‘Everyone must be on board’ for peace in Central African Republic: UN’s Lacroix

10 January 2019

The agreement by the Government and armed groups in the Central African Republic to hold talks later this month (CAR) is “an important step to resolve the country’s crisis”, said the UN peacekeeping chief, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, on Thursday.

“Now there is a path, it is the path of dialogue. There is a date to start this dialogue, it's 24 January,” said the head of the Department of Peace Operations (DPO), speaking to reporters in the capital Bangui. “There is an organization…which will convene and organize these discussions in Khartoum, it is the African Union,” he added.

Mr. Lacroix has been in the country since Tuesday, alongside the African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, in a bid to revive a stalled peace process. During his visit, he appealed for all international actors to ensure that 2019 is “the year of peace” for CAR.

Speaking before departing the country, Mr. Lacroix said that all Central Africans needed to be involved, adding that “everyone must be on board and everyone must be mobilized for it to succeed”.

He called for a “period of dialogue and commitment to ensure that the country can turn the page of the violence”, highlighting the importance of the apparent momentum that represents a “chance for the Central African Republic”.

For his part, African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, underlined "everyone's" commitment to implement the initiative. "This is the moment, it is a historic moment for all, really, to stand together and look to the future of this country," he added.

CAR has been grappling with violence since fighting between the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militia and the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition broke out in 2012. While a peace agreement was reached in January 2013, rebels seized the capital that March, forcing then President François Bozizé to flee.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in 2019, 2.9 million people, more than half of whom are children, will need humanitarian and protection assistance; more than 63 per cent of a population of 4.6 million. 

Concerned with the security, humanitarian, human rights and political crisis within the country and its implications for the region, the UN Stabilization Mission in CAR, MINUSCA began operating in 2014 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

With the protection of civilians as its utmost priority, Chapter VII provides for the use of force – meaning, with Security Council authority, peacekeepers may respond to acts of aggression in kind.

 

Help us know what you think about UN News and ensure we meet your needs: take 4 minutes to take our survey!

♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox - Subscribe here to a topic.
♦ Download the UN News app for your iOS or Android devices.

News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

Central African Republic: Guterres says UN mission committed to protecting civilians, helping stabilize country, as violence flares

Amid a recent uptick in violence in the Central African Republic (CAR), United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Saturday said he stood in solidarity with the crisis torn country and warned that attacks against defenseless civilians and UN ‘blue helmets’ may amount to war crimes.

‘Reasons to hope’ for sustainable peace in Central African Republic – UN Mission chief

The top United Nations official in the Central African Republic (CAR), said on Tuesday he is “hopeful that the necessary foundations to build sustainable peace” have been established and that long-lasting stability will depend on the will of its people, and support from the international community.