Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Ambassador Delattre, for France’s efforts to ensure MINUSCA has the mandate to address the evolving situation in the Central African Republic.
This has been a challenging year for the UN mission in the Central African Republic, as evidenced by the 12 peacekeepers who lost their lives in the cause of peace. To the peacekeepers – know that your efforts have not gone unnoticed.
In particular, I’d highlight MINUSCA’s work to protect thousands of Muslim IDPs trapped on the grounds of a church in Bangassou. MINUSCA remains focused on what we believe are core principles of peacekeeping: it has a clear exit strategy, has the consent and full support of the CAR government, and is making notable progress on its mandated tasks, including helping to advance a political solution.
Today the Security Council reaffirmed that it is invested in the peace and security of CAR, and we believe that MINUSCA is headed in the right direction. The United States considers each peacekeeping operation carefully to ensure we have the most effective and efficient forces possible. In some cases this has prompted us to call for a reconfiguration or reorientation of a mission. In MINUSCA’s case, we believe additional capacity will provide MINUSCA the necessary flexibility to address emerging threats and to fulfill its protection of civilians mandate.
But simply adding troops will never be enough to guarantee success. As Ambassador Haley has noted previously, we need to focus on the quality of troops deployed not just the number of troops. We must also be willing to address the mission’s shortcomings and take steps to improve troop performance. It took years for peacekeepers to meet UN equipment standards, and numerous reports of sexual exploitation and abuse – SEA – have long afflicted the mission. We recognize that the mission’s leadership has confronted these obstacles head on and is committed to having troops who meet the highest performance standards. This resolution provides much stronger requirements for preventing and reporting on SEA and for reporting on performance indicators of force effectiveness more broadly.
The United States voted in favor of this resolution because we remain committed to supporting focused, effective peacekeeping missions that are working tirelessly to execute their mandates, creating the conditions to improve the lives of the people they have come to serve. We recognize that this goes hand in hand with building the capacity of the CAR government, including CAR’s armed forces, police, and gendarmerie, so they may take on the role as primary security provider for the Central African Republic’s people.
We hope that the CAR government and MINUSCA will continue to work together to ensure that the citizens of CAR experience the peace and prosperity that has long eluded them.
Thank you, Mr. President.