Central African region: To prevent conflicts & smooth way for return to peace [fr]
Central African region/UNOCA
Statement by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United NationsRetour ligne automatique
Security Council - 13 December 2018
First of all, I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr. Louncény Fall, for his briefing and, in particular, for his efforts at the helm of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA). France shares his overall analysis of the situation in Central Africa and assures him of its full support. Not only are the efforts of Mr. Fall very relevant and reflect the value-added of a regional approach to understanding the situations and the dynamics of conflicts, which are often interlinked; they also allow for a preventive approach. That is why France welcomes the three-year extension of the UNOCA mandate, which will enable the Regional Office to conduct its mission of good offices, preventive diplomacy and mediation, as well as its support for regional initiatives towards peace and security in Central Africa, in particular, strengthening its partnership with the Economic Community of Central African States.
In addition to the fight against Boko Haram, which, regrettably, remains on the agenda, four situations deserve special mention today.
First, let us consider the ‘Central African Republic. We are concerned about the security situation, which remains volatile, as seen by the outbreak of violence in Alindao in mid-November. That new wave of violence is a reminder that disarming armed groups, restoring State authority throughout the country and protecting civilians, including humanitarian and medical personnel, remain priority issues in the Central African Republic. It is imperative that the armed groups commit immediately without preconditions to the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic. We also reiterate our full support for President Touadera and recall our commitment to assisting the authorities of the Central African Republic in finding a solution to the crisis. To that end, it is necessary to continue to promote the rapid and ambitious implementation of the African Union (AU) road map.
The African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic is the only platform for holding discussions with the armed groups that includes the participation of neighbouring States from which a comprehensive political agreement could result. It therefore appears necessary that direct dialogue between the Government of the Central African Republic and the armed groups take place as soon as possible. It will be incumbent on the African Union and the future United Nations-AU Joint Special Envoy to identify the modalities of the meeting that must take place between the Government and the armed groups.
We would encourage the authorities of the Central African Republic to take the necessary steps to achieve a national consensus on the implementation of African Initiative. The people of the Central African Republic voiced their views on many issues during the Bangui Forum on National Reconciliation. The fight against impunity is a key component to the reconciliation process. As Ms. Reena Ghelani just reminded us, the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic must continue to galvanize us, as more than half of the population is suffering from extreme poverty and in need of humanitarian assistance.
Lastly, we are counting on the support of all Security Council members for the renewal of the mandate of United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic this afternoon.
The second situation involves Cameroon. We thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for his commitment to confronting the crisis in the English-speaking areas and for the approach he has taken vis-à-vis the Cameroonian authorities. France is concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon. The toll in human lives is becoming increasingly high, and the humanitarian situation is increasingly difficult with — I believe — nearly 30,000 refugees in Nigeria and more than 400,000 internally displaced persons. In this regard, we are pursuing our own efforts aimed at encouraging the Cameroonian Government to take ambitious steps to achieve a lasting settlement to the crisis through inclusive political dialogue, de-escalation measures and broader decentralization measures with respect for the unity and integrity of the country. It is necessary that access to humanitarian assistance to those in need be facilitated and that the perpetrators of human rights violations be prosecuted.
The third situation involves the Democratic Republic of the Congo. France is concerned about the events that have punctuated the elections campaign over the past several days. In particular, France is dismayed by reports according to which live ammunition was allegedly fired to disperse protesters, and calls on the Congolese authorities to shed full light on these incidents.
The general elections, scheduled to be held 23 December, represent a historic opportunity as the first-ever democratic and peaceful transfer of power in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. France calls on the Congolese authorities to create the necessary conditions for the holding of credible elections in a peaceful environment. We must stand ready to support the electoral process in close cooperation with all African partners in the event that the Congolese authorities request us to do so.
Finally, turning to Burundi, we are concerned about the recent developments in that country. In particular, I note the temporary suspension of the activities of foreign non-governmental organizations, the absence of the Government at the fifth and last session of the inter-Burundian dialogue in Arusha, and last week’s closure of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. In this regard, we reiterate our support for the mediation led by the East African Community. We hope that the forthcoming summit of this organization, to be held on 27 December, will lead to tangible solutions to facilitate the holding of free, transparent and peaceful elections in 2020.
Preventing conflicts, avoiding the escalation of existing crises and smoothing the way for a return to lasting peace demand a cross-cutting and holistic approach that considers all the dimensions and factors of conflicts as well as their root causes, whether they be inequality, the illegal exploitation of natural resources, or climate and environmental conditions. They also demand responses and commitments at the regional level. In this regard, United Nations regional offices, such as the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa, are a critical tool for strengthening the capacity of the Organization to act in a more effective manner. France will continue to support this constructive and necessary evolution in the work of the Organization in the service of international peace and security in a spirit of coherence and greater partnership with African stakeholders.