Mr Under Secretary General,
Members of the Security Council, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to address the participants of this very timely meeting on behalf of the European Union. It takes place at a crucial time for the future of democracy, peace and stability in the Central African Republic.
Two months after the elections of 27 December 2020, the Central African Republic remains indeed in a critical situation, with continued significant post-electoral political tensions and a new security crisis that has further worsened the humanitarian situation.
In our view, our collective efforts need to be further pursued in three directions, by drawing all together all the necessary lessons learnt and overcome the current crisis.
First, restoring security in the country is a priority, particularly in view of the remaining steps of the electoral process, notably the next rounds of legislative elections which are scheduled for the 14th March. As partner of the country and major donor to the process, we consider the holding of free, fair and transparent elections to be of paramount importance for a viable solution to the current crisis. That is why we think they must take place in the best possible conditions in order to allow CAR voters to participate in the vote and guarantee the inclusiveness and political stability of the next five years.
In that regard, we would like to pay tribute to MINUSCA, for the significant efforts it has made to contribute to security in the country and for the losses it has suffered in doing so. In order to pursue its mission, it is important that MINUSCA can mobilize all necessary means. The EU therefore welcomes the recommendations of the Secretary General to reinforce MINUSCA with additional military and police resources.
We strongly condemn the attacks and actions of destabilization launched by some armed groups, signatories of 2019 Peace Agreement, under the newly-established CPC rebel Coalition, supported by former President Bozize, that we have been witnessing during the last 3 months. Violence as a means to raise and solve grievances cannot be accepted. Those involved in serious crimes and human rights violations shall be brought to justice, as demanded, more than ever, by the CAR population. Fight against impunity and respect of human rights and international humanitarian law must remain at the core of CAR stabilisation. We are deeply concerned by continuous reports of serious human rights violations committed during the current crisis, including by CAR security Forces. We encourage authorities to stop and properly investigate.
Secondly, a sustainable and agreed solution to the political crisis requires a genuine inclusive political dialogue namely between the government, the democratic opposition and civil society. The representativeness of the country's future institutions and governance will need to be strengthened, through broad participation and inclusivity. We welcome President Touadera’s commitment to hold an inclusive dialogue and we encourage the Government, CAR institutions, political actors and “forces vives” to engage in a constructive dialogue with an open and positive spirit in the interest of CAR people.
Thirdly, and finally, the peace and reconciliation process needs to be relaunched, with the Political Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation remaining the only joint and viable framework for lasting peace. Only a political solution will help achieve sustainable peace, reconciliation and development in the country.
Two years after its signature, the Peace Agreement needs to be revitalized. Starting with a serious and honest evaluation of its implementation aiming at bringing if necessary the reforms needed to improve its effectiveness and bring peace dividends to the people, in close coordination with national stakeholders and international partners. A re-engagement of all parties - Government and armed groups willing to remain or to return in the process - and a greater inclusion and participation of civil society and “forces vives” in the process, especially women and youth, are essential for the Peace Agreement to be credible and bring lasting peace. But without compromising on the core of the Peace Process. Continuing to fight against impunity for serious crimes while strengthening proper reconciliation mechanisms such as the Truth Justice Reconciliation Commission. This is the only way to restore trust among the population, to pay tribute to the victims of all CAR crisis and finally stop the spiral of violence in the country.
We encourage and support any efforts made by the Guarantors, the Facilitators and the region aiming at reaching these objectives, in close coordination with the Central African Government and key partners.
Mme President, distinguished members of the Council,
As you know, the EU has been, is and will continue to be one of the closest partners of CAR, working for peace and reconciliation, democracy and recovery, as shown recently with our decisive support for the elections. With all our instruments and through our multidimensional engagement, we will continue to stand by the Central African Republic through its future challenges, by drawing the appropriate lessons from the current crisis.
In view of the establishment of the upcoming EU-CAR partnership cycle, we stand ready to continue to accompany CAR people and future authorities through an agenda of reforms towards a stronger democratic governance and rule of law, a strengthened, professional, accountable and better governed security sector; fighting corruption and impunity; strengthening State authority, credible and accountable institutions; increasing economic opportunities for all; without forgetting key societal reforms, with a special focus on education, youth and the role of women.
One last word on growing disinformation, fed by panafricanist, local and some international actors, which contribute to the country’s fragility. We condemn attacks on MINUSCA, the EU and other partners and encourage the authorities to consider fighting against hate speech as a key priority.
In all these efforts, we are more than ever committed to closely cooperating and coordinating with the United Nations, the African Union and ECCAS, as well as with all partners involved, in particular the Central African Republic’s neighbours.
Thank you very much.