Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the high-level meeting on the Central African Republic, in New York today:
Thank you for your support for the people of the Central African Republic. Recent events in Bangui underscore the fragility of the situation. I am deeply concerned about the escalation of violence, including attacks against civilians and between communities. I regret and deplore the loss of life, and call on all parties to end the fighting and lay down their arms.
It is clear that the latest violence in Bangui is designed to destabilize the country and jeopardize the transition process. We cannot allow forces to undermine achievements over the past year and deny the aspirations of the vast majority of Central Africans for peace and a better life.
All those who perpetrate or instigate crimes — including human rights violations — or incite violence must be held accountable. We must work together to ensure against a relapse of the horrific violence that tore the country apart. The United Nations will continue to provide steadfast support.
Two years ago, the international community came together and showed its commitment to end violence, protect civilians and find a sustainable solution. One year ago, we encouraged broad-based dialogue, supported by regional and international partners. Local consultations culminated in the Bangui Forum on National Reconciliation.
Central Africans agreed on the need for security sector reform, justice for those responsible for serious crimes and the rebuilding of their State for social and economic recovery.
On the political front, we have seen progress, particularly the ongoing preparations for the elections later this year. As we support the end of the transition, the people of Central Africa — including those who have taken refuge abroad — will finally have the opportunity to cast their vote.
I would like to recognize Catherine Samba-Panza for her leadership during this difficult chapter.
As developments over the last days have demonstrated, the importance of international support, and the need to bridge religious and communal divisions and find common ground, has never been more critical.
Major challenges remain, beyond the immediate security concerns. Rebuilding, reconciling and reforming a country that has been exposed to years of violent crises take time, and the humanitarian needs remain significant.
Today, we are here to express our firm support to a peaceful end of the transition, but also look beyond, and focus on priority actions identified during the Bangui Forum that can be achieved within 18 months or less.
At the same time, we are mindful of the most pressing priority to fill the funding gap in support of the election process.
I thank the European Union, the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and key Member States for their contributions. However, many programmes remain underfunded. Without the resources to help address security and stabilization needs and ensure human rights for all, the country risks sliding back into protracted conflict and suffering. More than anything, Central Africans urgently need concrete reassurance that peace and stability in their country remain high on the international community’s agenda.
Today, I am calling on you to mobilize the necessary support for the speedy implementation of the outcomes of the Bangui Forum, the successful conclusion of the transition and the building blocks for long-term peace and development that the people of the Central African Republic demand and deserve.