The Security Council and senior United Nations officials have welcomed the signing of an agreement on the cessation of hostilities by the parties in the Central African Republic (CAR) and highlighted the need to follow this up with national reconciliation and reconstruction efforts.
The agreement was signed yesterday in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, at the end of a three-day forum that brought together heads of State, including CAR’s interim president Catherine Samba-Panza, representatives of civil society organizations, political parties and armed groups, as well as refugees.
In a press statement welcoming the agreement, members of the Security Council called on all parties to immediately and fully implement the pact.
“The members of the Security Council underlined that this agreement is a first step in a wider political process in the Central African Republic of ensuring durable peace, respect for human rights, protection of civilians and the rule of law,” said the statement.
The Secretary-General’s Special Representatives for Central Africa, Abdoulaye Bathily, and for CAR, Babacar Gaye, saluted the spirit that prevailed at the Brazzaville forum.
“There is still a long way to go, but I’m convinced that the determination that has been shown during this forum and that has allowed us to make progress will lead us to our objective,” Mr. Bathily, who heads the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), said in a news release.
The envoys said that the next steps of this process now need to take place in CAR with local consultations and a forum on national reconciliation and reconstruction in the capital, Bangui.
CAR has been embroiled in fighting fuelled by inter-communal retaliatory attacks between anti-balaka and Séléka rebels, after the latter were ousted from power in January 2014. An estimated 2.2 million people are in need of humanitarian aid as a result.
In a related development, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Diane Corner of the United Kingdom as his Deputy Special Representative in CAR.
Ms. Corner, who will also serve as the deputy head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR (MINUSCA), which will deploy in September, is currently the British Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and non-Resident Ambassador to the Republic of Congo. She succeeds Lawrence Wohlers of the United States.
“The Secretary-General is grateful to Mr. Wohlers for his dedicated service and political engagement during a critical time of transition and start-up of the peacekeeping operation,” said UN spokesperson Farhan Haq.