8558th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Central African Republic

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20-Jun-2019 02:02:34
Success of Central African Republic peace agreement dependent on parties’ ending violence, engaging in dialogue, Special Representative tells Security Council at 8558th meeting.

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While the 6 February signing of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic gave rise to much hope for an end to the decades-long crisis in that country, the accord’s ultimate success will depend on the parties’ willingness to end the violence and engage in dialogue, the Special Representative told the Security Council today.

Updating on recent events, Mankeur Ndiaye, who is also Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), said armed groups in particular must abide by the security arrangements to which they committed. He welcomed in that context the dismantling of illegal barriers by the Popular Front for the Renaissance as an encouraging sign.

At the same time, he condemned the killing of 39 civilians in Ouham Pende on 21 May by elements of the Return, Reclamation and Rehabilitation (3R) group, stressing that a high-level mission deployed to the area on 31 May demanded cooperation with judicial authorities in making arrests, the dismantling of its base and immediate involvement in the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation and reintegration programme.

He said progress on that front will be crucial in the run-up to presidential elections in 2020, as will advances in establishing the Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission. “The situation really is fragile.”

On that point, African Union Special Representative Matias Bertino Matondo, briefing from Bangui, said political progress in 2018 opened the way for better interaction between the Government and armed groups. Other gains included the appointment of a Prime Minister in February and formation of a new, more inclusive Government. Intermediary security measures are also being put in place, and the African Union is pushing forward disarmament, demobilization, repatriation and reintegration arrangements.

Koen Vervaeke, Managing Director for Africa in the European External Action Service of the European Union, commended the Central African Republic’s President and Prime Minister for “respecting their commitments, even at high political cost”. The European Union is providing support to the Technical Secretariat of the Comité Exécutif de suivi and will soon provide parallel support to the armed groups — to reinforce their ownership of the agreement, and coach them on delivering on their engagements.

In addition, he said the legal basis has been prepared and initial funding secured for the formation of special mixed security units — which will include both national military and former armed group members. Manning lists for the units are still incomplete, both on the part of the Government and armed groups, delaying the process. The buy-in and full association of the Armed Forces of the Central African Republic and the Etat-Major will be crucial but is as yet still missing.

In the ensuing discussion, delegates hailed the February signing of the peace accord, with France’s delegate welcoming additional measures taken by the Government to ensure it is fulfilled. Noting that France is providing €10 million to bolster the Government administration and €28 million for quick-impact recovery programmes, he called on all actors to ensure election preparations take place in a calm atmosphere.

Several delegates focused on the fragile security conditions and condemned violence perpetrated by 3R. The United States delegate welcomed the work of MINUSCA’s first demobilization team in that context, calling its efforts essential as “people will trust the Central African Republic military and mixed brigades when they see they are committed to protecting civilians”. On that point, Equatorial Guinea’s delegate welcomed that armed group signatories have assumed responsibility for implementing the peace agreement, as well as the appointment of members from those groups to key leadership posts. He underlined the importance of recovery, good governance and social cohesion in that context.

Spotlighting trafficking flows and the imposition of illegal taxes as among the serious crimes that may fall under sanctions listing criteria, Côte d’Ivoire’s delegate welcomed the establishment of monitoring mechanisms across the country, while South Africa’s delegate underscored that the Central African Republic has demonstrated the political will towards the progressive easing of sanctions.

The Central African Republic’s representative acknowledged the challenges ahead, as civilian protection remains a major concern. “Unfortunately, with the Poaua massacre, we were brought back to reality,” she said, reiterating the Government’s commitment to the February peace agreement.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Belgium, Peru, Russian Federation, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Poland and Kuwait.

The meeting began at 3:01 p.m. and ended at 5:03 p.m.

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