Central African Republic
H.E. Army General François Bozizé, President
24 September 2008
© UN Photo
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FRANÇOIS BOZIZÉ, President of the Central African Republic, said that, since 1996 his country had been living through a period of domestic insecurity fed by conflicts in neighbouring countries. The Darfur crisis had led to constant incursions by armed militias in the north. To the south, the movements of the Lord’s Resistance Army had created instability and led to the plunder of his country’s land, the rape of its women and the deportation and conscription of children under 10. The use of the Central African Republic’s territory as a rear-guard base for such non-State armed groups represented a danger to the provisions of Security Council resolution 1778 (2007).
He welcomed the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) to restore safety and security, and ensure the voluntary return of refugees displaced by the region’s conflicts. Nevertheless, with the mandate of the European Union force (EUFOR) ending in March 2009 and the continuing fragility throughout the region, the renewal of MINURCAT’s mandate, as well as the force’s resizing, had become increasingly critical. He further hoped that the coordination between the United Nations force and regional and local forces would continue.
Continuing, he said the region’s widespread insecurity had further increased levels of poverty, especially in rural areas. In addition, the current financial crisis and the effects of natural disasters had sharpened the impact of the global food crisis on developing countries. Its impact in the Central African Republic was somewhat paradoxical, given the country’s natural resources, including abundant rainfall and arable land.
However, the challenges posed by rural insecurity and disorganized, underdeveloped social and economic infrastructure hampered the country’s agricultural production. The rural exodus and the impact of HIV/AIDS had also reduced the labour force. Together, both natural and man-made causes had aggravated the food situation, making the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals more doubtful.
Noting that the Assembly was the most appropriate forum to discuss such emerging problems, he said that, while it was possible to meet the challenge of the food crisis, given the lack of technological and financial resources of countries like his, success was far from guaranteed. In that light, his country looked forward to the fulfilment of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) recent pledge to double agricultural support to the African continent.
Saying that the threats of terrorism, poverty and bad governance contributed to the world’s vulnerabilities, he emphasized that a durable solution must be sought. In the current era of interdependence, there was an absolute need for a collective body that could act. The United Nations had been founded in that spirit. But today, it was clear that the Organization needed to be reformed, including through genuine democratization. That would require more effective functioning of the Economic and Social Council, as well as the Bretton Woods institutions, but would ultimately lead to a more balanced and freer world for all peoples.