Conclusions of the Principal-meeting on the Central African Republic Peace Agreement | Summary of the Co-chairs
New York, 22 February 2019
- On 22 February 2019, a Principal-level meeting on the Central African Republic Peace Agreement was held at United Nations Headquarters, co-chaired by the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, and the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Mr. Smaïl Chergui, in association with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Central African Republic, Ms. Sylvie Baïpo-Temon. The members of the Security Council, Permanent Representatives of the Member States of the International Support Group and other international partners of the Central African Republic participated.
- The meeting was convened further to the Political Accord for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic (the ‘Peace Agreement’), signed between the Government of the Central African Republic and fourteen armed groups on 6 February in Bangui. The Peace Agreement was brokered under the auspices of the African Union with support from the United Nations and, unlike previous peace agreements, emerged following direct talks between the parties that were hosted by the Government of the Republic of Sudan in Khartoum from 24 January to 5 February. There is a high expectation that the Peace Agreement, which is ambitious in scope, will be fully implemented in a timely manner, so that the country could finally be on the path of sustainable peace, with tangible improvements in the lives of all Central African citizens. The successful implementation of the Peace Agreement will be dependent on the sustained political accompaniment, technical assistance and financial support of the international community, including the African Union, the United Nations, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and other regional partners, neighboring countries, the European Union, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Peacebuilding Fund and other partners of the Central African Republic.
- The objective of the meeting was to mobilize sustained and unified international support for the implementation of the Peace Agreement. A preliminary draft timeline to support the implementation of the peace agreement was circulated prior to the meeting.
- The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Central African Republic expressed appreciation for the unwavering support of international partners that contributed to the signature of the Peace Agreement. While responsibility for delivering on the agreement during the implementation phase rests with the Central Africans themselves, considerable political, logistical, financial and technical support from partners would be required, which should be coherent and aligned with identified priority action points. Specific identified priorities include decentralization throughout all prefectures, including the establishment of joint security units that are essential to address law and order issues such as transhumance. The Foreign Minister further called for an adjustment of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA)’s mandate, which would allow the Mission to provide more political and other support for the implementation of the Peace Agreement.
- Participants welcomed the signing of the Peace Agreement and confirmed their intention to support its implementation, noting that it has generated renewed optimism for peace in the Central African Republic. They further noted that the Peace Agreement represents a compromise that takes into account the various concerns of the signatories, while respecting the territorial integrity, sovereignty and unity of the Central African Republic, and provides for the inclusive and representative governance, in a spirit of justice and national reconciliation, mutual tolerance and acceptance of the cultural and religious diversity of the nation. They also stressed the importance of ensuring the continued inclusiveness of the peace process, by including the full spectrum of society in the implementation of the Peace Agreement, in particular women, youth, and religious leaders. To that end, participants underscored the importance of effective communications with the population throughout the country, to facilitate their engagement and mitigate the risk of destabilizing rumors.
- Participants expressed their appreciation to His Excellency Professor Faustin Archange Touadéra, President of the Central African Republic, for his leadership and vision to bring durable peace to the country, and to the leaders of the armed groups for their commitment to peaceful dialogue, which resulted in the successful conclusion of the direct dialogue and signing of the Peace Agreement. They welcomed in particular recent steps taken by the Government of the Central African Republic to establish the follow-up and other mechanisms required for the implementation of the Peace Agreement, including the inclusive commission that will develop recommendations on justice and accountability. Participants commended the important roles played by the African Union, the United Nations, regional partners, and the Government of the Republic of the Sudan in support of the peace talks and negotiation of the Peace Agreement, and welcomed the inclusion of Central African civil society, political parties, and legislators as observers to the peace talks.
- Participants agreed on the importance of the timely, sustainable and sequenced implementation of the Peace Agreement and called on all signatories to demonstrate the same sense of responsibility in meeting their commitments under the Agreement, including by complying with its timelines in good faith, particularly with respect to the immediate cessation of all hostilities and violence against the civilian population.
- Participants expressed serious concern that continued insecurity has contributed to a dire humanitarian and development situation in the Central African Republic, and stressed the importance of translating the recent progress into tangible peace dividends for the people of the Central African Republic, especially women and children, the most vulnerable victims of the crisis. While committing to enhancing support for displaced persons, participants insisted on the importance that voluntary return efforts are responsible and are not accelerated for political expediency. Participants also identified the principles of justice and accountability as essential for national reconciliation, while also noting the need to carefully address the sensitive issue of impunity was also underscored.
- Participants further underscored the importance of the international community remaining united in their support for the Central African Republic, noting that such support would be guided by priorities and timelines set by the Central Africans themselves. Participants also welcomed the draft of the implementation timetable for the Peace Agreement, noting that it remains a living document that will continue to be refined. Participants committed to working closely with the Government of the Central African Republic in order to determine the precise financial and technical support that would be required for the implementation of the Peace Agreement, while also ensuring a realignment of existing frameworks such as the National Recovery and Peacebuilding Plan and ongoing processes such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and security sector reform.
- With respect to next steps, it was agreed that a more specific implementation plan will be developed by the Government, in consultation with MINUSCA and other partners. Subsequently, the United Nations and African Union will convene a follow-up discussion with partners in the next weeks to review the updated implementation plan and secure concrete support from partners.
- In conclusion, participants committed to providing sustained support for the implementation of the Peace Agreement.