1. The International Contact Group on the Central African Republic (ICG-CAR) held its 8th meeting in Addis Ababa, on 27 July 2015, under the co-Chairmanship of Ambassador Smaïl Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union (AU) and Mr. Charles Richard Mondjo, Minister of State in the Office of the President in charge of National Defense of the Republic of the Congo. The countries and Organizations that participated in the meeting is attached are listed as a footnote on Page 1[1].

[1] Angola, Australia, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, CAR, Chad, Republic  of Congo, DRC, Egypt, , France, Gabon, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America, Zimbabwe, ADB, CEEAC, European Union, ICRC, OIC, OIF, United Nations and World Bank

2. The Opening ceremony was marked by speeches made by the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Gabonese Republic, on behalf of the current Chairman of Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the ECCAS in the CAR, the Prime Minister of the CAR and the Minister of Defence of the Republic of the Congo.

3. Participants welcomed the high level participation in the meeting through the Ministers and Heads of Delegation of Burundi, Uganda, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, the CAR, Chad and The Sudan. They took note of the Conclusions of the 16th Ordinary Session of the ECCAS Conference of Heads of State and Government, held in N'Djamena, on 25 May 2015, during which the Conference adopted the principle of extending the Transitional period to enable the Authorities of the Transition organize free, fair and credible elections before the end of 2015. They recalled the Conclusions of the ECCAS Extraordinary Summit on the fight against the Boko Haram group, held on 16 February 2015 in Yaounde, particularly the establishment of the quadripartite Mechanism comprising Chad, Cameroon, the CAR and MINUSCA.

4. Participants also took note of the Conclusions of the international conference on the humanitarian needs, the recovery and building the resilience capacity of the CAR, held in Brussels on 26 May 2015 during which the European Commission increased its aid to the Central African Republic for an amount of € 72 million and other specific financial contributions.

5. Participants expressed the determination of their respective organizations and countries to continue to support the authorities and the people of the Central African Republic to carry out successfully the ongoing political Transition and enable the restoration of the Constitutional order.

6. Participants noted that the 8th meeting of the ICG-CAR was held on the eve of the crucial deadlines for the Transition process that require additional mobilization of financial resources and stronger political will of the authorities of the Transition for the restoration of the Constitutional order at the end of 2015. These include the organization of the Constitutional referendum and Parliamentary and Presidential elections before the end of 2015 which will mark the end of the Transition; the Pre Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Programme and the Security Sector Reform.

7. Participants considered the development of the situation in the CAR since the 7th meeting of the ICG-CAR, held in Brazzaville, on 16 March 2015, on the basis of the presentations made by the Prime Minister of the CAR and the members of his delegation, the Special Representatives of the AU, the United Nations and ECCAS in the CAR and the World Bank representative, on behalf of the Coordinating Group for the preparation and monitoring of the meetings of the ICG-CAR (G8- CAR), and the exchange of views that followed.

On the Political and Security Aspects

8. Participants noted with satisfaction the convening of the National Forum of Bangui from 4 to 11 May 2015, Phase III of the political process initiated in Brazzaville, in July 2014. In this regard, the participants welcomed the Conclusions of the Forum, including the adoption of the Republican Pact for Peace, National Reconciliation and Reconstruction in the Central African Republic, the Agreement on the Principles of the DDRR and Integration in the body of Uniformed Services of the Central African State between the Government of the Transition and the armed groups and the Agreement of the political and military groups participating in the Bangui Forum to end the recruitment and use of children as well as other serious violations of the rights of the child. Participants also welcomed the participation of all the economically active forces of the nation, including many representatives of the populations of the 16 prefectures, the Diaspora and refugees.

9. Participants took note of the establishment of the Monitoring Committee of the National Bangui Forum by Decree of 23 May 2015, to ensure the implementation of the recommendations of Bangui Forum. They urged the Monitoring Committee of the Bangui Forum to endeavor for the completion of the Transition process on time. They welcomed the contribution of the OIF to the organization of the Workshop on the enrichment of the Draft Constitution by the economically active people of the nation.

10. Participants also noted the Conclusions of the National Workshop on the Enrichment of the Proposed Draft Constitution, held from 3 to 6 July 2015. Similarly they stressed the participation of all the Central Africans in the elections, including the refugees, in conformity with the inclusive spirit of the Bangui Forum, respect for the Charter of the Transition which, in its Article 20, stipulates that all CAR citizens have the right to vote, in conformity with the relevant AU and ECCAS instruments, as well as UN resolutions.

11. Participants appealed to the Authorities of the Transition to guarantee compliance with the Constitutional Charter of the Transition, particularly the issue of ineligibility. In this regard, they stressed that the international community was paying attention to the honoring of the commitments made by the Central African political parties within the framework of the Libreville Agreements in January 2013 and that everything should be done so that the referendum scheduled for the adoption of a new Constitution be not exploited by the political actors to return to the ineligibility clause in the Charter of Transition. They also called for strict respect for the ineligibility clause of political actors affected by the sanctions imposed by the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and/or by the UN Security Council and the Authorities of the Transition.

12. Participants noted that the security situation as a whole was clearly improving, with the support of international forces, MINUSCA and Sangaris which contributed to the security of the towns. They noted with satisfaction the joint action of the internal security and MINUSCA-Police Forces in the fight against acts of criminality and banditry in the country and the gradual involvement of the residents of the capital together with the MINUSCA-Police and international forces in securing their areas.

13. Participants noted with satisfaction the promulgation of the Law on 3 June 2015 establishing the Special Criminal Court to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of CAR since 2003 and to prosecute the perpetrators. They reiterated the importance to carry out investigations on the allegations of sexual violence, sexual exploitation and abuse of children that were perpetrated during the crisis in conformity with the recommendations of the UN and the AU. Participants also welcomed the resumption of the activities of the criminal division of the Court of Appeal of Bangui which did not convene since 2010 as a sign of commitment of the Government to fight against impunity and the restoration of the rule of law. Participants welcomed the peaceful atmosphere prevailing in general in the country. In this context, they called upon all the stakeholders, the international community including the humanitarian agencies operating in the CAR to redouble efforts to conclude the Transition and improve the living conditions of the central African people.

On Humanitarian Aspects

14. Participants expressed their willingness to work to improve the still worrisome humanitarian situation of the IDPs, who face both the rainy season and epidemics. On the other hand they noted with satisfaction the return since the month of March 2015 of the IDPs to Bangui. Participants encouraged the Authorities of the Transition, with the support of international partners, to continue these efforts to support the voluntary return by establishing the conditions conducive to the respect of the freedom of movement, the capacity building for providing basic social services and the pursuit of efforts made within the framework of activities to promote social cohesion and inter-community dialogue. They expressed their satisfaction with the efforts made by the humanitarian actors and reiterated their appreciation to the neighboring countries which hosted refugees from CAR.

15. Participants reminded the Authorities of the Transition of the recommendation of the 6th meeting of the ICG-CAR on the dismantling of the IDP camp currently located at Bangui airport. They welcomed the progress made and urged the Authorities of the Transition to fully implement the recommendation.

On the Electoral Process

16. Participants took note of the principle of the extension of the Transition period as accepted by ECCAS in order to ensure a sound organization of elections for a speedy restoration of Constitutional order with the participation of all Central African citizens, including the refugees so as to preserve national unity and reconciliation.

17. Participants noted with satisfaction the financial contributions to the programme to support the Central African Electoral Cycle (PACEC), signed on 25 November 2014, establishing a Trust Fund (Basket Fund) with particularly the AU ($ 500,000), Italy (200 000 Euros), Japan (70, 000 Euros), the additional contribution of 2 million Euros by France and a possible bilateral contribution of 2 million Dollars of the United States of America. They also encouraged the initiatives to reduce the budget of PACEC through contacts with the Member States of ECCAS and ECOWAS for borrowing the election materials and the commitment of some partners to support the transportation of the said materials to Bangui.

18. In this regard, Participants welcomed the efforts of the Government, the ANE with the support of the international community and international partners for the organization on the scheduled date of inclusive elections open to all in accordance with the Charter of the Transition and the Electoral Code. They encouraged the Follow-up and Coordination initiatives of the Strategic Committee on Elections (CSSE) set up by the Government and welcomed the significant progress made by that body in the strict respect of the election schedules.

19. Participants made an urgent appeal to the international community to take advantage of this favorable political and security context to pursue its commitment by providing additional funding as soon as possible.

On the Economic and Financial Situation

20. Participants took good note of a moderate but real return to economic growth after two years of sharp decline, thanks to the improved security situation throughout the country and especially along the Douala-Bangui corridor. They also noted a significant increase in the domestic revenue, part of which was the result of a better collection of VAT by the tax services.

21. However, participants encouraged the Government to pursue more forcefully the reforms in public financial management, especially the effective establishment of the Treasury’s Central Accounting Agency, the application of measures to fight against tax and especially customs fraud and the redeployment of the financial authorities within the country. They also encouraged the Government to take the initial measures to revive the economy, for example by revitalizing the Permanent Consultative Framework (CPC) between the public and private sectors to gradually improve the business climate. In this regard, it is important that all those actions be planned, implemented and coordinated within a macroeconomic framework which encouraged a systematic management of the reconstruction of the country. In this regard, the participants called upon the AU in relation with its institutions and partners concerned to work out a Post conflict reconstruction strategy.

22. Finally, participants made an urgent appeal to the international partners to continue budgetary support to the CAR in 2016. They welcomed the principled position of the EU, France, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), to continue their efforts in this direction being understood that the government would have made progress in 2015 in terms of public financial management as mentioned above.

On the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Programme

23. Participants welcomed the signing on 10 May 2015 of the Agreement on the Principles of DDRR and Integration in the Uniformed Services of the Central African State between the Government of the Transition and the armed groups. In conformity with Article 4 of the Agreement, pending the mobilization of resources for the DDRR and in order to establish a peaceful environment for the elections, participants welcomed the mobilization of $ 10 million by MINUSCA which made it possible to launch the pre-DDRR activities in Bangui and in the interior of the country, allowing the grouping, disarmament, identification and sensitization of the combatants of the different signatory armed groups for their future care by the Government of the Transition supported by MINUSCA.

24. Participants urged the international community to continue its support to the Government of the Transition by mobilizing the necessary funding for the implementation of the DDRR programme, which amounts to $ 28.5 million and $ 20 million for the supplementary Community Violence Reduction (CVR) Programme.

25. Participants requested the Authorities of the Transition to continue thinking about all the possibilities to adapt the DDRR to the realities on the ground and to take into account the financial and other constraints faced by the country.

On the Security Sector Reform

26. Participants stressed the need for the Authorities of the Transition to organize a political discussion with all the national stakeholders in order to reach a consensus and a common understanding of the national security priorities and the reforms to be carried out in the Defense and Security Sector. In this regard they pointed out that those reforms would constitute the priority of the Government to be elected. They underscored that the proposed Security Sector Reform should be a strategic security framework comprising a national security policy in an inclusive approach comprising all the civilian, State and non-State actors in order to lay down the future conditions for a democratic control over the security institutions.

27. Participants welcomed the progress made with the support of the EUMAM to the Defense and Security Sectors. In this regard they stressed the need to pursue the efforts to reorganize the FACA for their gradual deployment according to the agreed norms in close coordination with MINUSCA and other partners concerned.

On the Follow up of the Conclusions of the ICG-CAR Meeting

28. Participants requested the International Mediation, with the support of the G8-CAR, to ensure the follow up of the relevant provisions of these Conclusions, particularly regarding the drafting of the new Constitution and the organization of elections.

Gratitude and Next Meeting

29. Participants thanked the AU Commission for the organization of the 8th meeting of the ICG-CAR and for the welcome accorded to them. They expressed their appreciation to the G8-CAR for the smooth preparation of the meeting. Participants agreed to convene their next meeting in Bangui, in October/November 2015 at a date to be fixed after consultations.

Posted by Tchioffo Kodjo
Last updated by Limi Mohammed

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