Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you Special Representative Ndiaye, for your briefing. The United States looks forward to a collaborative and productive relationship with you, and we appreciate the seriousness with which you have taken up your new role to implement MINUSCA’s mandate to its fullest.
Director Vervaeke, thank you for your briefing today and for the EU’s important work in the Central African Republic. Special Representative Matondo, we appreciate the African Union’s efforts, alongside the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and MINUSCA, to pursue accountability and prevent reprisals following the May massacres in Lemouna and Koundjili. The United States condemns these horrific, premeditated attacks, which were flagrant violations of the February 6 peace agreement.
We take note of and appreciate the role of the Government of the Central African Republic, MINUSCA, the AU, and ECCAS in securing the handover of the three suspects and stopping the spread of violence. We call on 3R, the armed group that conducted the attacks, to hand over additional perpetrators, dismantle its bases and barriers in the area of the attack, and demobilize and disarm immediately.
This peace agreement is the Central African Republic’s best prospect for ending violence and achieving lasting peace and security. There must be accountability for violations of this agreement.
Despite these troubling attacks, there has been noteworthy progress since February. We welcome the momentum in the Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration, and Repatriation (DDRR) process, including the receipt of many armed groups’ lists of candidates for DDRR and the work of MINUSCA’s first mobile demobilization team with the RJ-Sayo armed group in Boar.
This work, including proper vetting for former armed group members, is essential because Central Africans will only trust the CAR military and mixed brigades to protect them when they are confident that these soldiers are indeed committed to protecting – and not targeting – civilians. CAR citizens told us in clear terms during the 2015 Bangui Forum that justice and accountability is a high priority. It is also a priority for the United States.
We commend the signatories to the agreement for acknowledging the need for justice and accountability and for their work to establish the Inclusive Commission. We urge all parties to fully support and cooperate with the Special Criminal Court.
The United States is watching the situation in CAR and the progress towards implementation of the peace agreement closely. We are committed both to ensuring signatories to the peace agreement keep their word and to applying consequences, both through U.S. domestic authorities and through the Security Council, for those individuals and groups that undermine the agreement.
We hope we will not need to resort to such mechanisms. Instead, we urge parties to the agreement – and all partners – to work to advance the many signs of hope for CAR. This means participating fully in the Executive Follow-up Committee, holding accountable the individuals or groups that have violated terms of the peace agreement, and pursuing justice for those responsible for mass atrocities.
We look forward to continuing to work with the UN, African Union, ECCAS, and other partners in pursuit of the faithful implementation of the peace agreement and the lasting peace and security the signatories can bring to the people of the Central African Republic as a result.
Thank you, Mr. President.