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Security Council applauds Central African peace accord with rebel groups

27 June 2008 – The Security Council today welcomed the recent peace agreement reached by authorities in the Central African Republic (CAR) and two rebel groups operating in the impoverished and strife-torn country.

In a statement to the press, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad of the United States, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month, said last Saturday's accord must now be fully implemented as part of efforts to bring peace to the CAR.

The Government struck an agreement with the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) and the Popular Army for the Restoration of Democracy (APRD) after talks in Libreville, Gabon, facilitated by that country's President El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba.

Today's press statement thanked both Mr. Bongo and Libyan President Col. Muammar Al-Qadhafi for their efforts to bring peace to the CAR, which has been beset by widespread fighting and armed banditry in recent years.

Some 200,000 Central Africans have been either internally displaced by the fighting or forced to live as refugees in neighbouring Chad and Cameroon.

Last year the Security Council established a multidimensional UN presence in eastern Chad and north-eastern CAR (known as MINURCAT) to try to quell the humanitarian suffering.

Mr. Khalilzad warned that the political, economic and humanitarian situation inside the CAR remains fragile, despite the peace agreement, and he welcomed the placing of the CAR on the agenda of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, which strives to help post-conflict countries avoid sliding back into war or chaos.

He also called on other rebel groups in the CAR to reach peace deals with the Government.

The press statement followed a briefing to the 15-member Council by François Lonsény Fall, the Secretary-General's Special Representative.

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