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An Important Step Toward Peace In The C.A.R.

African peacekeeping mission troops known as MISCA, listen to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power in Bangui, Central African Republic, April 9, 2014.

The United Nations Security Council voted to authorize creating an international peacekeeping force.

In an important step toward restoring stability in the Central African Republic, the United Nations Security Council voted to authorize creating an international peacekeeping force to be deployed there. The contingent, numbering up to 12,000 troops, police and corrections officers, will assume authority in September, building on the security gains made by African Union and French forces already in the country.

Bringing more security to the C.A.R is urgently needed to end the inter-religious fighting that has torn the nation apart and created a humanitarian crisis. Sources of the conflict are many, but much of the fighting has taken on a sectarian character as anti-balaka militias began attacking Muslim civilians in retaliation for Seleka rebel abuses. The violence has caused tens of thousands to flee their homes in the capital Bangui and the western half of the country.

In Bangui this month, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and Africa Affairs Assistant Secretary Linda Thomas-Greenfield met with the C.A.R.’s Transitional President Catherine Samba-Panza. Taking office in late January, President Samba-Panza has worked tirelessly under extremely difficult conditions, and Ambassador Power assured her of our nation’s continued commitment to helping her government and the people of her country.

As AU-MISCA forces transitions to a U.N. peacekeeping operation, or UN PKO, the United States will continue working with others in the international community to ensure that the A.U. Troop Contributing Countries, French, and soon-to-arrive European Union forces have the support they need to mitigate the violence and the humanitarian challenges facing the people of the CAR right now.