At a Security Council briefing on the Central African Republic, or CAR, Ambassador Robert Wood, U.S. Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs, emphasized three key components necessary for the CAR Government to succeed in protecting civilians and providing stability.
The first is the essential role of MINUSCA, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission, whose mandate for renewal is coming up in November. Ambassador Wood mourned the recent deaths and injuries of several Mission peacekeepers:
“Despite the difficult operating environment, MINUSCA has made contributions to peace and security over the past year, in partnership with the Central African Republic government and civil society. ... Joint operations and enhanced mobility of mission personnel are an important means to empower the country’s security forces to provide for the Central African people and support a durable and responsible restoration of state authority.”
He also praised MINUSCA’s work in mitigating the threat of explosive ordnance through risk reduction sessions for over 5,000 civilians and capacity-building for national forces, as well as the CAR Government’s decision to create a national authority to address the ordnance threat.
The second key component, Ambassador Wood said, is for CAR’s partners, including MINUSCA, to support local elections, scheduled for October 2024. The elections, he underscored, must be conducted in a transparent, timely, and inclusive manner.
“It has been far too long since Central Africans have been able to elect local leaders,” he said. “We stress the importance of the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women and youth at all levels in political dialogue, and throughout the elections process.”
Finally, said Ambassador Wood, while it is important to combat the armed groups that refuse to participate in the peace process, the CAR government should resume dialogue with the opposition and armed groups within the framework of the peace process, and for the opposition to engage constructively.
Mr. Wood also warned against the Wagner Group:
“It is well documented that Kremlin-backed Wagner Group forces are engaging in illicit extraction of the CAR’s mineral wealth, without contributing to the country’s development.”
“We call upon all actors to choose the path of peace,” said Ambassador Wood. “The Central African people deserve a political solution that will unlock the country’s potential. The United States remains a steadfast partner of the Central African people.”