Thank you, Mr. President. President Touadéra, thank you for briefing us this afternoon here in the Security Council, and thank you also for your tireless efforts to advance peace and development in the Central African Republic. We know the challenges you face are many, but we know also that you have already consolidated gains. We stand ready to work with you to rebuild the Central African Republic. And thank you also to Under-Secretary-General Ladsous and Ambassador Hilale for your briefings.
We welcome the many commitments made by rebuild the Central African Republic’s friends and partners at the November donors’ conference. Together we must sustain our focus and deliver on those commitments and pledges. President Touadéra, your government is the lynchpin and the guide. We look forward to your leadership and your vision as you work to extend state authority, build institutions, fight impunity, promote reconciliation, and disarm armed groups, with support from your friends and partners.
The United States has committed to helping you rebuild and professionalize the armed forces, police, and gendarmerie consistent with your national security policy and consistent with the five-year Recovery and Peacebuilding Plan. We believe a genuine disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, and reintegration process can only be accomplished and sustained alongside genuine security sector reform.
With reference to the demobilization, repatriation, and reintegration process, we agree that the Central African Republic government must be able to exercise authority over its entire territory. Armed actors must understand that their future lies not as militants on the margins of society, but as productive, contributing citizens of the Central African Republic. Their futures, security, and livelihoods are intertwined with the stabilization and long-term recovery of the Central African Republic. Mr. President, this process is not easy; it does not happen quickly, and it does not involve overlooking crimes by allowing for blanket amnesty.
But we also need to acknowledge that members of armed groups are often unwilling to disarm until they know they will have a role and a voice in their government, including in the security sector. We will continue to urge that security services be fully vetted, ethnically representative, and regionally balanced in order to achieve an equitable distribution. There cannot be parts of the Central African Republic that citizens are afraid to travel to, or enclaves they are afraid to leave. We envision a day in which diverse, professional, well-trained CAR security forces are composed of citizens of different religions and backgrounds, and can ably protect the entirety of the country.
We commend MINUSCA for its efforts to work hand-in-hand with the Central African Republic government to rebuild its security services in a way that mentors and truly builds the capacity of police, gendarmerie, and military. MINUSCA’s early, “pre-DDR” programs in some of the Central African Republic’s most fragile areas, and its innovative community violence reduction programs have laid the foundation for a stronger partnership between the Central African Republic and the international community on more robust strategic planning and reforms.
When we see violence like the recent confrontations in Bambari, we are reminded that we still have much work to do. We commend MINUSCA for its willingness to take risks, for its support to the government, for its protection of civilians, and the provision of security in the Central African Republic.
I would also like to take a moment to note that this week marked one year since the passage of Resolution 2272 on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by peacekeepers. MINUSCA has taken steps in the right direction but we have not yet wiped out the problem. We must remain dedicated to preventing acts of sexual exploitation and abuse, holding perpetrators to account, and helping victims receive the assistance that they need. In closing, we look forward to working to make MINUSCA an even more efficient and more effective peacekeeping mission.