Press Statement of the 884th PSC meeting on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR)

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The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 884th meeting, held on 10 October 2019, followed a Joint briefing by AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui and the UN Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, Ambassador Jean-Pierre Lacroix, on the Situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), following the joint AU-UN-European Union (EU) visit, undertaken in that country, from 4 to 7 October 2019.

Council recalled its previous Communiqués and Press Statements on the Situation in the Central African Republic, particularly which of its 834th meeting, held on 21 March 2019, as well as the Communiqué of its 848th meeting, held on 9 May 2019 on the Situation in the CAR.

Council congratulated the signatory parties to the Political Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation (APPR) in the CAR on the progress made in its implementation, in particular the restoration of State authority, with the installation all the Prefects, Sub-Prefects, the technical security committees and the progressive deployment of the National Defence and Security Forces throughout the country. Council noted with satisfaction the significant reduction in violence since the signing of the Peace Agreement, while expressing concern about the continued hostile acts in the country. In this regard, Council strongly condemned the fighting between the armed groups in Birao, which resulted in many losses of life and the displacement of more than 15,000 persons.

Council stressed the imperative need for all signatories to scrupulously comply with the provisions of the APPR, including the cessation of hostilities throughout the entire territory. In this regard, Council warned all those who would seek to impede the implementation of the Agreement and the comprehensive peace process in the Central African Republic, that they would be held accountable and that Council is determined to consider appropriate punitive measures.

Council noted with satisfaction the progress made in rebuilding the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) and expressed its gratitude to the United Nations Security Council and its Member States for deciding, through the adoption of Resolution 2488 (2019), to ease the conditions of the arms embargo in order to enable the CAR to rebuild its armed forces. In this regard, Council encouraged the United Nations Security Council, in view of the significant progress made by the Central African authorities, in their efforts towards Security Sector Reform, to continue to support the rebuilding of the Central African Defence and Security Forces, by dropping the armed embargo to this effect. In this regard, Council urged the Central African parties to work towards the rapid operationalization of the Mixed Military Security Units, in line with the security arrangements provided for in the Agreement.

Taking into consideration interdependence between peace, security and development in line with the PSC Communique [PSC/PR/COMM.1(DCCCLXXXIII)] adopted at its 883rd meeting, on 27 September 2019, held at Ministerial Level, Council called on the international community to support peace efforts especially those aiming to the economic and social recovery in CAR, notably through supporting the National Recovery and Peace-Building Plan (RCPCA) 2017-2021 and through the participation to the set-up of concrete and targeted development projects, which would be crucial for the reintegration of central African populations in the working life, including those concerned by the demobilization operation.

Council reaffirmed that the electoral process is a priority step in consolidating the democratic gains and stability in the country. In this regard, Council urged the Central African actors to scrupulously comply with the upcoming dates of the elections to be held in 2020/2021 and to ensure that they are free, fair, credible and peaceful, and rejected any idea relating to a new transition. Furthermore, Council reaffirmed the need for all the parties to work in good faith for the organisation of the elections, which are part of the peacebuilding process in the Central African Republic.

Council encouraged the people of CAR, including the signatory and non-signatory parties, the political actors, the Civil Society and Women's and Youths associations, to continue to support the implementation of the Agreement, which remained the sole path for the restoration of a lasting peace in the whole country.

Council welcomed the continued support of the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Guarantors of the Peace Agreement. Council also welcomed the exemplary cooperation between the African Union, the United Nations and the European Union, in close coordination with the countries of the Region, in the stabilisation and socio-economic recovery efforts of the CAR and encouraged the three organisations to continue their coordinated commitment to the promotion of peace, security and stability in the CAR. Council expressed its appreciation to the AU Commission, particularly to the Commissioner for Peace and Security, for its continued commitment to supporting peace efforts in the CAR, including the mobilisation of funds for the implementation of the APPR.

Council paid tribute to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and its Troop Contributing Countries for the huge sacrifices made for peace in the Central African Republic. In this regard, Council honoured the memory of the recently fallen Senegalese soldiers in the Central African Republic, as well as those of all other peacekeepers who have made the supreme sacrifice for this country.

Council expressed its appreciation for the commitment and support provided by the European Union (EU) for the implementation of the Agreement. Consequently, Council requested the AU Commission to pursue its efforts to mobilise resources to ensure the restoration of peace, security and stability in the CAR.

Council, within the context of the African Solidarity Initiative, reiterated its appeal to the Member States of the African Union to continue to provide financial, logistical and other relevant support to the peace efforts of the African Union in the CAR, with a view to further consolidating the gains made in the implementation of the Agreement. Council underscored the need for a holistic approach to peace efforts in the CAR, which could not be dissociated from those that should focus on improving the living conditions of the Central African people shattered by so many years of instability and violence.

Council requested the Commission to consider convening another meeting of the International Contact Group for the CAR, to assess the situation in the CAR and to take the necessary measures with a view to better support the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

Council recalled Assembly Decision AU/Assembly/Dec.718(XXXII) adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, recognizing the efforts of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, and particularly the Kingdom of Morocco, chair of the UN Configuration of the CAR, in its efforts and commitment as it continues to mobilize support for the peace efforts in the CAR.

Council decided to remain actively seized of the situation in the CAR.