U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
December 9, 2020
Thank you, Mr. President. Special Representative Fall, thank you for your informative and insightful briefing on the current situation in Central Africa. We appreciate the Secretary-General’s report concerning recent events in the region and commend your and your team’s efforts to promote long-term peace and stability.
Of all the countries under your purview, as was noted earlier, perhaps one of the greatest concerns is Cameroon, where more than 6.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance – 2.3 million people more than at the beginning of the year. Cameroon is facing multiple crises, including terrorist attacks in the Far North, ongoing violence in the Anglophone regions, and the impact of significant refugee flows from its neighbors, all of which are compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are deeply troubled by the recent increase in attacks by separatist armed groups on civilians, including arson and kidnappings, and as was noted by my UK colleague, the murder of school children in Kumba on October 24 is particularly abhorrent.
Recent events in Cameroon are a clear indication that a political solution is needed to end the violence. We urge the leaders of separatist groups and the Cameroonian government to take bold steps to build confidence and move toward a meaningful dialogue. UNOCA can support them in this effort.
We are also closely following Burundi as the Office of the Special Envoy there prepares to close. We urge the Burundian government to continue to work with you, Special Representative Fall, as well as the Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, and others to develop a reasonable timeline for that office’s closure.
In the Central African Republic, the United States appreciates the regional role that the Economic Community of Central African States plays to support the peace agreement by engaging the Central African Republic’s neighbors. We strongly support ECCAS’s continued work with the countries of the region to support the Central African Republic’s stability, especially as that country prepares for national elections on December 27.
The United States commends all Central African countries for their efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a profound impact on the region, as you noted today. As countries continue to battle this unprecedented crisis, regional solidarity is crucial.
We commend ECCAS’s adoption of the COVID-19 Regional Response Strategy for Central Africa and laud the efforts by the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, the Bank of Central African States, the Development Bank of Central African States, and the Paris Club to preserve macro-economic stability in the region.
Finally, Mr. President, we encourage UNOCA and states in the region to work with the United Nations, African Union, and other relevant partners to develop viable strategies to strengthen their capacity for conflict prevention. This includes adding a gender perspective and building on partnerships with civil society.
To that end, we applaud the renewed commitment by ECCAS Heads of State and Government to operationalize the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Peace and Conflict Prevention in Central Africa in pursuit of the UN’s Women, Peace, and Security agenda.
The United States will continue to do all we can to help the people of the Central African region create a future for themselves that is strong, peaceful, and prosperous. We look forward to working with our partners here on the Council, and those in the region, to make that future a reality.
Thank you, Mr. President.