October 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 September 2006
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AFRICA

Central African Republic

Expected Council Action
No formal Council action on the Central African Republic (CAR) in October is expected at press time. Given the potential for further regional instability, however, Council members may see a need for a statement. The Secretary-General’s report is expected in October, but discussions may carry on into November depending on when it is issued. It is unclear whether the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the CAR, Lamine Cissé, will brief the Council. Discussions may also include the possibility of a larger UN presence in the CAR pursuant to resolution 1706 (there is a possibility that the Secretariat will conduct an assessment mission in the coming weeks).

Key Recent Developments
Reports of rebel activity in the north have continued in the past months. Observers are concerned that the crisis in Darfur could spread into the CAR, largely as a result of an increase in the regional flow of arms and the cooperation among CAR rebel groups, Chadian anti-government forces and pro-Khartoum Sudanese militias known as the Janjaweed. Those foreign militias regularly operate from northern CAR into Chad and Darfur.

A largely ineffective CAR army is responsible for fighting the rebels. The CAR army is assisted by the Multinational Force in Central Africa (Force multinationale en Centrafrique, or FOMUC) composed of forces from Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) member countries.

On 31 August the Council expanded the mandate of the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) to Darfur, mandating UNMIS to monitor cross-border rebel activity and to establish a multidimensional presence in key locations in Chad and, if possible, in the CAR.

Options
An option before Council members is to look into the establishment of a stronger UN presence in the CAR, perhaps mandating UNMIS in unequivocal terms to establish a presence and to cooperate with FOMUC.

Another option is to authorise military contingents to assist FOMUC and the CAR army, but this seems unlikely given the recent commitments in Lebanon and Darfur.

Key Issues
At this point, the key issue for the Council is the regional dimension and the containment of the crisis in Darfur. Members are aware of the linkages between the further deterioration of the domestic situation in the CAR and cooperation among rebels.

Council Dynamics
The Council had relatively little interest in the CAR in previous months. But concerns with the regional dimension have led to an increase in interest from some members, to the point that in July there was a request for an early Secretary-General’s report. At this stage, however, Council members do not seem prepared to consider a larger UN presence in the CAR. Commitments to Lebanon, Timor-Leste and Darfur have placed large strains on UN capacity in the coming months.

UN Documents

 Selected Security Council Resolution
  • S/RES/1706 (31 August 2006) expanded UNMIS’ mandate into Darfur, indicated the possibility of a UNMIS office in the CAR and mandated UNMIS to monitor cross-border rebel activity.
 Selected Presidential Statement
  • S/PRST/2005/35 (22 July 2005) expressed concern about the deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation.
 Selected Secretary-General’s Reports
  • S/2006/591 + Add (28 July 2006) made recommendations for UNMIS’ mandate in Darfur, indicating the possibility of opening a UNMIS office in the CAR.
  • S/2006/441 (27 June 2006) was the latest report on the UN Peacebuilding Office in CAR (BONUCA).
 Other
  • SC/8771 (7 July 2006) was a press statement requesting a Secretary-General’s report by October.

Historical Background

 30 August 2006  Former President Ange-Félix Patassé was condemned in absentia to 20 years imprisonment.
 7 August 2006  CEMAC heads of state attended a summit in Chad to discuss regional security issues.
 July 2006  France reportedly announced that it would provide military aid to help defuse the crisis in northern CAR.

For the full historical background, please refer to our 5 July 2006 Update Report.

Other Relevant Facts

 Special Representative of the Secretary-General
 Lamine Cissé (Senegal)
 BONUCA: Size and Composition
  • Strength as of 30 June 2006:  19 international civilians, five military advisers, six civilian police, 44 local civilians and three UN volunteers
 BONUCA: Duration
 15 February 2000 to present; mandate expires 31 December 2006
 FOMUC: Size and Composition
  • Current strength: 380 troops
  • Contributors: Gabon, Republic of Congo and Chad
 FOMUC: Duration
 October 2002 to present; mandate expires 30 June 2007

Full forecast