Your Excellency Mr. Faustin Touadéra, Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, Excellencies, Distinguished Participants,
I am pleased to greet this meeting.
We are privileged to have Prime Minister Touadéra with us today to discuss how we can assist his country’s recovery.
With the world’s eyes on events on the Middle East, North Africa and West Africa, the Central African Republic remains at the centre of a forgotten emergency.
Much has been accomplished since the establishment of BINUCA two years ago, but the country still faces serious challenges.
These include extreme poverty, weak national institutions, corruption, human rights violations and impunity.
There is a high rate of violent crime perpetrated by armed movements and outlaws.
We must all do our utmost to help the Government pursue peacebuilding, reconstruction, security sector reform, the implementation of peace agreements and the sustainable disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants.
State institutions need support, and infrastructure needs to be restored, especially the nation’s road network.
Strengthening the democratic process is also critical.
The United Nations has supported a series of workshops bringing together opposition and Government representatives to discuss key political issues.
This is particularly necessary in light of the ruling party’s domination of Parliament and other institutions as a result of the opposition’s boycott of the electoral process.
The UN-supported dialogue can help to create much needed inclusive political space and consensus.
We stand ready to continue to support the efforts of the Government in this regard.
The road ahead for the Central African Republic will not be easy.
Rebel and criminal groups control large tracts of territory, destabilizing not just CAR but other Central African countries.
On the other hand, there is considerable national commitment for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.
The Secretary-General is encouraged that politico-military groups and communities themselves are pushing the Government to expedite the DDR process.
It is therefore crucial that the international community supports the Government’s efforts.
The Government has established an institutional framework for DDR, including a Ministry of DDR, and has contributed nearly $9 million dollars to disarmament and demobilization activities in the northwest.
The Peacebuilding Fund has approved a further $2.4 million dollars.
These efforts should help improve security in the country, and in the sub-region.
The United Nations commends the Government for ratifying the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child last December.
In the northwest, the Government is planning the reintegration of children into the community with the support of the United Nations.
We need to maintain this momentum by also supporting DDR for adult combatants.
Mr. Prime Minister,
We are all aware that there is frustration at the slow pace of progress.
Further delays will only accentuate tensions and undermine an already fragile process, with potentially disastrous results.
With the start of the rainy season in June, it will be difficult to conduct DDR in the northeast.
Beginning even small-scale operations before then would send a positive signal to the armed groups and communities that have been expecting DDR for some time now.
The Secretary-General appeals to the Friends of the CAR to provide the necessary support, and not allow the DDR process to falter.
The United Nations and the Government of CAR are grateful to the African Union, the World Bank, the European Union, La Francophonie, neighbouring countries and bilateral partners for the support they have already provided.
All of us in this room are friends of the Central African Republic.
Let us demonstrate our friendship in concrete ways.
The fallout from a return to conflict would have profound consequences, not only for the Central African Republic, but for the sub-region.
You have a fundamental role in preventing this.