Thank you, Mr. President, and thanks also to SRSG Onanga-Anyanga and to Special Representative Nebie and Commander Maio for their detailed briefings this morning.
The United States expresses our deepest condolences for the Tanzanian peacekeeper who died on June 3 and the Burundian peacekeeper who died on June 10. We also extend our hope for a speedy recovery of those injured in the latest attacks.
The collective goal of the international community must be to achieve a political solution for durable peace and recovery in CAR. We need to work together to communicate positive progress where it’s occurring and to counter narratives by spoilers who seek to destabilize CAR for their own benefit. We remain committed to President Touadera and his government. President Touadera continues to strive for peace, justice, and accountability and the prevention of future atrocities, and we are pleased that CAR’s Special Criminal Court is operational and ready to hold perpetrators accountable.
The African Union-led peace initiative offers a reasonable starting point for the parties to discuss and conclude a peace agreement. The United States supports this effort and is eager for the AU to begin talks with, and mediation among, the parties to the conflict. We want to invigorate this process, and we believe the UN needs to increase its engagement in the process, as well. A conference is needed to bring together the international community to develop a common strategy to support the peace process and the AU. We want to work to ensure that peace talks advance; there is no way ahead in CAR without a viable peace process backed by the international community.
We commend MINUSCA for its local reconciliation efforts, and we highlight the need to harmonize these efforts with broader and similar peace initiatives by civil society organizations, to ensure a coordinated, multitrack approach to peacebuilding in CAR. We urge MINUSCA to work closely with the AU as these processes advance.
MINUSCA’s support to the Central African Armed Forces is important, and we remain focused on advancing state authority in CAR. The extension of state authority should continue to be closely linked with ongoing, effective security sector reform and disarmament and demobilization programs.
MINUSCA is a model for robust and proactive peacekeeping, but the mission is stretched thin and struggles to fully implement its mandate. The environment in which MINUSCA is operating is incredibly complex. We hope that the upcoming strategic review will offer an honest assessment of the challenges facing the mission. We cannot improve MINUSCA without a thoughtful analysis of the political and security environment in CAR and how MINUSCA can achieve its objectives there.
Again, our thanks to the SRSG, the Special Representative, and the Force Commander, and to the men and women of MINUSCA for their service.
Thank you, Mr. President.