|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7069th Meeting (PM)
Central African Republic Powerless to Resolve Crisis, Security Council Told,
as Regional Leader Urges Stronger Mandate for Support Mission
The Central African Republic was "a failed State headed by a fragile transitional Government" that was powerless to bring the country out of the crisis, the Security Council heard today from a senior official of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in a meeting where several speakers called for the deployment of a multifaceted peacekeeping mission to that country.
To ensure the Central African Republic’s recovery, the future mandate of the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic had to be bolstered, Ahmad Allam-Mi, Secretary-General of ECCAS, said today. Countries in the region had been tending to the Central African Republic for more than a decade now. The international community was finally alert to the crisis and the need to find a lasting solution.
Cautioning that “free and transparent elections would not be enough to extricate the country from this crisis,” he added that it was necessary to address the root causes of the conflict. Establishing a legitimate and representative democracy that served the interests of all and not just a clan or group was crucial. Among the causes of the ongoing conflict was the seizure of power by one category of Central Africans. Equally important was the establishment of genuine defence forces that were balanced and representative instead of a clan-based militia.
He noted that the abject poverty in which the marginalized people lived in was one of the reasons they took up weapons. Accordingly, it was vital to provide financial and humanitarian aid. The emergency deployment of a multifaceted mission was necessary to save the country. Therefore, the Heads of the Governments of the countries of ECCAS requested a robust mandate that would enable the Support Mission to fully carry out its mission. There was “no longer time for useless criticism or shedding crocodile tears”. It was time to support ECCAS and the African Union in their efforts to save the Central African Republic.
The African Union was working with ECCAS to support regional efforts to address the situation, Adonia Ayebare, Senior Adviser for Peacebuilding and Development at the Office of the Permanent Observer of the African Union, said, pointing to the landmark Libreville Agreements of January 2013. Since the entry of Séléka elements into Bangui, the Peace and Security Council had suspended the Central African Republic from participating in African Union activities, and had outlined targeted sanctions against individuals.
He urged the Council to insist that the transitional authorities fulfil their obligations to protect civilians, adding that the African Union continued to mobilize the international community through the International Contact Group, which had met three times, most recently on 8 November. The Council should support the steps it had articulated to address the precarious situation.
In taking a decision on the future of the Support Mission, the Council must bear in mind the need for predictable and sustainable support to the Mission. “We are one and we are on the same page,” he said, as he reiterated the African Union’s determination to work with ECCAS in addressing the situation in the Central African Republic.
Jan Eliasson, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General,said the Secretary-General had dispatched an interagency technical assessment mission to the Central African Republic from 27 October to 8 November, tasked with developing options for international support to the International Support Mission to the Central African Republic. The African Union and ECCAS had agreed on the urgent need for the international community to act and that a United Nations peacekeeping mission with a robust mandate would be required.
For his part, the Secretary-General had held discussions with the African Union Commission Chairperson, the President of Chad and the Secretary-General of ECCAS to underline his agreement that a strong peacekeeping force would be needed. The technical assessment team also had heard from a range of national and international stakeholders who were unanimous in their calls for action, including deployment of an impartial force to protect civilians, restore security and prevent occurrence of mass violence.
The team observed that despite its best efforts, the Mission for the Consolidation of Peace in the Central African Republic’s ability to protect civilians was seriously limited, with some contingents perceived as siding with particular communities based on religion. Troops also had limited logistical support and lacked equipment.
The report presented five options for international support to the International Support Mission: bilateral and multilateral support, United Nations support through a trust fund; limited United Nations support funded through assessed and voluntary contributions; a United Nations support package funded through assessed contributions; and the transformation of the Mission into a United Nations peacekeeping operation. Most people with whom the team had met called for a United Nations peacekeeping mission, support for which had been requested by a number of civil society organizations. The transformation of the International Support Mission into such a force would lay the foundation for transparent, accountable and resilient institutions.
“It is during difficult times that we recognize our friends,” Mesmin Dembassa Worogagoi, representative of the Central African Republic, said, expressing gratitude to the members of the Security Council and the bilateral partners of the country who had shouldered the responsibility of addressing the crisis in his country.
The report of the Secretary-General referred to pre-genocide conditions, he noted. The transition that was to lead to free and fair elections had been threatened by the instability in the country. In spite of the efforts of the transitional authorities, the security situation remained precarious. Therefore, the highest authorities of the transition had written to the Secretary-General and the Security Council to seek support for the request addressed to France to provide military support to buttress the International Support Mission.
The people of Central African Republic aspired to nothing but peace and security, he stated. A robust Chapter VII mandate would enable the Mission to accomplish its lofty but difficult undertaking. United Nations support remained essential to resolving the crisis in his country.
The meeting began at 3:10 p.m. and ended at 3:48 p.m.
* *** *For information media • not an official record