Priority in CAR: to move forward for direct dialogue between the Gov. & armed groups [fr]
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United NationsRetour ligne automatique
Security Council – 23 October 2018
I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for convening today’s meeting, which is being held at a particularly important time for the Central African Republic. I would also like to thank our briefers for their very enlightening statements.
The situation in the Central African Republic remains especially fragile because of the violence perpetrated by armed groups against civilians, in particular women and children, humanitarian and medical personnel and the Blue Helmets. Abuses committed against internally displaced persons in Bria in September, during clashes between ex-Séléka and anti-balaka factions, are tragic and unacceptable. In that challenging environment, we reiterate our full support for President Touadera’s efforts to promote national reconciliation and re-establish State authority. We encourage him to continue working for justice, disarmament and the country’s economic recovery.
We also believe that the message to armed groups must be clear. They must lay down their weapons, commit themselves immediately and unconditionally to the peace process and understand that the violence they perpetrate will not go unpunished. In that regard, France welcomes yesterday’s inaugural session of the Special Criminal Court, which marked the official launch of investigations into gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in the country. It is an important step in the crucial fight against impunity.
The current situation, as worrisome as it is, must not overshadow the genuine progress that has been made since last year. It shows that a solution to the crisis is possible.
We therefore welcome the holding of the high-level meeting on the Central African Republic on the margins of the General Assembly, which reaffirmed the international community’s support for the Central African Republic and emphasized that the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic is the only framework for the peace process in the country. That is an essential point. In that context, while the list of the claims of the armed groups was finalized and sent to the Central African authorities at the meeting in August organized in Bouar by the panel of facilitators of the African Initiative, the priority now must be to move forward, without delay, towards a direct dialogue between the Central African Government and the armed groups in order to reach a comprehensive political agreement that leaves no issue aside, particularly that of the fight against impunity. In that regard, I would like to highlight three elements that we consider crucial to the success of the African Initiative.
First, we believe it is essential to avoid parallel initiatives, which lead to confusion, and to ensure that all partners of the Central African Republic are well-coordinated. That is a prerequisite for the success of the African Initiative. It is also crucial that the African Union and all of the States in the region continue their commitment, at the highest level, in order to ensure the success of the next steps in the implementation of the road map adopted in Libreville. In that regard, we welcome the recent decision of the United Nations and the African Union to appoint a joint special envoy to support the African Initiative, and who, of course, will have the full support of France. Finally, we believe it is important that the direct dialogue between the Central African Government and the armed groups involve other segments of Central African society, in particular women, whose participation in the peace process is essential.
I would like to conclude by reaffirming France’s full support for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and Mr. Parfait Onanga- Anyanga, Special Representative of the Secretary- General for the Central African Republic. As a mission that operates in a difficult environment, MINUSCA plays an indispensable role, whether in protecting civilians, supporting the peace process, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance or supporting the recovery of the Central African Republic. As such, MINUSCA requires the full support of everyone. In that regard, I would like to pay tribute to the peacekeepers who pay a heavy price for their service in the Central African Republic. I would also like to commend all the efforts undertaken by MINUSCA to increase its mobility, reduce its footprint, improve its operational performance and continue the work that has already begun with the troop-contributing countries to prevent cases of sexual exploitation and abuse and ensure that they do not go unpunished. Those welcome efforts must clearly continue.
In that context, as the renewal of MINUSCA’s mandate approaches, France fully supports the Secretary-General’s recommendations, in particular that of maintaining MINUSCA’s robust format and mandate. We also feel it is crucial that MINUSCA be able to strengthen its role in supporting the political process. In that regard, we welcome the decision of the United Nations and the African Union to integrate MINUSCA into the African Initiative and to integrate the Special Representative into the panel of facilitators. France strongly urges the Security Council to authorize UNMISCA to provide limited logistical support for the gradual and controlled redeployment of the Forces armées centrafricaines trained or certified by the European Union Military Training Mission (EUTM) in the Central African Republic. That support, alongside internal security forces, is essential to enable the restoration of Government authority in all its administrative, security and judicial components — that is our collective priority. It is a high expectation of the Central African authorities and the Central African population itself. I would like, once again, to commend the excellent work of the EUTM in supporting the reform of the security sector in the Central African Republic.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize the importance for the Council and the entire international community to remain mobilized and united in support of MINUSCA and in favour of lasting peace in the Central African Republic. That is one of the conditions for success in supporting the Central African Republic and all Central Africans, and it is in that spirit that France will present, in the coming days, a draft resolution for the renewal of MINUSCA’s mandate.