8378th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Central African Republic

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23-Oct-2018 02:22:40
Much work needed to stabilize Central African Republic situation, top United Nations official tells Security Council at 8378th meeting.

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While the United Nations presence in the Central African Republic has achieved some of its immediate goals – preventing a return to civil war and stopping a coup d’état – much work is needed to stabilize the country’s security situation, combat armed groups and support millions in need of humanitarian assistance, the Organization’s senior official told the Security Council today.

“Clearly our work is not yet over,” said Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), as the Council heard several high-level briefings.

Noting that much has been achieved since the Mission was established in 2014, Mr. Onanga-Anyanga said that security has improved considerably, and State authority has been restored in many areas not previously under Government control. Emphasizing that the country must now move from a phase of containment to one of transformation, he said MINUSCA should focus on helping to implement the African Union-led road map known as the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation.

Bedializoun Moussa Nebie, Special Representative of the African Union in the Central African Republic, said partners have made significant advances towards accelerating the African Initiative since his last briefing to the Council in June. The Government and 14 armed groups have agreed to take part, he noted, adding that the “Group of Five” (G5) Sahel countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – have also demonstrated strong support for the Government and the peace plan. The stakes are high, he said, stressing that success will depend on strong Security Council support for dialogue and for the actors on the ground.

Koen Vervaeke of the European Union delegation said that the situation in the Central African Republic, still characterized by fragility and instability, constitutes a protracted humanitarian crisis. The situation is entering a critical phase, he added, reiterating the European Union’s support for the African Initiative and for the leadership of President Faustin Archange Touadéra. Stressing that all negotiations must be “people-centred and home-grown”, he welcomed the decision by the United Nations and the African Union to appoint a joint envoy to the Central African Republic.

Leon Houadja Kacou Adom (Côte d’Ivoire), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 concerning the Central African Republic, said that a 7 September briefing by the Committee’s Panel of Experts allowed participants to exchange ideas on how to enhance regional cooperation in countering violations of the arms embargo imposed on the Central African Republic, addressing cross-border arms trafficking and ending the exploitation of natural resources by armed groups. Describing his own visit to Central African Republic, he said national authorities called for the lifting of the arms embargo, which, they said, is failing to prevent non-State groups from receiving weapons and ammunition.

Council members took the floor following those briefings, expressing concern over the continued violence and instability, as well as the Government’s difficulties in extending State authority across the vast national territory. Many also voiced support for efforts to implement the African Initiative, the preparations for dialogue with more than a dozen armed groups, and the opening of the Central African Republic’s new Special Criminal Court on 22 October.

The representative of the United States said that, while the official opening of investigations by the Special Criminal Court marks an important step, many challenges remain, including last week’s kidnapping of United Nations police officers. In order for the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation to succeed, all actors must commit to full transparency and cooperation, he added.

France’s delegate, emphasizing that continued violence against civilians, blue helmets and humanitarian workers in the Central African Republic is unacceptable, said that restoring justice, disarming armed groups and ensuring economic recovery must now be the top priorities. The progress achieved on the political front demonstrates that peace is indeed possible, he said, underlining that the African Initiative is the only framework for peace and urging all stakeholders to support it.

Equatorial Guinea’s representative joined other speakers in calling on all armed groups in the Central African Republic to lay down their weapons. Underlining the fragility of the country’s political and humanitarian situation, he called for an integrated, sustainable solution going beyond security issues. Emphasizing the need to address the needs of victims of sexual crimes perpetrated by armed groups, he said other crucial elements of the peace process include national ownership, full regional participation and the primacy of the African Initiative.

The representative of the Central African Republic agreed with other speakers that more must be done to help her country progress down the path of peace and reconciliation. Joint efforts on the part of the various actors are helping to rid the country of threats, she said, expressing hope that the renewal of MINUSCA’s mandate – and changes to render it more robust – will help to achieve a real, lasting solution to the crisis. However, MINUSCA cannot ensure the lasting protection of civilians across the entire country by itself, she warned, stressing that training national troops must, therefore, be a top priority.

Also speaking today were representatives of Côte d’Ivoire, China, Peru, United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Netherlands, Kuwait, Poland, Russian Federation, Sweden and Bolivia.

The meeting began at 10:01 a.m. and ended at 12:25 p.m.
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