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JOINT A-3 STATEMENT ON THE SITUATION IN CAR



JOINT A-3 STATEMENT

(GHANA, MOZAMBIQUE, GABON)

BY

Michel Xavier BIANG

AMBASSADOR AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF GABON TO THE UNITED NATIONS

February 21 2022




Madam President,

1. I deliver this statement on behalf of the members of the A3 namely, Ghana, Mozambique and Gabon.

2. We thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mrs. Valentine Rugwabiza and Omar HILALE,Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco, Chairperson of CAR Peacebuilding Commission for their informative briefings on the latest developments in the Central African Republic and on the activities of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

3. I welcome the participation in this meeting of CAR Minister of Foreign Affairs of H.E. Mrs. Sylvie Baïpo-Temon.


Madam President,


4. The Secretary-General's report on the situation in Central African Republic and its consequences for peace and stability gives us the opportunity to reiterate the A3 support to the restoration of peace and security in the Central African Republic (CAR) despite both security and humanitarian challenges, this country is showing remarkable resilience that deserves to be recognized and supported.


We will examine these three pillars in the light of the Secretary-General's report.


At the political level,


5. On the political level, the A3 take note of the debates around the composition of the Constitutional Court and note that the regular referral to it, by civil society and opposition actors, reflects its scope and its driving role. We encourage the Central African authorities to continue discussions with all political actors to maintain a space for discussion, necessary to definitively silence the voice of arms.


6. The Government's efforts to organize the 1st local elections for more than 20 years are appreciable. These elections, which could be held if the security situation permits, in the country's 176 communes, are awaited by the Central African people, who aspire to lasting peace and free, transparent and credible elections. We welcome the establishment of the dismemberments of the National Elections Authority in 20 prefectures of the country and the finalization of the electoral mapping despite the multiplication of security incidents by sporadic attacks by armed groups.


7. The A3 recall that the overall budget for the organization of local elections is estimated at around 11 million dollars and the Central African state has made a financial commitment of 4.56 million dollars. In a difficult economic context, the financial support of the international community is crucial for the effective holding of local elections, within the agreed deadlines.


8. As a sign of goodwill, CAR has signed a local election financing agreement with UNDP that guarantees the transparency of the funds allocated to the Electoral Process Support Project (PAPEC) directly managed by UNDP. The holding of these local elections is a crucial step that fully contributes to the restoration of State authority, essential to the stabilization of the CAR.


9. It would be a pity if the hard-won gains so far, at the cost of considerable effort, were to be wiped out at this stage. The CAR crisis has an impact on international peace and security, a competence of the Security Council, and it is important to mobilize the international community alongside the Central African authorities so that these local elections, demanded by the populations, are held.


10. We also welcome the continued support of the International Organization of Francophonie (OIF) in strengthening democracy and the rule of law in CAR, particularly through support actions for institutions such as the National Authority for Elections, the Constitutional Court, the National Commission for Human Rights.


11. We encourage the Central African authorities to continue their efforts against disinformation and misinformation, in particular through the actions of the High Authority for Communication. We also call upon the government of the CAR to continue its efforts to ensure social cohesion and tolerance which are prerequisites for durable peace in the CAR. There should, therefore, be no place for hate speech and incitement to violence within the CAR. Perpetrators of such acts should be swiftly brought to justice by CAR authorities.


12. At the regional level, Ghana, Mozambique and Gabon welcome the holding on February 8, in Luanda, of CAR, Angola and Chad tripartite summit devoted in particular to the political and security situation prevailing in CAR. This mini-summit is a considerable step forward in strengthening bilateral relations between CAR and Chad, which is crucial for the consolidation of security at the borders that separate these two countries.


13. The A3 take note of the announcement, in December 2022, of the complete dissolution of four armed groups signatories to the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Central African Republic (APPR-CAR). We are encouraged by the holding of the second meeting of the strategic review for the further implementation of the Political Agreement through the joint roadmap of the ICGLR and we ask all signatories of the APPR-CAR to support the holding of local elections and thus prioritize political solutions to the resolution of the crisis in the country.


14. The A3 welcome the active role of African Union, ICGLR and ECCAS in CAR and welcome the visit of the Council of Elders of African Union in November 2022 to Bangui which is a palpable sign of the African Union's determination to continue to promote mediation and prevent conflicts in this country. We invite sub-regional organizations to become more involved in strengthening inter-state cooperation to secure common borders.


Madam President,

On the security point


15. We are deeply concerned by the continuous cycle of violence to which armed groups are subjecting the civilian population and by the asymmetrical attacks against MINUSCA and FACA who struggle daily to preserve the territorial integrity of the country.


16. Ghana, Mozambique and Gabon strongly condemn all these repeated attacks against the civilian population, MINUSCA personnel, FACA and the increasing use of explosive devices by armed groups that impede the free movement of persons and goods. We express our condolences and sympathy to all the families of the victims and call on Central African authorities to take all appropriate measures to bring to justice those guilty of these heinous crimes.


17. The A3 stress that lasting peace is only possible if Central African authorities have the capacity to take control of their territory, to effectively complete the implementation of the Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration and Repatriation (DDRR) Program, to ensure successful reintegration of demobilized armed groups into social life. We invite international partners to mobilize to financially support the country in its quest for peace and development, in order to address the root causes of insecurity.


18. There is no military solution to the crisis in CAR, there are only political solutions. However, there is no solution if there is no answer to the root causes of instability. Economic development and restoration of basic services must be financially supported. CAR, already weakened by internal crises, must also face multiple crises such as Covid 19, rising oil and food prices, that weigh heavily on its future. Overcoming this cycle of violence and crisis absolutely requires economic development and the restoration of basic services, which must be financially supported by the international community.


19. Moreover, we note with satisfaction the lifting of the ban on night flights in favor of MINUSCA. Dialogue and the strengthening of cooperation between the Central African authorities and MINUSCA must continue in order to jointly define the appropriate procedures for the protection of Central African airspace against possible attacks.


20. We welcome the unity of the Security Council in adopting the resolution 2648 (2022) on the lifting of the arms embargo. We believe that this significant step forward will enable the country to continue its actions to protect its populations, defend its territory and its natural resources.


21. It is necessary that FACA be able to assume their sovereign missions throughout the territory. Faced with new security challenges that result in a continuous increase in asymmetric threats, the A3 remain convinced that the strengthening of FACA operational capabilities must be commensurate with the new threats that arise on the ground. To this end, training and capacity-building activities for the defense and security forces must be intensified, particularly in the areas of mine clearance, logistics and human rights. We reiterate that allowing MINUSCA to continue in the Central African Republic will be considered an admission of failure for the international community. The Central African forces must ultimately be able to secure their territory in a sustainable manner.


Madam President,


22. There is no security without justice. We commend the actions of MINUSCA in favor of capacity building for magistrates in particular. However, we wonder about the continuous increase in human rights violations, due to the methodology used to identify them, which unfortunately does not reflect the efforts of the Central African authorities in this area, supported by MINUSCA.


23. We repeat that CAR is facing multidimensional challenges that require increased mobilization of resources, particularly in terms of infrastructure construction, capacity building, purchasing equipment, personnel training, key steps for the restoration of State authority.


24. CAR cannot meet these challenges without the support of development partners. Promoting a critical approach in the field of human rights, without taking into account the qualitative and significant efforts of the Government, falls far short of the reality and priorities of the country. It is important that this approach be more balanced and constructive.

On the humanitarian situation


Madam President,


25. The humanitarian crisis in CAR continues to worsen amid an upsurge in violence against civilians by armed groups and insecurity in localities outside urban centers. We strongly condemn attacks on humanitarians by armed groups, which significantly hamper their work on the ground. As a result, millions of people are seeing their levels of vulnerability and livelihoods erode.


26. The A3 welcome the commitment of humanitarians despite the security risks and we invite donors to remain mobilized for the financing of the Humanitarian Response Plan to meet the assistance needs of 3.4 million Central Africans, including 1.6 million children.


27. In conclusion, Ghana, Mozambique and Gabon reaffirm their commitment to respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of CAR. We reiterate our support for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ms. Rugwabiza, and her team for their constantly renewed efforts on the ground.


I thank you.

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