International community must remain mobilized in support of CAR [fr]
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 21 February 2019
I thank the Equatorial Guinean presidency for organizing today’s meeting, which comes at a particularly important time for the Central African Republic, two weeks after the signing of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic, on 6 February. I would also like to extend a special welcome to the important and appreciated presence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Central Africans Abroad of the Central African Republic, and thank all our speakers for their very informative briefings.
I would also like to express our warm and heartfelt thanks to Special Representative Parfait Onanga-Anyanga for his exemplary and multifaceted commitment to the outstanding work he has done for nearly three and a half years at the helm of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). On behalf of France, I would like to express to him our deep gratitude. Allow me also to express our gratitude to Commissioner Smaïl Chergui, not only for his presence here today but for his important contribution to the conclusion of the peace agreement.
France welcomes the signing of the peace agreement between the Central African Government and the 14 armed groups in Bangui on 6 February after two weeks of negotiations in Khartoum within the framework of the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation, under the auspices of the African Union and with the support of the United Nations. This Agreement is an important step towards lasting peace in the Central African Republic and the restoration of State authority throughout the Central African Republic. In other words, this agreement can and must mark a new beginning for the Central African Republic. In this context, France welcomes the commitment of the Central African parties to the negotiations, and commends the decisive role played by the African Union and the United Nations, whose exemplary partnership has once again proved its full effectiveness, as well as the support provided by the countries of the region.
We are already hearing sceptics claiming that many other agreements have already gone unheeded. But the main difference with the other agreements is the unanimous commitment of the Central African actors and the Central African Republic’s partners in support of the agreement. The political will is there; it is strong, and it is a tremendous reason for hope, even if it is obviously not a question of underestimating the difficulties that remain on the way ahead. The challenge of the coming period is therefore to seize this historic opportunity.
The signing of this peace agreement is a decisive first step on the road to peace. All efforts must now focus on its full implementation. That is why it is essential for Central African parties, and in particular the armed groups, to honour their commitments immediately and in good faith. We see three immediate priorities in that regard.
The first test will be ending the violence committed by armed groups against civilians, humanitarian personnel and MINUSCA. The abuses committed by armed groups since last October, which have left more than 100 people dead in Alindao, Bakouma and Ippy, are unacceptable. The attacks against the Central African defence and security forces and MINUSCA in Bambari, during which French forces were compelled to use force at the request of the United Nations, are also unjustifiable. Armed groups must therefore lay down their weapons, cease all forms of destabilizing activities, including the recruitment and use of children, and be held accountable for violence, including sexual violence, before the courts, in particular the Special Criminal Court. In that regard, I welcome cooperation between the Central African Republic and the International Criminal Court.
We also hope that the implementation of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic will make it possible to meet the aspirations expressed by the Central African people at the Bangui Forum in May 2015, in particular with regard to demands for justice, inclusiveness and national reconciliation. We welcome the commitments made by President Touadera and the establishment of a mechanism to monitor the implementation of the agreement at the national and local levels, which is an important innovation compared to previous peace agreements signed in the Central African Republic. It is essential — and I would like to underscore this point — that women be able to participate fully.
Lastly, the role of the international community in supporting the implementation of the agreement will be decisive, politically, financially and technically. France reiterates its full support for President Faustin-Archange Touadera and will remain fully committed, alongside the Central African Republic, to supporting the implementation of the agreement. In that regard, France has decided to increase its bilateral aid contributions to the Central African Republic, including through the funding of quick-impact projects for the benefit of the people in Central Africa. It essential that the people concerned quickly see some initial tangible benefits of the new peace agreement. It is vital that the countries of the region support and assist with the implementation of the agreement. Finally, it is absolutely necessary for all partners of the Central African Republic to coordinate their actions on the ground and act in a transparent manner to ensure that peace is achieved.
Before concluding my statement, I would like to reiterate France’s full support for MINUSCA and confirm our full support to the new Special Representative, Mr. Mankeur Ndiaye, as he carries out his important mandate. As we all know, MINUSCA operates in a difficult environment. That is another reason for us to be committed to supporting it and providing it with the necessary means to conduct its mission, as it plays an indispensable role in stabilizing the Central African Republic — in particular with regard to the protection of civilians, support for the delivery of humanitarian aid and support for the redeployment of the Central African Armed Forces, trained by the European Union Military Training Mission in the Central African Republic. I would again like to commend the work and central role played by the Mission in supporting security sector reform. The involvement of MINUSCA will also be decisive, alongside other partners of the Central African Republic, in supporting the implementation of the peace agreement.
Lastly, I would like to pay tribute to the Blue Helmets who have paid a heavy price for their commitment to the Central African Republic and commend all of the efforts undertaken by MINUSCA to increase its mobility, improve its operational performance, seek the full safety of its personnel through effective medical evacuation capabilities but also continue the work undertaken to prevent cases of sexual exploitation and abuse and ensure that they do not remain unpunished.
I would like to conclude my statement by reiterating that it is important for the Council and for the international community to remain mobilized and united in support of the Central African Republic and MINUSCA. That is the compass that guides France and that must guide each Council member.