posted on Wed 15 Mar 2017 2:10 PM
Briefing on the Central African Republic

Tomorrow (16 March), the Security Council will be briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous and Central African Republic (CAR) President Faustin Archange Touadera on the situation in the CAR. It seems that France took the opportunity of President Touadera’s presence in New York to initiate the briefing.

On Monday (13 March), Council members held an informal interactive dialogue with the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and Head of the AU Mission for Central Africa and the Central African Region, Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt. The meeting, initiated by France, was an opportunity for Council members to receive information on a new mediation initiative in the CAR led by the AU and supported by the Economic Community of the Central Africa States, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, Angola, Chad and Republic of Congo.

Council members were mostly interested in obtaining information on the framework, objectives, and proposed agenda of the AU-led initiative, and to gauge how it correlates with the Council’s agenda and the good offices role of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), as well as with related efforts, notably strengthening Touadera’s government and fighting impunity. The meeting also served as an opportunity for Council members to share with Lebatt their views on the AU’s initiative.

Ladsous is expected to provide an update on the security situation in the CAR which remains precarious, taking a turn for the worse in the last half year. The government has limited control outside of the capital, Bangui, and efforts to convince various armed groups to disarm have not gained traction, with factions of the Muslim-dominated ex-Séléka and Christian anti-Balaka rebel groups declining to give up their hold on large areas. Since September 2016, violence among ex-Séléka factions, and between anti-Balaka, ex-Séléka, and other rebel groups, has become widespread and more frequent throughout the country. The presence of MINUSCA has not eliminated the threat of armed groups in great swathes of the country. Council members may want to hear Ladsous’ views about how MINUSCA can support the government in establishing control over these areas.

Touadera is likely to provide more information on the government-initiated talks with armed groups on disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration and repatriation. So far there has been little tangible progress on the talks, with some of the armed groups continuing to boycott them. He may also update on efforts to restore state institutions and expand state authority outside of Bangui.

Following tomorrow’s meeting, France may circulate a draft presidential statement, expressing the Council’s support for Touadera’s government’s efforts to restore state authority throughout the CAR and the AU-led initiative to mediate with armed groups in order to find a sustainable political solution to the situation in the CAR. Although the CAR is not being treated as a top priority issue for the Council, there seems to be a consensus that achieving security and stabilising the CAR will necessitate a long-term engagement from the Council and MINUSCA.