CAR: CEMAC asks international community to help CAR

News and Press Release
Originally published
BANGUI, 24 March (IRIN) - Leaders of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (CEMAC) have recognised the self-declared president of the Central African Republic (CAR), Francois Bozize, and encouraged him to continue his plans to restore peace to his country.
In a final communique issued after a special summit on Friday in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo (ROC), the CEMAC heads of state condemned the coup that brought Bozize to power, but also noted his "commitments to restoring peace, democracy and security for people and goods, and national reconciliation".

Speaking on Africa No. 1 Radio, a Gabonese private broadcaster, ROC Minister of Foreign Affairs Rudolph Adada said, "They [CEMAC heads of state] encourage him to go resolutely ahead in that way."

Bozize was not invited to the summit, attended by presidents Denis Sassou-Nguesso of ROC, Omar Bongo of Gabon, and Idriss Deby of Chad, with representatives from Cameroon and Guinea.

The summit leaders agreed to maintain the CEMAC peacekeeping force, whose 303 men were deployed to CAR in late December 2002 to protect the ousted president Ange-Felix Patasse. Adada said the issue of redefining the force's mandate would be examined at the next summit, whose date and venue have not yet been fixed.

They also made an urgent appeal to the international community to help the CAR to rebuild. However, nothing was said about the integration of the 100 Chadian soldiers sent to Bangui on Wednesday to reinforce the CEMAC troops.

"They are still waiting for a political decision before joining the CEMAC force," Col Augustin Bibaye, the CEMAC peacekeeping force spokesman, told IRIN on Saturday.

The Chadians have been manning checkpoints to recover stolen vehicles and return them to their owners, and disarming the bands of youths who participated in massive looting.

On Thursday, a further 200 Chadian soldiers arrived in the capital to help restore security, following Bozize's earlier call for more foreign troops and his demand for a Chadian contingent to be included in the CEMAC force.

Bozize's spokesman, Parfait Mbaye, said the expected redrawing of the CEMAC force's mission would allow the integration of all 300 Chadians currently in Bangui.

"With its initial mandate and budget, the CEMAC force had a deficit of about 100 men. When its mandate and budget are redefined, it will integrate the remaining [200] Chadians soldiers," Mbaye said on Sunday.


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