I would like to thank Mr. Abou Moussa, Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), for his briefing on the initial work of the Office and his report on the Lord’s Resistance Army-affected areas (S/2011/693). I welcome Mr. Sylvain-Goma, Secretary- General of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and thank him for his briefing. I also welcome Ambassador António, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations.
I will discuss two points.
The first is related to the work of UNOCA. The expectations for this new political mission are very high. It is essential that it focus its efforts on a realistic number of priorities.
In that respect, the efforts undertaken to forge quality partnerships with organizations in the region, in particular ECCAS, are most welcome and should be pursued.
Choosing from among the range of regional situations requiring cross-cutting responses, such as maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea or the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), is also desirable, given the limited resources of the Office. We call on UNOCA to increase its collaborative efforts with United Nations missions, primarily the United Nations Organization
Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), as well as with the family of United Nations agencies working on such issues.
In regard to resources, we are grateful to the Gabonese authorities for having provided adequate logistical means to set up the Office, and we encourage continued efforts to identify sources of flexible voluntary funding.
Regarding the Lord’s Resistance Army, we roundly condemn the violence and massacres that it has perpetrated over the past 20 years, beginning in Uganda and extending to several Central African countries today. The humanitarian impact, with 440,000 displaced in the most recent period, is enormous and demands a strong and effective response.
We urgently call on LRA combatants to leave that criminal group and to reintegrate into civilian life. We applaud the efforts of MONUSCO in that regard and encourage it to pursue its efforts.
Beyond the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we would like to think about the best way to expand that programme to include all of the countries affected by the LRA, within the limited available resources of UNMISS and the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic.
We recall that the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for the leaders of the LRA and that those warrants must be executed. We encourage the African Union to pursue and accelerate its efforts to respond to that threat. In that regard, we welcome the recent decisions taken by the African Union on the mechanisms to be established to tackle the LRA issue.
We recall the primary responsibility of States in the region to protect their civilians from the LRA, and encourage them to bolster their coordination efforts to that end. Information sharing among the various actors is crucial in effectively fighting the LRA.
In conclusion, we support the draft presidential statement and would like discuss the situation in the region on a regular basis.