Angola + 5 more

Central African states agree on elaboration of legal instrument to control small arms, code of conduct for security services

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NEW YORK, 23 May (United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs) - The twenty-fifth ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, held 14-18 May in Sao Tomé, Sao Tomé and Principe, concluded with the adoption of the "Sao Tomé and Principe Initiative", proposed by President Fradique Bandeira Melo de Menezes. The Initiative calls for the elaboration of a legal instrument for the control of small arms and light weapons in Central Africa, and of a code of conduct for armed and security forces in the Central African subregion. Further, the meeting unanimously recognized the need for their countries jointly to examine a concerted subregional approach to issues of cross-border security, deciding to take up the item at the next ministerial meeting.

Among other topics of discussion were the security and political situation in certain member countries, the consequences of the crisis in Darfur and the evolution of security in the Great Lakes region. With a view to its own revitalization, the meeting also encouraged a more effective partnership between the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the United Nations.

During the opening ceremony, messages from the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Secretary-General of ECCAS were delivered. The President of Sao Tomé and Principe made an opening statement. The Committee elected the following Bureau: Sao Tomé and Principe, President; Cameroon and Angola, Vice-Presidents; and Gabon, Rapporteur.

The major objective of the Committee is to promote peace and security in the subregion through confidence-building measures, including arms limitation and disarmament. It is composed of the 11 member States of ECCAS. The following member States attended the ministerial meeting: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and Sao Tomé and Principe. The delegation of Chad sent its contribution to the President of the Committee. ECCAS, the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB) attended as observers. The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs served as secretariat of the Committee.

The Committee will hold its twenty-sixth ministerial meeting 3-7 September 2007 in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and its twenty-seventh meeting in Angola, in February 2008.

For more information, please contact Ivor Fung, Secretary of the Committee, United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, tel: +228 253 5000, email: