7901st Security Council Meeting: Situation in Central African Republic

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SIX OFFICIAL 16-Mar-2017 01:52:12
Significant resources are needed to help the Central African Republic maintain its hard-won stability, the country’s President tells the Security Council, at 7901st meeting.
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The President of the Central African Republic briefed the Security Council today on the latest developments in his country, detailing a national reconciliation plan to expand his authority and move the nation towards rebuilding its security sector, restoring justice and reaching out to armed groups.

President Faustin Archange Touadera said the United Nations continued to provide support to his country during its post-election period and commended the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) for protecting civilians throughout the territory.

After years of crisis, security was essential and significant resources were still needed to help the country develop its security sector, he said, underscoring the importance of having a sufficient number of troops deployed on the ground at any given time. The international community and neighbouring countries had already provided invaluable support, committing funds to recruit 500 police and law enforcement agents, as well as training and assisting them.

He expressed concern, however, that Central African Republic forces had not been provided with the necessary logistical and military equipment. There were 8,000 military troops who had not been trained or equipped to serve on the ground. Given the fighting among armed groups, it was more important than ever to set up national forces that would protect civilians and identify how the Mission could be strengthened.

He also expressed concern over the pace of training led by the European Union mission. “The training takes a long time, and in the short term, that means we do not have enough security,” he said, urging the Security Council to determine a more effective way to train and mobilize troops.

In that context, he emphasized the importance of maintaining an open dialogue with all parties, noting that 14 armed groups would be represented at an upcoming national meeting. He looked forward to discussing the calls for his Government to grant amnesty to perpetrators of atrocities and remained open to an exchange of ideas, but reiterated that the national justice system would do its part to ensure accountability. “People have suffered too much during this crisis and are rightfully calling for justice,” he said.

Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said that together with its partners, the United Nations had supported Central African authorities in developing coordinated plans to promote community dialogue and social cohesion, revive the local economy and improve access to education and health care.

Disarmament would require entering into a broad agreement that responded to the grievances of armed groups and the population alike, he said. A secure environment and an eminently political endeavour that addressed armed group demands, the priorities of the population and regional support were also needed. While acknowledging the President’s determination to engage in a dialogue with armed groups, he underscored the importance of listening to the Central African people, particularly the victims of the conflict, as the dialogue advanced.

He also urged donors to honour the $2.2 billion in pledges without delay, stressing that recovery initiatives must go hand in hand with efforts to address the dire humanitarian situation.

Omar Hilale (Morocco), Chair of the Central African Republic configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, said that body would intensify its coordination with the United Nations, the European Union and the World Bank, under the leadership of Central African authorities, to implement the recovery plan. It intended to make the Central African Republic a model of success, particularly for the concept of sustaining peace. Indeed, the main elements for sustaining peace were in place. National authorities were responsible for identifying and translating Government priorities into strategy, thereby leading to national recovery.

In the ensuing discussion, speakers reiterated their support to President Touadera, with Ethiopia’s delegate emphasizing that the President could not have been clearer in communicating the complex challenges in restoring peace. “You are on the right track,” added France’s delegate, while recalling that the process was not yet complete.

Council Members stressed that while the Central African Republic had made significant progress over the past year, efforts could be undermined by the lack of appropriate financial support, technical training and equipment. Senegal’s delegate stressed that internal mobilization was simply not enough; there must also be active regional and subregional support. The Government was being pulled in all directions and the challenges facing it were daunting. He underscored the need to pool regional efforts and support the Government’s policies.

Several speakers, while welcoming the President’s efforts to reform the security, justice and public sectors, expressed concern over the dire humanitarian situation. Kazakhstan’s representative stressed that some 2 million Central Africans still depended on humanitarian assistance, while Uruguay’s delegate supported urgent action to help those suffering from severe food insecurity. He also condemned violence by armed groups that had sacrificed the lives of innocent people.

More broadly, Council members welcomed the President’s initiative to hold a comprehensive dialogue with armed groups. The United States representative said that while she understood the need to hold perpetrators accountable, armed actors must understand that their future hinged on becoming productive and responsible members of society. Armed group members were often unwilling to disarm until they knew they could have a say at the table, she added.

Also speaking today were representatives of Egypt, China, Russian Federation, Japan, Italy, Ukraine, Sweden, Bolivia and the United Kingdom.

The meeting began at 3:03 p.m. and ended at 4:55 p.m.
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