Consultations on the Central African Republic
This afternoon (19 December) Council members will be briefed in consultations by the Department of Political Affairs on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR). It seems the Secretariat requested that it provide an update on the recent occupation of a number of towns by rebels who are threatening to overthrow the government. Members appear keen to hear more about the fast changing situation on the ground and there may be particular interest in finding out more about measures being taken to protect the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) staff if the situation continues to deteriorate. Although it seems there is interest from some Council members in issuing a statement, at press time no decision had been taken on having an outcome.
In recent weeks the Seleka rebel alliance – formed by factions of the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP), Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) and Wa Kodro Salute Patriotic Convention (CPSK)- has stepped up attacks, particularly in northern CAR. A number of towns – including Bria, Ouadda, Sam Ouandja and Ndele – are believed to be under the control of the rebels. It seems this spike in rebel activity is a result of unhappiness over the lack of implementation of the 13 April 2007 peace agreement these groups signed with the government. Media reports indicate that, at the request of President François Bozizé, 2,000 troops from Chad went into the CAR yesterday to help the army fight the rebels. Other reports hinted at the possibility of the incumbent National Convergence Kwa Na Kwa (KNK) party considering a constitutional reform to lift presidential term limits in preparation for the 2016 elections.
Since the UN Mission in Central Africa and Chad (MINURCAT) ended its mandate in December 2010, the Council has kept tabs on the situation in the CAR largely through briefings on BINUCA by Margaret Vogt, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of mission. The next such briefing is expected to take place in January. (The Council was also expected to renew the mandate of BINUCA, which expires on 31 January 2013.)
However, these recent developments might require a response from the Council ahead of the scheduled meetings in January. On 6 December, the AU Peace and Security Council discussed the CAR and issued a communiqué demanding that the rebels withdraw from the towns they were occupying as this constituted a violation of the Libreville Peace Agreement. The communiqué also suggested that the AU might impose sanctions upon these rebel groups. Following this meeting Vogt also issued a statement condemning all violations of the Libreville Peace Agreement.
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