August 28th, 2007 03:56 EST
Security Council ready to set up UN presence in Chad, Central African Republic
The Security Council said today it is ready to establish a United Nations-mandated, multidimensional presence in eastern Chad and north-eastern Central African Republic (CAR) to help protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid to thousands of people uprooted due to insecurity in the two countries and neighbouring Sudan.
“The Security Council reiterates its concern about the prevailing insecurity along the borders between the Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic and about the threat which this poses to the civilian population and the conduct of humanitarian operations,” according to a statement read out by Ambassador Pascal Gayama of the Republic of Congo, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month.
The 15-member body expressed its readiness to authorize the force for a period of 12 months, taking into account a revised plan submitted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the position of the Governments of Chad and the CAR, which have both been beset by widespread population displacement because of clashes between rebels and Government forces.
Mr. Ban has proposed that the European Union (EU) field a military force and the UN focus on training police and civilian areas such as human rights and the rule of law.
The Council welcomed the readiness of the EU to consider the establishment of an operation in support of the UN presence, and requested the Secretary-General to keep it informed of preparations, including further details on its structure, modalities and force levels.
According to the Secretary-General’s latest report on the situation in Chad and the CAR, the humanitarian situation “has shown no signs of improving” since February, with more than 400,000 refugees and IDPs as a result of the fighting and an estimated 700,000 others in host communities also affected.
The Council has already authorized deployment of a 26,000-strong joint UN-African Union force (to be known as UNAMID) to suppress ongoing violence in Sudan’s volatile Darfur region, which has had a spillover effect on the region.