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Central African Republic: Ban welcomes confirmation that political talks to start soon

Central African Republic: Ban welcomes confirmation that political talks to start soon

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the confirmation that inclusive political dialogue will kick off tomorrow in the Central African Republic (CAR), which has been beset by widespread fighting and armed banditry in recent years.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said that he was encouraged by this development and voiced hope that the dialogue will “establish a foundation for a genuine national reconciliation process.”

In June, the Government struck an agreement with the rebel groups known as the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) and the Popular Army for the Restoration of Democracy (APRD) after talks in Libreville, Gabon, facilitated by that country''s President El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba.

In today's statement, the Secretary-General commended both regional and international partners for their efforts to promote peace in the CAR, one of the world's poorest nations.

In particular, he expressed his thanks to the peace consolidation force of the Economic Community of Central African States, known as MICOPAX, for facilitating security arrangements for the political dialogue.

Some 200,000 Central Africans have been either internally displaced by the fighting or forced to live as refugees in neighbouring Chad and Cameroon.

In Mr. Ban's most recent report on the CAR to the Security Council, he cautioned that the country continues to face political, security and socio-economic challenges, with the situation exacerbated by a weak economy, complex social problems and impunity for crimes.

He also noted that the United Nations supports the long-awaited dialogue as “the only viable and sustainable option to put a definitive end to the cycle of political and security instability.”