On the third day of his visit to the Central African Republic (CAR), United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday called on the international community to support the conflict-ravaged country’s peacebuilding and recovery strategy.
“There must be resources available for this country to have the solidarity it deserves to ensure its citizens a dignified life, and to ensure that government projects turn into a reality of peace, stability and prosperity,” Mr. Guterres told reporters in the nation’s capital, Bangui, following a meeting on the country’s plan regarding disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants and the security sector reform.
The Secretary-General saluted President Faustin-Archange Touadéra and his Government’s efforts to consolidate peace in the country and pledged the UN’s support to the extension of national institutions.
The UN chief highlighted the four linked components – security, State-building, national reconciliation and development – that shape the country’s vision for peacebuilding and recovery.
On the security front, Mr. Guterres noted that the UN Security Council has been asked to strengthen the capacity of its peacekeeping mission, known by its French acronym, MINUSCA, and its operational capacity to better protect civilians in the CAR.
Also in the other areas, the UN supports the Government’s projects, he said, stressing the importance of national ownership of those programmes.
The Secretary-General also called on armed groups to lay down their weapons so that they can participate in the political process of the country.
Noting that almost all religious conflicts he knows are caused by political manipulation, Mr. Guterres urged political, community and religious leaders in CAR to work towards true national reconciliation.
“Central African religious communities – Christians, Muslims and others – have always lived together,” he said. “It is imperative that political leaders, leaders of armed groups and community religious leaders call for genuine reconciliation, mutual respect, and the understanding that everyone must live together to build the new Central African Republic.”
In that regard, the international community must play its role. “We cannot leave the Central Africans abandoned. Everyone needs to be mobilized to help this country build a future that Central Africans deserve,” he emphasized.