CAR

UN Ends Peacekeeping Mission In Central African Republic

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NEW YORK, UN (PANA)- About 22 months after it was established to help restore peace, the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic comes to an end Tuesday.
In its place, a UN Peace-Building Office will take off, marking the beginning of a new phase of UN involvement in the efforts to bring peace to the country.

On Friday, the UN Security Council endorsed the decision of the secretary general, Kofi Annan, to establish the office for one year, beginning 15 February.

The office is to support the new government's efforts to consolidate peace and national reconciliation, strengthen democratic institutions and facilitate the mobilisation of international support for national reconstruction and economic recovery.

It will also monitor and promote human rights in the country.

A small number of military and civilian police advisers will be part of the office to help in security-related reforms and in the training of the national police.

The council has asked the government to work closely with the office.

Mutinies by soldiers in 1996 set off a wave of political instability in Bangui, leading to the establishment of an African force to help restore peace.

The mission was established on April 1998 to take over from the African force.

Through its support, the country organised elections in September in which incumbent President Ange-Felix Patasse was re-elected.

But some reform measures agreed to by the parties to the country's conflict, especially the reorganisation of the security forces and revival of the national economy, are still to be implemented.

The office is to help the government in its effort to carry out the reforms.

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