At UN transition leader urges support as wartorn Central African Republic pursues

Catherine Samba-Panza told delegations that the Assembly’s high-level debate is taking place amid a “difficult situation” in her country. Political instability and internal conflicts had plunged the Central African Republic (CAR) into a state of extreme vulnerability. “The country has been shaken and its people are facing tragic situations,” she said. In January 2014, her predecessor resigned, Ms. Samba-Panza said, noting that subsequently, her leadership had given rise to hope. She was the country’s first female President; “a radical break from the past”. She had set out to address the myriad challenges, embarking on efforts to restore security and peace, address the humanitarian crisis, launch activities that fostered economic growth, and ensure the convening of free, transparent elections.The CAR has been embroiled in fighting, fuelled by what are believed to be inter-communal retaliatory attacks between anti-balaka and Séléka rebels, after the latter were ousted from power in January 2014. The UN estimates 2.2 million people are believed to be in need of humanitarian aid as a result.Today, Ms. Samba-Panza told the Assembly that her call for international support for her transitional Government had not fallen on deaf ears, and she welcomed the Security Council’s establishment of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). Since 15 September, authority had been transferred from the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) to MINUSCA. The success of that transition depended upon the involvement of national security forces. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration would require substantial international support.On the humanitarian front, she said the number of internally displaced persons has dropped; 81 per cent have left the camps and returned to their communities. Yet, the situation is nevertheless concerning, as it hinges on fragile security. In addition, the conflict had cut the country’s economic growth rate by 36 per cent in 2013, plunging it into recession. She expressed hope that the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on rapid disbursement of funds will put the country on a path of growth.On the political front, Ms. Samba-Panza said that she has focused on “disarming hearts and minds” through national reconciliation. The Ebola outbreak and the spread of Boko Haram and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), terrorist groups in neighbouring Nigeria and Cameroon were also worrying, she added.She supported efforts to cut the illegal flow of small arms and light weapons and expressed commitment to fight impunity, noting that her country was a party to the Rome Statute. She also supported the effort of France and Mexico to limit the veto power in the Security Council in cases concerning such serious crimes as genocide. On climate change, she urged Member States to ratify the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol.

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