5 February 2013

Central African Republic: UN Chief Welcomes Formation of Unity Government in Central African Republic

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the formation of the Government of National Unity in the Central African Republic (CAR), and called on all parties to abide by the ceasefire agreement signed last month.

"This is an important step towards the consolidation of the peacebuilding process," said a statement issued by Mr. Ban's spokesperson, referring to the formation of the new government.

A list of the new members in the transition government was reportedly released on Sunday through a presidential decree. The move is in accordance with the agreements signed on 11 January in Libreville, Gabon, that include a ceasefire, statement of principles and a political pact that defines power-sharing arrangements and a period of political transition for the CAR.

The country saw renewed fighting in December, when an alliance of rebel groups - known, collectively, as 'Séléka' - launched a series of attacks and took control of major towns, before agreeing to start peace talks under the auspices of the regional group known as the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

The UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the CAR (BINUCA) is working with all parties involved in the conflict to facilitate the full implementation of the agreements as part of its mandate to help consolidate peace in the long-troubled nation, including support for security reform and reintegration of ex-combatants.

In today's statement, the Secretary-General encouraged the parties to respect the Ceasefire Agreement signed last month and to take appropriate measures to ensure the protection of civilians across the country.

He also emphasizes the urgent need for support from the international community to address humanitarian and assistance needs in CAR.

Even before the recent outbreak of fighting, CAR was one of the poorest countries in the world. It has the ninth highest rate of child mortality with 8 per cent of children between six months and five years of age suffering from moderate acute malnutrition and 1.9 per cent with severe acute malnutrition.

The recent conflict affected nearly 1.8 million people and left 800,000 in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

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