Central African Republic: In Bangui, UN Peacekeeping Chief Discusses Roll-Out of Central African Republic Mission

The head of United Nations peacekeeping operations continued today his visit to the Central African Republic (CAR), where he met a range of stakeholders and pledged that "no effort will be spared" towards full deployment of a newly mandated 12,000-strong UN mission to help stabilize the crisis-riven country.

At a press conference earlier today in the CAR capital of Bangui, Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations, told reporters that he had headed to the country as soon as possible following the Security Council's unanimous authorization on 10 April of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission, to be known as MINUSCA.

"I have come... to personally get a more accurate picture of the situation. To hear from the different actors and stakeholders, to be sure that we integrate all these elements in the vision we have for deployment of MINUSCA, "said Mr. Ladsous, emphasizing the Organization's commitment to help usher the country of "this terrible crisis," and end the suffering that has continued "far too long."

Fighting in CAR has taken on an increasingly sectarian nature following a 2012 coup and has since grown more brutal with reports of ongoing human rights violations and reprisal attacks between largely Christian anti-balaka and mostly Muslim Séléka rebels that have displaced hundreds of thousands of people both inside and outside the country, and left 2.2 million in need of humanitarian aid.

The new UN Mission will take over the responsibilities of the African-led International Support Mission, known as MISCA, and, as from 15 September 2014, will initially comprise up to 10,000 military personnel, including 240 military observers and 200 staff officers, as well as 1,800 police personnel.

Further, the Council has requested Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to incorporate the presence of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) into MINUSCA and to ensure "a seamless transition" from one entity to the other.

"I think we are now in a phase where we will work hard to ramp up MINUSCA, building on the excellent work that had already been the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Gaye [in] BINUCA," said Mr. Ladsous.

The new mission will aim to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian access in the war-torn country, and Mr. Ladsous said the shift from a political office to a peacekeeping operation would enhance the UN capacities on the ground, including through the deployment of civilian teams, as well as military and police components.

"[MINUSCA's aim] is therefore to create safe conditions for significant improvement in the situation. It will help restore [State authority] and its various institutions. It is also to help with a political process... and national reconciliation," he added.

"We will spare no efforts... and I think we have the desire to work with all stakeholders in the international community, with our partners in the African Union, in the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and major regional actors, all in a unity of vision, "Mr. Ladsous declared, adding that the CAR Government must also play a key role in easing the crisis.

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