President of the UN General Assembly completes his visit to the Central African Republic after conveying the General Assembly’s solidarity with UN Peacekeepers who are operating in difficult circumstances around the globe and after engaging with the the country leadership on the journey towards sustainable peace and sustainable development
UNITED NATIONS, New York, 11 May 2017– The President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Peter Thomson, completed a one-day visit to the Central African Republic yesterday where he visited the injured victims of Monday’s attack on UN Peacekeepers; engaged directly with UN MINUSCA troops in Bangui, and held meetings with both the national leadership and the leadership of the UN Mission.
The President’s visit took place in the immediate aftermath of a deadly attack on UN Peacekeepers east of the capital Bangui that led to the tragic deaths of 5 UN peacekeepers. To show his solidarity and that of the UN General Assembly with the troops, the President visited the soldiers who had been injured in the attack, thanked them for their service to the United Nations and wished them a speedy recovery. The President also addressed over one hundred soldiers at Camp Fidel and conveyed his gratitude to all UN Peacekeepers:
‘An attack on a UN Peacekeeper is an attack on humanity, condemned by every right thinking person on this planet. I came to Bangui to pay tribute to the fallen and to stand in solidarity with the more than 113,000 peacekeepers currently serving across 4 continents. All who serve in the blue helmet and the blue beret have our gratitude and our admiration as they perform their duties on our behalf.’
President Thomson met with the Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, H.E Mr. Simplice Sarandji. They discussed the recent attack on UN Peacekeepers and President Thomson thanked the Prime Minister for joining him in visiting the injured soldiers earlier in the day. Prime Minister Sarandji expressed the Government’s commitment to bring about sustainable peace through dialogue not weapons. He also underlined the need for the international community to maintain its engagement with the Central African Republic at this pivotal moment in its development.
The President also met with Mr. Abdou Karim Meckassoua, President of the Parliamentary Assembly, who conveyed his gratitude to President Thomson for his coming to Bangui, which, he said, served to lift morale particularly in light of Monday’s attack. He emphasized the key role that the Parliament is playing in securing social cohesion, accountability and a bright future for the country.
In each of these meetings, President Thomson encouraged the authorities to embrace the SDGs and to engage the UN in helping them to do so. He also expressed his belief that while the Central African Republic is currently going through a difficult period, a peace dividend will soon enable this country to move towards a prosperous future for all:
‘The Sustainable Development Goals are a universal masterplan for humanity. They provide us with a framework for all countries to follow. To achieve dignity for all, universal peace and a healthy planet, it is essential that children and young people are educated about the SDGs. With good governance, the rule of law, a solid national development plan and investment in education, technology and especially young people, I am convinced that the people of the Central African Republic will soon enjoy the benefits of sustainable development.’
Earlier in the day, President Thomson was introduced to a project aimed at empowering youth at risk and delivering both peace and development outcomes from the UN’s engagement in the country. The example being set by these young people demonstrated the critical importance of investing in youth in a country where some 80% of the population are below the age of 40. The project also showcased how south-south cooperation can help countries like the Central African Republic to address some of the most critical challenges.
Throughout the day, the President had opportunities to engage with the leadership of MINUSCA, including SRSG Mr. Parfait Onanga-Anyanga. He commended the SRSG and his entire team for their commitment to progress in the country and their contribution to the realization of the purposes of the UN Charter. The President conveyed to them the thanks of the UN General Assembly for their work and informed them that he would be reporting to the Assembly about both the achievements of the mission and the challenges that they face in fulfilling its mandate.
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