The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 794th meeting held on 19 September 2018, received a briefing from the Commission on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Council took note of the briefing made by the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui, on the situation in the CAR.  Council also took note of the statements made by the Permanent Representative of CAR to the AU and the United Nations Office to the AU (UNOAU).

 Council recalled its previous communiqués and press statements on the situation in the CAR.

 Council expressed its grave concern at the continuing deterioration of the security situation in the CAR, in particular due to the continued attacks by armed groups against the civilian population, including targeted attacks on humanitarian workers, as well as against the troops of United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).  Council also expressed its deep concern at the consequences of this violence on the stabilization process in the country and on the cohesion between the communities in the CAR, as well as at the very worrying humanitarian situation in the country and impact on the neighbouring countries.

Council welcomed the AU sustained efforts through the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in CAR, with the support of the countries of the region, through the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), Cameroon, Gabon, Republic of Congo, DRC, Sudan and Chad and urged all stakeholders within the Initiative to participate actively in the implementation of the Roadmap adopted in Libreville, on 17 July 2017. In this regard, Council took note with appreciation of the work done by the Facilitation Panel, which, on 31 August 2018, handed over to the President of the CAR, Faustin-Archange TOUADERA, the list of grievances and demands expressed by the 14 armed groups of the CAR following extensive consultations with these groups in recent months and in this context, encouraged the Facilitators to continue and intensify their activities.

Council urged armed groups and self-defense militias to put an immediate end to their violent actions, with a view to creating the conditions for dialogue between the Government and the armed movements, under the auspices of the AU and within the framework of the African Initiative, and allow the fast and complete restoration of the authority of the State on the whole territory of the CAR. In this regard, the Council called on all armed groups to demonstrate a strong commitment to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programs, with the ultimate goal of sustainably restoring peace, security and stability in the CAR.

 Council welcomed President Faustin-Archange TOUADERA's open-minded and outstretched hand approach to armed groups and the promotion of dialogue and national reconciliation, and encouraged him to persevere in this direction with a view to creating, as soon as possible the necessary conditions for the stabilization of the country with a view to achieving peace and reconciliation. In this respect, Council took note of the “Draft Agreement for the Peace and Reconciliation in CAR”, proposed by the Government in response to the claims made by the armed group.

Council congratulated the Chairperson of the Commission for the visit undertaken in CAR on 18 September, during which he had consultations with the actors in CAR and reiterated the Support of the AU to the peace and reconciliation process in the country, within the framework of the African Initiative and the efforts by the Panel of Facilitators. Council requested the Chairperson of the Commission to continue and intensify AU support for the implementation of the African Initiative, in particular the provision of the AU's additional contribution to the budget foreseen for the funding of the pending activities of the Initiative and the holding of the national dialogue, following the consultations conducted by the Facilitation Panel. Council also requested the countries of the region, other AU Member States, and partners to contribute to the financing of the Panel's activities and the holding of the dialogue. Council welcomed the ongoing preparations for the dialogue with the support of partners of the African Initiative, Government of the CAR, armed groups, civil society organizations, women, journalists and the media.

Council underscored the need for the Central African actors to take full, in good faith, ownership of the peace and reconciliation process in their country, knowing that the countries of the region and the partners cannot take their place in the search for a sustainable solution to the challenges that CAR has been facing for so many years. The Council urged the Government of the CAR to urgently consider and respond to the concerns expressed by the armed groups.

Council commended the courageous action of MINUSCA, conducted in difficult conditions, to ensure the protection of the population against the abuses of armed and self-defence groups, in accordance with its mandate.

Council reaffirmed the relevance of the mandate of the AU Mission in CAR and Central Africa (MISAC) which, inter alia, is to contribute, in close collaboration with regional and international organizations, to peace efforts. , security and stability in the CAR and in the Central African region, in accordance with relevant AU decisions.

Council agreed to remain actively seized of the situation in the CAR.

Posted by Limi Mohammed

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Central African Republic