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28 July 2009 - Security Council: MINURCAT - Statement by Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(translation of statement made in French)

At the outset, I should like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Victor Da Silva Angelo, for his very detailed and comprehensive briefing. The situation in Chad and the Central African Republic continues to pose many challenges for the Security Council and for the United Nations as a whole. I should like to comment briefly on some of them.

First, it is important to complete the deployment of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) and to ensure the proper functioning of the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS). Thus far, the transition from the European Union-led military force to MINURCAT has been proceeding fairly smoothly, thanks in particular to the progressive nature of the withdrawal of the European contingents, the efforts of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the efforts on the ground to ensure good coordination among all the parties. However, as Mr. Angelo said, it is essential that MINURCAT’s deployment accelerate and be completed. To that end, we call on all States to confirm their commitments or undertake new ones.

For its part, France has announced that it will maintain a logistics battalion in addition to its support detachment for the Togolese battalion in Birao and the more general support provided through Operation Epervier. It is also essential that the United Nations respect the commitments undertaken with Chad concerning the time frame for rebuilding airport infrastructure, as well as the commitments undertaken with the European Union.

With regard to the Détachement intégré de sécurité, we are pleased that its full deployment has been possible, that it is providing security in 12 refugee camps and in certain towns in eastern Chad and that it has been providing escorts for many humanitarian convoys — according to the report of the Secretary-General before us (S/2009/359), 2,600 between October 2008 and May 2009. However, we are concerned by certain disciplinary problems regarding the conduct of several DIS personnel, about which we should be vigilant.

In order to ensure the best possible functioning of the DIS, it is also important that there be the best possible coordination and cooperation between it and MINURCAT and, in particular, that MINURCAT provide the necessary logistical support to the DIS. Good synergy between those two components is essential not only so that the DIS can carry out its mission, but also for the credibility of the United Nations as a whole, in particular in the eyes of the Chadian authorities.

The second challenge on which I would like to briefly comment is the protection of populations and humanitarian workers in a security context that remains very uncertain. As indicated in the report of the Secretary-General, the security environment in Chad and the Central African Republic remains tense.

First, the tension characterizing the relations between Chad and the Sudan is very worrisome. We call on both countries to honour their commitments and to refrain from any provocation and any action that could lead to an escalation. In particular, all violations of territorial space and all support for rebel groups must cease.

Moreover, greater efforts must be made to combat banditry in Chad and the Central African Republic. Attacks against humanitarian personnel remain very numerous. The figures in the Secretary-General’s report on this are very worrying. I reiterate that 150 attacks have been reported in five months, and I would also recall that members of the DIS are also being attacked, as shown by the deaths of three of them, in April, May and June respectively.

In the Central African Republic, the increase in ethnic tension has also led to increased insecurity. We welcome the way in which MINURCAT is carrying out its mandate, and in particular its assistance to humanitarian workers during the 6 June and 21 June attacks. We encourage MINURCAT, in collaboration with the Chadian authorities, to continue its activities to end human rights violations and, in particular, to end the recruitment of child soldiers by armed groups, as well as sexual violence.

Finally, the third challenge: There is a need to continue to encourage the various parties to participate in the political process in good faith. First and foremost, it is essential that Chad and the Sudan rejoin the Dakar process and resolve their problems as neighbours.

With respect to the internal political process in Chad, we welcome the progress made in implementing the 13 August 2007 agreement, in particular thanks to the finalization of the electoral code, the establishment of a National Independent Electoral Commission and the adoption of a law on the status of the opposition and on political parties. The launch of the census is an essential step in preparing for elections. It is a noteworthy development, and we hope that this positive momentum will continue.

In the Central African Republic also, it is essential that the peace process continue. In particular, I should like to mention the importance of continuing the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.

In conclusion, I should like once again to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and to pay tribute to his work and that of his team and to welcome the strategic work plan set out in the Secretary-General’s report, which we regard as particularly suited to the objectives and the situation.

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