacekeeping was needed. Missions could not be considered in isolation, and it was necessary to be realistic about resources. It was important to hear an assessment of the situation and consider how to achieve a more realistic approach to peacekeeping.
In an earlier meeting, Council members heard a briefing by Javier Solana, High Representative of the European Union, who said that, over the past six months, EUFOR had facilitated humanitarian access and supported the ongoing deployment of MINURCAT. According to humanitarian workers, refugees and internally displaced persons, the operation had contributed to the stabilization of eastern Chad and northern Central African Republic. EUFOR’s presence had also helped to calm tensions in the wider region. In order to prevent a security vacuum after the end of EUFOR’s mandate on 15 March 2009, appropriate relief for the operation by the United Nations was vital, as was a Council decision in that regard.
Also speaking today were the Foreign Ministers of France, Belgium and Burkina Faso.
Other speakers were the representatives of the United States and Italy.
The first meeting began at 2:40 p.m. and ended at 3:10 p.m. It was followed directly by the second meeting, which ended at 3:15 p.m.
Meeting this afternoon to consider the situation in Chad, the Central African Republic and the wider subregion, the Security Council continued its consideration of the Secretary-General’s proposal (document S/2008/601 and Add.1) to establish a United Nations force to take over from the European Union-led military force in Chad and the Central African Republic (EUFOR), within an expanded mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). The report was initially presented to the Council last week by Victor Da Silva Angelo, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINURCAT. (See Press Release SC/9449 of 19 September.)
Briefing by High Representative of European Union
JAVIER SOLANA, High Representative of the European Union, said EUFOR had been deployed for six months and now had more than 3,300 military personnel on the ground. During that period, the Mission had deployed a powerful and mobile force in a difficult, inaccessible and vast area far from Europe. It had facilitated humanitarian access and supported the ongoing deployment of MINURCAT. Cooperation between the two operations had been exemplary, and everything had been accomplished with the full cooperation of the authorities in both Chad and the Central African Republic, and with full transparency towards all countries in the region.
He said that, according to humanitarian workers, refugees and internally displaced persons, EUFOR had contributed to the stabilization of eastern Chad and northern Central African Republic, and it was encouraging that there was a trend towards returns. EUFOR’s presence had also helped to calm the tensions in the region. What happened in Chad and the Central African Republic was linked to events in Darfur and vice versa. Ongoing political efforts between Chad and the Sudan were on track and must be consolidated.
The situation was calm, but remained fragile, he said, expressing concern over a possible security vacuum after the end of the EUFOR mandate on 15 March 2009. There was a vital need for the United Nations to provide appropriate relief for EUFOR, which must cover both the Central African Republic and Chad. There was also a need for a prompt decision by the Council in that regard. EUFOR would assist the United Nations in all areas in order to ensure a smooth transition.
The European Union would continue to be an active player on the issue of Darfur in order to allow refugees to return, he said. It would also contribute to the financing of the Detachement Integre de Security (DIS) in Chad, which would continue to be trained by MINURCAT. In addition, the European Union would contribute to the social and economic reconstruction of eastern Chad, which, combined with improved security, would facilitate the return of displaced persons.
BERNARD KOUCHNER, Foreign Minister of France, which currently holds the Presidency of the European Union, stressed the importance of African participation in resolving the situation, saying that EUFOR was the largest autonomous military operation deployed by Europe to date. However, it was not the first time that Europeans had committed themselves to standing side by side with the United Nations. The outcome had always been positive.
By taking the initiative last year, the European Union had wished to provide a response to the regional dimension of the Darfur crisis, he said. In providing help and security to thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons in need of humanitarian assistance, EUFOR was working smoothly, but not as smoothly as initially expected, due to the expectation that a hybrid African Union-United Nations force would be deployed in Darfur. However, thanks to help from numerous countries, EUFOR had been able to fulfil its role effectively.
Despite the triumphs of EUFOR, security problems remained, he said. Actions in the context of MINURCAT and the Integrated Security Detachment were indispensable to improve the security situation for the civilian population. Currently, people were unable to leave the camps without being attacked and getting water was a dangerous task. The accelerated deployment of MINURCAT and the Integrated Security Detachment was crucial. The adoption of the resolution later today was an important and necessary decision, which France supported in full. The international community must remain engaged, particularly by supporting the voluntary return of displaced persons. The first timid gesture had been made in that regard, with some internally displaced persons returning home. Sufficient security had been provided to non-governmental organizations involved in rebuilding villages due to financing provided by the European Union.
Under resolution 1778 (2007), Europeans were in favour of replacing EUFOR in March 2009, and the report before the Council closely examined the options in that regard. It was important to prevent a security vacuum in the area and a transfer must be closely managed. Any options that would postpone the transition would endanger the transition, and France welcomed the agreement concerning the intention to deploy a United Nations relief force, whose mandate would be decided on 15 December. Planning for that entity must start immediately so as to meet the challenges on the ground. That action was also important in view of the international community’s responsibility to protect, in view of the threat to civilian populations. France was committed to providing support, at the request of the States involved, who bore the primary responsibility in the current situation.
KAREL DE GUCHT, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium, said his country’s commitment to EUFOR had demonstrated its concern for the security and humanitarian situation. Belgium had contributed some 100 military personnel. While the presence of EUFOR was beginning to bear fruit, the security situation had not yet changed fundamentally and a multidimensional presence would therefore be necessary beyond 15 March 2009. Belgium was pleased that the Chadian authorities had agreed to the deployment of a United Nations force, planning for which should begin as soon as possible in order to ensure a smooth transition.
EUFOR now had some 200 personnel in the Central African Republic, he said. The future components of MINURCAT would not have to be much bigger, but they were necessary because the Central African Republic armed forces were as yet unable to secure the area. It would be essential to support the security sector in order to deploy activities by the Peacebuilding Commission. No military force could ensure security if the political environment did not change. The international community must therefore deal with the root causes of the insecurity and support efforts for the normalization of relations between Chad and the Sudan, a resolution of the Darfur crisis and facilitation of a dialogue between the armed groups in Chad and the Chadian authorities.
ROSEMARY DICARLO ( United States), expressing her delegation’s great appreciation for EUFOR’s efforts, said the operation had provided valuable assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons. Due to the unique experience gained by EUFOR, the proposed United Nations replacement force would profit immensely from the continued participation of EUFOR’s veterans.
She said the United States remained concerned about the volatility in the region and deeply troubled that internally displaced persons in Chad and the Central African Republic continued to suffer due to political instability and lawlessness. It was also troubling that Sudanese rebel units continued to recruit from camps for refugees and internally displaced persons. It was important to protect those vulnerable populations.
The United States continued to support the follow-up presence of MINURCAT in the Central African Republic, she said, noting that the United Nations military presence was needed to prevent insecurity. A well-trained and equipped security force must be in place, a sufficient transition period was important, as was interaction between the departing and arriving forces. EUFOR facilities should be transferred to the United Nations force.
She concluded by noting that the armed struggle in Chad continued, and encouraging all parties to implement the Dakar and other existing peace agreements. The United States commended the Contact Group, particularly Libya, for its work in support of Chad and the Sudan. Proper settlement of the Darfur issue and an improvement in relations between the Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic would contribute to peace and stability in the region.
ALDO MANTOVANI ( Italy) said his country had contributed to the Mission by, among other things, donating a hospital. Despite efforts by the international community, the security situation remained volatile and only a limited number of displaced persons had returned to their homes. The good cooperation between the United Nations and the European Union underlined the added value that cooperation between the world body and regional organizations could bring to the maintenance of international peace and security.
Council President BEDOUMA ALAIN YODA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso, spoke in his national capacity, saying that the Council must find ways to capitalize on the progress achieved by EUFOR. While the close partnership between EUFOR and MINURCAT was welcome, adequate continuation of MINURCAT was indispensable in order to ensure that the partnership bore fruit. Burkina Faso looked, therefore, forward to the Secretary-General’s report on the possible options, strength and mandate of a future United Nations mission.
JOHN SAWERS ( United Kingdom), speaking before the vote held during today’s second meeting, said he shared the concerns expressed in the previous meeting concerning the humanitarian situation in the region. The United Kingdom welcomed the renewal of MINURCAT’s mandate and agreed in principle that a follow-on United Nations force should replace EUFOR. For that reason, the United Kingdom would support the resolution.
However, much work remained to be done before the Security Council could take a decision on the mandate of a follow-up mission, he stressed. It required a clear mandate, time frame and measurable benchmarks. In addition, the United Kingdom questioned whether a force twice the size of EUFOR was needed and it had reservations regarding the case for a military presence in the Central African Republic. Persuasive evidence that such a presence would bring real value was yet to be seen.
He recalled that, in his recent statement, the Secretary-General had highlighted the pressures on United Nations peacekeeping. The Organization could not mandate peacekeeping operations without sufficient money, troops or other personnel. A disciplined approach to peacekeeping was needed. Missions could not be considered in isolation, and it was necessary to be realistic about resources. It was important to hear an assessment of the situation and consider how to achieve a more realistic approach to peacekeeping.
The full text of resolution 1834 (2008) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its resolutions and the statements of its President concerning Chad, the Central African Republic and the subregion, including resolution 1778 (2007) and its resolutions 1769 (2007) and 1828 (2008),
“Reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and political independence of Chad and the Central African Republic, and to the cause of peace in the region,
“Reiterating its concern at the humanitarian and security repercussions in eastern Chad and the north-eastern Central African Republic of the ongoing violence in Darfur,
“Deeply concerned at the activities of armed groups and other attacks in eastern Chad, the north-eastern Central African Republic and western Sudan which threaten the security of the civilian population, the conduct of humanitarian operations in those areas and the stability of those countries, and which result in serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,
“Stressing that a proper settlement of the Darfur issue and an improvement of relations between the Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic will contribute to long-term peace and stability in the region,
“Reiterating its full support for the efforts of the Secretary-General and of the African Union, through their joint Chief Mediator Djibril Yipéné Bassolé, to revive the peace process begun by the Darfur Peace Agreement, consolidate the ceasefire and reinforce the peacekeeping presence in Darfur,
“Reaffirming that any attempt at destabilization through violent means or seizing power by force is unacceptable,
“Reaffirming its resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) on women, peace and security, 1502 (2003) on the protection of humanitarian and United Nations personnel, and 1674 (2006) on the protection of civilians in armed conflict,
“Reaffirming its resolution 1612 (2005) on children in armed conflict, taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Chad (S/2008/532) and the recommendations therein, and recalling the conclusions regarding Chad adopted by its Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (S/AC.51/2007/16),
“Recognizing that the Governments of Chad and the Central African Republic bear primary responsibility for ensuring the security of civilians in their territories,
“Bearing in mind the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951 and its additional protocol of 16 December 1966,along with the 1969 Convention of the Organization of African Unity governing the specific aspects of refugee problems in Africa,
“Emphasizing the need to respect international refugee law, preserve the civilian and humanitarian nature of the refugee camps and internally displaced persons sites and prevent any recruitment of individuals, including children, which might be carried out in or around the camps by armed groups,
“Welcoming the deployment by the European Union of its operation in eastern Chad and Central African Republic (EUFOR Chad/CAR), noting that the European Union declared the initial operational capacity of the operation on 15 March 2008, and recalling that, according to resolution 1778, the mandate of EUFOR Chad/CAR therefore runs until 15 March 2009,
“Welcoming the selection and training by MINURCAT of the first group of police and gendarmerie officers of the Détachement Intégré de Sécurité (DIS, previously referred to as Police Tchadienne pour la Protection Humanitaire), and stressing the need to expedite the deployment of DIS,
“Having examined the report of the Secretary-General (S/2008/601) of 12 September 2008 and its recommendations on the arrangements for following up EUFOR Chad/CAR at the end of its mandate,
“Determining that the situation in the region of the border between the Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic constitutes a threat to international peace and security,
“1. Decides to extend until 15 March 2009 the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), as set out in resolution 1778;
“2. Calls on the Secretary-General to complete MINURCAT’s deployment as soon as possible, and the Government of Chad, with the support of MINURCAT according to its mandate, to carry out the full deployment of DIS expeditiously;
“3. Invites donors to continue to contribute to the MINURCAT trust fund, established to support DIS;
“4. Expresses its intention to extend beyond the date referred to in paragraph 1 the multidimensional presence established in Chad and the Central African Republic to help create the security conditions conducive to a voluntary, secure and sustainable return of refugees and displaced persons and, to this end, expresses its intention to authorize the deployment of a United Nations military component to follow up EUFOR Chad/CAR in both Chad and the Central African Republic, taking fully into account the recommendations contained within the Secretary-General’s report referred to in paragraph 8 and in consultation with the Governments of these countries;
“5. Requests the Secretary-General, in close cooperation with the European Union, to continue planning and initiate the force generation and logistical, administrative, financial and other necessary arrangements with a view to a transfer of authority, including in the north-eastern Central African Republic, between EUFOR and the UN military component referred to in paragraph 4 on 15 March 2009, subject to a new decision of the Security Council;
“6. Encourages the Governments of Chad and the Central African Republic to continue to cooperate with the United Nations and the European Union to facilitate the smooth transition from EUFOR to the United Nations military component;
“7. Encourages troop-contributing countries to pledge the necessary force requirements and in particular the helicopters, reconnaissance units, engineers, logistics and medical facilities;
“8. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a new report by 15 November 2008 on the progress towards the full deployment of MINURCAT and DIS and on updating the planning and conducting preparations referred to in paragraph 4 and 5, including options on the size, structure and mandate of the proposed UN military presence in the north-eastern Central African Republic to take over EUFOR’s presence;
“9. Requests him to also continue to report regularly, and at least every three months, on the security and humanitarian situation, including movements of refugees and internally displaced persons, in eastern Chad, the north-eastern Central African Republic and the region, on progress towards the objective of helping to create the security conditions conducive to a voluntary, secure and sustainable return of refugees and displaced persons and on the implementation of the mandate of MINURCAT;
“10. Expresses its intention to adopt the decision referred to in paragraphs 4 and 5 by 15 December 2008;
“11. Encourages the respective Governments of the Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic to ensure that their territories are not used to undermine the sovereignty of others, to cooperate actively with a view to implementing the Dakar Accord of 13 March 2008 and previous agreements, and to cooperate with a view to putting an end to the activities of armed groups in the region and their attempts to seize power by force, looks forward to the implementation of the commitment of the Sudan and Chad to restore diplomatic ties with a view to fully normalizing their relations, and welcomes the role played in particular by the regional Contact Group, the Governments of Libya and the Republic of the Congo as African co-mediators, as well as the African Union and the United Nations, including through the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, head of MINURCAT, in support of the Dakar process;
“12. Demands that armed groups cease violence immediately and urges all parties in Chad and the Central African Republic, respectively, to respect and implement the Sirte agreement of 25 October 2007 and the comprehensive peace agreement signed in Libreville on 21 June 2008;
“13. Encourages the authorities and political stakeholders in Chad and the Central African Republic to continue to pursue their efforts of national dialogue, with respect for the constitutional frameworks, notes the positive efforts by the Government of Gabon to support a national dialogue in the Central African Republic, emphasizes also the importance of the political agreement for the reinforcement of the democratic process signed in Ndjamena on 13 August 2007 and encourages the parties to proceed with its implementation;
“14. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
* *** *