The following statement was issued today by the Office of the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
Today marks the successful completion of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA).
The MINURCA, which was established in April 1998, and its predecessor, the Inter-African Force in the Central African Republic (MISAB), have done much to restore peace and security in the Central African Republic and to create conditions conducive to the successful conduct of national elections, the restructuring of the security forces, the training of the national police and gendarmerie and the launching of major economic and social reforms in the country.
The success of the United Nations mission in the Central African Republic once again demonstrates how much can be achieved by peacekeeping operations in Africa and elsewhere with the cooperation and political will of the parties, their commitment to peace and national reconciliation, a clear mandate, appropriate resources, and the strong and consistent support of the international community. The Secretary-General expresses his deep appreciation to Member States, in particular, those in and outside the region, that provided military and police personnel to this peacekeeping mission, as well as the United Nations offices, programmes and agencies, the Friends of the Central African Republic and all others who worked tirelessly to ensure the successful implementation of MINURCA'S mandate.
Though much has been achieved in the Central African Republic over the past two years, many more challenges remain. The United Nations will continue to assist the people and Government of the Central African Republic through a Peace-Building Support Office (BONUCA), which is taking over from MINURCA. The Secretary-General urges all parties concerned in the Central African Republic to work together in a spirit of cooperation and national unity in order to complete the ongoing reforms, pursuant to the Bangui Agreements and the National Reconciliation Pact. These reforms should continue to aim at consolidating peace, democratic institutions and socio-economic recovery and be based on respect for human rights and the rule of law. The Secretary-General appeals to the international community to continue to provide the Central African Republic with generous assistance in support of these important goals.