"Critical phase" reached and UN Mission in CAR "must stay the course"

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Veronique and some of her children who spent 6 months hiding in the bush in Bohong after violence broke out in Central African Republic. Photo: UNICEF/ Logan

The UN Mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) has reached a "critical phase" and must now "stay the course" if lasting peace is to be achieved.

That's the view of the head of MINUSCA and the UN's Special Representative in the country, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, briefing the Security Council on Monday.

Matthew Wells has more.

According to the UN, one in two people are now in need of aid in CAR, which has seen a spike in fighting between rival groups and militias since last November.

In the last two weeks alone, more than 100,000 have been newly displaced by conflict which erupted in 2013, along mainly sectarian lines.

Mr Onanga-Anyanga told Security Council members that MINUSCA was providing protection to around 8,000 internally-displaced in Bangassou, while prefectures around the country were seeing renewed outbreaks of fighting.

He said recent "harsh criticism" of the mission showed frustration over persistent insecurity, "largely self-inflicted," adding that MINUSCA's resolve "remains stronger than ever before".

He said the rocky path to peace will be achieved "if we stay the course."

"We are now deeply inside a critical phase of mandate implementation, and that MINUSCA must stay the course to consolidate progress towards peace, even as we must recognize the magnitude of the adversity we face today. Within the United Nations, the Secretary-General has directed a redoubling of efforts, in order to first and foremost help advance the political process, in combination with enhancing security efforts, increased international engagement in response to the humanitarian crisis, boosted national reconciliation efforts and ensuring the delivery of peace dividends and the promotion of economic recovery."

The Special Representative said the "innovative approaches" would be needed to "ensure stability in the medium term," and said that sub-region together with the African Union, had an important role to play to help bring the country together.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'30"

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