Delegation of the European Union to Armenia

EU Statement – United Nations Security Council: Situation in the Central African Republic

New York, 20/06/2019 - 21:25, UNIQUE ID: 190620_21
Statements on behalf of the EU

20 June 2019, New York - Statement on behalf of the EU by H.E. Mr. Koen Vervaeke, Managing Director for Africa, European External Action Service, at the at the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Central African Republic

Mr. President, Members of the Security Council, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to brief the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on behalf of the European Union (EU), I recognize the presence of the Secretary-General's Special Representative Mankeur Ndiaye and of the African Union's Special Representative Mathias Matondo.

Mr. President,

Five months after the Peace Agreement was signed in Bangui, we are now at a crucial moment.

Let me pay tribute to all those who contributed to achieving the agreement, and in particular African Union's Commissioner Smail Chergui. We remain deeply convinced that the agreement provides a real chance for a better future in CAR, if it is implemented by all sides in good faith, with a real sense of responsibility. The buy-in of the population and the support of the region will also be critical elements.

The Government has so far delivered on several accounts. A largely inclusive Government has been put in place and now all Armed Groups are represented in the Government.

All the different follow-up mechanisms have now been established. We wish to congratulate President Touadera and the Prime Minister on their leadership and sense of compromise.   

A governmental seminar is scheduled in the next few days with the support of the partners, including the EU, to reinforce governmental cohesion and team spirit with a view to strengthening internal confidence. We will also be providing support to the Technical Secretariat of the Comité Exécutif de Suivi and will soon start providing parallel support to the Armed Groups to reinforce their ownership of the Agreement, train and coach them to help them deliver on their own engagements.

Let me say a few words on the Special Mixed Security Units (USMS), a critical element of the Peace Agreement, as a temporary security measure. A legal basis for these units has now been prepared, and initial funding via the UN Peace Building Fund is secured. The European Union has made an initial contribution of EUR 3.4 million to finance the African Union support to the mixed units. We will be considering further support once the units are deployed. The EU Military Training Mission (EUTM) is ready to conduct a train-the-trainers course for designated FACA trainers once they are identified. What we need now is a clear process and chain of command placed under the State authority.

Manning lists for the units are however still incomplete, both on the part of the Government and Armed Groups. This is delaying their deployment and the establishment and deployment is now foreseen for October 2019 after the 2-month training that will have to start during the month July. So urgency is required.

It is also important that the FACA fully owns the process and urgent additional effort is needed to fill this confidence gap. No progress will otherwise be possible.

As already mentioned by previous speakers, regrettably, five months after its signature, the Agreement continues to be violated notably by Armed Groups.

Mr. President,

We remain deeply concerned about the slow progress on DDRR, the lack of compliance and the violence perpetrated by certain groups. It is irresponsible and inadmissible, notably by parties to a peace agreement.

Events like the recent attack in Paoua are against the Peace Agreement and cannot remain unanswered. They undermine our collective efforts and credibility and further weaken the trust which is being built under the Peace Agreement.

All useful means should be put in place by the parties, by the Guarantors and facilitators, to respond and to prevent violations, including through early warning, reinforced dialogue and appropriate follow-up mechanisms and a clear strategy on addressing violations. The Peace Agreement provides for all necessary means, including sanctions. These means must be fully exploited to preserve the credibility of the process and finally to achieve real and sustainable peace.

In that context, MINUSCA must continue to actively engage non-compliant Armed Groups and if necessary through pressure and use of force.

Mr. President,

That brings me to the issue of justice which plays a crucial role in the Peace Agreement. The CAR population clearly expects justice to be delivered, impartially and speedily. Those who are responsible for committing crimes and serious violations must be brought to Justice.

We look forward to transitional justice to be put in place. The EU contributes with technical and financial support to ongoing consultations. We will be ready to consider financing for the upcoming Truth Justice Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TJRRC) which setting up is becoming extremely urgent.

For the success of the peace process, the region also has a role to play. In that regard, we welcome the recent bilateral Commission with Cameroon as a positive development and we encourage the strengthening of relations with all the neighbouring countries of CAR, in particular Chad. Without regional cooperation CAR will not find stability.

Mr. President,

CAR will hold elections in 18 months. These elections are part of the Peace agreement and a crucial step to consolidate achievements and the democratic "acquis" of the country. Holding timely, credible and legitimate elections is key to the peace process, in particular with regard to its inclusivity. Elections and electoral competition also bring tensions. All political actors should act responsibly. Any attitude calling for violence and hate speech should be considered against the Peace Agreement.

We are ready to provide support for the elections and call on all partners to mobilise equally. MINUSCA's mandate should be adapted to reflect the Mission's necessary role in the Peace Agreement implementation but also in support of the upcoming elections.

The EU will continue working in full coordination and cooperation with the AU and the UN through its integrated multidimensional approach.

I had the privilege to recently represent the EU in the joint mission together with USG Jean-Pierre Lacroix and AU Commissioner Smail Chergui. Projecting together our coherent and complementary support of our institutions in support of peace agreement in CAR was a powerful message.

Let me end by updating you on the EU support to CAR.

I have already mentioned the EUTM. Apart from training and offering advice to the national forces, we will soon start training for new recruits in Camp Kassai and in Bouar.

The mission is also providing strategic advice to the Presidency, Defence Ministry, the FACA Headquarters, the Interior Ministry, and to the Director Generals of both Gendarmerie and Police as foreseen in its mandate.

Our substantial support to mediation and Peace Agreement implementation will continue.

On development, let me inform you that since the beginning of the crisis, the European Commission together with its member states, has mobilized already more than EUR 850 million to provide support to the population. We are now mobilizing an additional EUR 60 million. In all that we do, governance, justice, rule of law and support to democratic institutions will remain at the core of our engagement.

On the humanitarian side, and the Special Representative mentioned it as a critical issue, the EU substantial commitment continues, in particular with a view to increasing access to remote areas and communities.

The situation in CAR remains complex and fragile.

Mr. President,

A protracted humanitarian crisis adds to structural weaknesses. It is therefore essential to keep the focus on structural reforms, especially in the security and governance sector, and to stay actively engaged in the longer term.

The EU for its part will continue to work with our partners in the Government and civil society, with the African Union and the UN, and with the region. The High Representative Federica Mogherini is planning to visit CAR in July, as a testimony of the EU exceptional support to the people of the Central African Republic and the peace process.

Thank you very much Mr. President.

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