The Security Council today reaffirmed the importance of the use of preventive diplomacy and early warning mechanisms to assist in the peaceful settlement of disputes, and acknowledged the role of the United Nations regional office in assisting countries in Central Asia to respond to threats and challenges. The UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) was established in 2007 in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. It assists and supports the Governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in finding solutions for emerging problems and eliminating potential threats.“The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their support for the efforts of UNRCCA to facilitate dialogue among the Governments of the Central Asian States on regional issues of common concern,” Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo of the United States, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for July, said in a statement read out to the press.The statement followed a closed-door briefing by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNRCCA, Miroslav Jenča, on the work of the Centre over the past six months. “The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the importance of the use of preventive diplomacy and early warning mechanisms by the United Nations to assist in the peaceful settlement of disputes and in this context acknowledged the role of UNRCCA in assisting Central Asian countries, in accordance with its mandate and through regional cooperation, to respond to domestic and trans-national threats to peace and in supporting the sustainable development of the region,” the statement said.Council members also stressed the need for further cooperation and coordination between the Central Asian States, UNRCCA, and regional organizations to strengthen the region’s capacity to overcome challenges to peace, stability and sustainable development in Central Asia through the mechanisms of preventive diplomacy and dialogue.In this regard, they welcomed initiatives by UNRCCA to assist the countries in finding a comprehensive solution to the management of trans-boundary water resources, and took note of ongoing discussions, facilitated by the Centre, on a regional legal framework for this purpose. UNRCCA’s efforts to support cooperation among the Central Asian States in the area of counter-terrorism and in combating drug trafficking were also recognized.
In a statement, the Secretary-General also encouraged all Congolese citizens to seize “this historic opportunity” to participate in the consolidation of the country’s democratic institutions.Mr. Guterres also reminded those with a stake in the outcome of their “critical role” in preventing electoral violence, by refraining from any form of provocation and showing maximum restraint in what they say and do.He also urged everyone to protect and ensure safe access to health facilities in Ebola affected areas, amid serious concerns, expressed by the UN health agency, that recent violence in the country’s east could reverse important gains made against the disease and increase transmission.In a separate statement, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the UN World Health Organization, said that the agency was doing “doing everything possible” to assist those affected by the deadly Ebola virus disease in eastern DRC despite deteriorating security situation in the region.Protests have erupted in three key towns – Beni, Butembo and Yumbi – following the Government’s decision to postpone elections there, amid fears of Ebola transmission, and an uptick in violence by armed groups.In Beni, protests at Government buildings spilled into an Ebola transit centre, causing panic among both those seeking services as well as health workers.Mr. Tedros said that it would be a “tragedy” for the local population, if the disease were to come back, as they have “already suffered too much.”“Working side by side” with DRC health authorities and partners, the priority is to end the Ebola outbreak, he added, noting “we cannot afford to take a step back at this critical point in the response.”I ‘understand’ health concerns – UN mission headMeanwhile, the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, Leila Zerrougui, voiced regret over the postponement of elections in Beni, Butembo and Yumbi, on account of the Ebola outbreak.“I was informed that there was a [health] concern with the hundreds of people passing by and touching a screen…I understand this concern,” Ms. Zerrougui told the UN mission’s radio station, Radio Okapi.“Personally, I regret that the people of Beni [and] Butembo, who have suffered much for years…cannot vote,” she added.To mitigate the threat of Ebola transmission during the elections, the UN mission – known by its French acronym, MONUSCO – is working to place hand-washing and cleaning facilities at the entrance to polling stations, to help allay fears.