Central Africa foreign ministers seek ways to bring peace, stability in region

Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo has rallied regional counterparts to do everything possible, together, and ensure sustainable peace to the wider region for the benefit of their countries’ populations.
Mushikiwabo speaks at the meeting yesterday.
Mushikiwabo speaks at the meeting yesterday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo has rallied regional counterparts to do everything possible, together, and ensure sustainable peace to the wider region for the benefit of their countries’ populations.

She was speaking at the 45th ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC) on Friday in Kigali.

Mushikiwabo, who is now leading the ministerial bureau of the committee, thanked her predecessor Lejeune Mbella Mbella, Cameroon’s Foreign Affairs Minister, for a job well done during his mandate.

Mushikiwabo said: “During this meeting we shall have an opportunity to reaffirm cooperation among our various institutions. Security bodies will review reports prepared by our experts. Our sub-region is ready to move ahead together.”

She pointed out that the menace of terrorism has become a permanent threat to the region’s peace and security and hampers the development agenda.

The region cannot tolerate a situation of insecurity, the minister said, adding that countries need to be firm and get involved in efforts to restore peace and security for the benefit of their people.

The UNSAC meets twice a year at the experts and ministerial level to review the geopolitical situation in Central Africa and reports pertaining to disarmament, terrorism and armed conflicts, piracy and maritime security.

Since the experts’ session begun on Tuesday, the review of the geo-political situation in Central Africa, as well as of disarmament and arms limitation programmes in the sub-region were elements on the agenda.

Before he handed over to Mushikiwabo, Mbella told the meeting that the fight against insecurity in central Africa requires efficiency and wider consultation.

1512773645Participants-during-the-meeting
Participants during the meeting. Photos by Nadege Imbabazi.

The main challenges, Mbella said, include fighting terrorism such as militant Islamist group Boko Haram, insecurity in the Central African Republic (CAR), proliferation of weapons, and maritime piracy or the plundering, or hijacking of ships in international waters.

Mbella said: “It is our duty to create better living conditions for our youth which faces problems.”

The UN Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), Parfait Onanga Anyang, said he hopes to see decisions taken along with concrete action contributing to a central Africa that is strong and developing to serve the interests of its people.

Earlier this week, Cameroon’s Anne Chantal Nama, the outgoing chairperson of 45th meeting of experts of the advisory committee, also handed over to Rwanda’s Diyana Gitera, the Director General of Multilateral Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The 45th ministerial meeting of UNSAC meeting was attended by Foreign affairs ministers and experts from 11 member countries.

In addition to members of the committee, observers representing regional and international organisations also attended the meeting.

The Advisory Committee’s mandate is to encourage arms limitation, disarmament, non-proliferation and development in the sub-region.

Member states include Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, and Sao Tome and Principe.

Last week, Rwanda launched an eight-day disposal and destruction operation for more than 130 tonnes of unexploded ordinance and waste ammunition in the Eastern Province, as part of its continued efforts to control the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

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