United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the establishment in the Central African Republic (CAR) of a government in line with an early February peace deal struck with more than a dozen armed groups active in the country.
In a statement issued Saturday evening by a UN spokesperson, Mr. Guterres commended the leadership of the African Union, particularly in the successful conclusion of the consultations that were held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 18 to 20 March, with United Nations support on CAR.
This latest move towards a more inclusive Government in long-troubled CAR comes following the signing on 6 February in the capital, Bangui, of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation between the Government of CAR and 14 non-State armed groups.
CAR has been grappling with conflict since 2012, as fighting between the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militia and the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition killed thousands and left two out of three civilians dependent on humanitarian aid.
In 2013, armed groups seized the capital and then President François Bozizé was forced to flee. After a brief period of reduced violence in 2015, and elections held in 2016, fighting intensified again at the end of the year.
Peace talks had started on 24 January this year in Khartoum, Sudan, and lasted 10 days under the auspices of the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in CAR, led by the African Union with UN support.
In today's statement, the Secretary-General urged all signatories of the Political Agreement to adhere to its agreed principles, especially the rejection of violence and respect for human rights and human dignity.
"He further urges all signatories of the peace agreement to expedite its implementation," the statement said.
Mr. Guterres also reiterated the UN's commitment to assisting the CAR and called on "all partners" to continue to support the country's people and Government in their efforts to secure lasting peace.