Council conclusions on the Central African Republic
- The Central African Republic (CAR) has just taken a further critical step. The peaceful holding of the elections in the CAR with a significant Central African voter turnout is a real success for the political transition process and the democratic aspirations of the country's population as a whole.
- The European Union (EU) commends the Central African authorities, under the authority of Ms Catherine Samba-Panza, and all stakeholders, in particular the National Electoral Authority (ANE), for their efforts, which have enhanced the credibility and transparency of the combined elections on 14 February 2016. The EU takes note of the announcement of the final results of the presidential elections and of the first round of the parliamentary elections in the CAR. It congratulates Mr Faustin-Archange Touadéra on his election as President of the Republic. It welcomes the responsible attitude shown by Mr Anicet Dologuélé in recognising the results. The EU calls on all stakeholders to recognise the legitimacy of the authorities emerging from the elections. The important thing now is to round off the electoral cycle. In this regard, the fact that the second round of the parliamentary elections was organised within the deadlines set is a decisive step for the completion of the country's transition.
- On taking office, the new authorities emerging from the elections will be faced with many challenges on the path towards national reconciliation and the country's reconstruction: disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of elements of armed groups, state‑building and the reform of the security sector, the fight against impunity and the establishment of transitional justice, the restoration of the rule of law and social cohesion, the provision of basic social services, the restarting of the economy and the creation of employment opportunities, together with the responsible and sustainable exploitation of natural resources. These tasks must be carried out in compliance with the principles of good democratic and economic governance, following a constructive approach to dialogue in the spirit of the Bangui Forum. The return of refugees and displaced persons to their home communities is an essential objective, for which the conditions must be put in place. Implementation of all these measures will contribute to the long-term stabilisation of the country and encourage the international community to maintain its commitment to working alongside the CAR. The EU, which has provided swift, substantial and multifaceted support for the transition process, is aware of the scale of the challenges that remain and is ready to assist the elected authorities in the action they will take to address them.
- The EU welcomes the commitment of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the support provided by Operation Sangaris which have contributed substantially to ensuring that the electoral process passed off peacefully. MINUSCA has played a vital role, particularly in supporting the Central African authorities with the implementation of the DDR process, in coordinating international assistance in the field of security and in helping the authorities to design and implement security sector reform, including through the provision of strategic advice and vetting. The EU will continue coordination with the UN and other international partners in this context. The EU also stresses the essential role of the regional actors in the CAR's stabilisation and reconciliation process and calls on them to continue these efforts.
- To contribute to the reform of the CAR armed forces (FACA) as part of the EU's overall approach in the country, the Council approved a Crisis Management Concept for a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) military training mission (EUTM CAR) for an initial duration of two years, based in Bangui as follow-up mission to EUMAM RCA. This CSDP mission will contribute to providing the CAR Government with expert advice, guidance and operational training, in the general context of security sector reform in the CAR, for the purpose of turning the FACA into a professional army, democratically accountable and representative of the entire nation. The Council calls on the European External Action Service to continue its operational planning to enable the mission to be set up and deployed, subject to Council decisions, before the end of the EUFOR RCA mandate. In order to enable the mission to act effectively to strengthen the capacities of the authorities and forces of the CAR, in the context of the European initiative for Capacity Building in support of Security and Development (CBSD), financing solutions will have to be found to meet equipment needs arising from the training provided. Lastly, the Council emphasises the importance of close coordination with the partners involved, in particular the Central African authorities and the UN, to ensure good cooperation and complementarity in the efforts underway to restore stability in the CAR.
The Council also underlines the importance of ensuring balanced and sufficient resources for all CSDP missions.
- While taking note of the more relaxed security situation in the country, the EU remains concerned about the humanitarian situation in the CAR, in particular as regards displaced and/or enclaved communities. The EU stresses the need for the international community to continue to respond to the humanitarian emergency at this crucial time for the country and stresses its ongoing commitment and its neutral and impartial humanitarian effort. It calls on all parties to guarantee humanitarian agencies and their staff safe, timely and unhindered access to all areas, in full compliance with the UN's guiding principles on humanitarian assistance and international humanitarian law, in order to enable them to perform their tasks of protecting civilians and delivering aid.
- The EU calls for additional support from the international community, including for the most vulnerable groups, in particular in order to strengthen their resilience and give an immediate boost to the major development projects on which the future of the country depends. In this respect, the mobilisation of independent economic resources and continued international and European budgetary support are essential. It is particularly important to support the State in order to increase, throughout its territory, the capacity of the public sector not only to deliver basic social services to the population, but also to engage in the stabilisation of the country and the reconstruction of the State and its capacity to meet its obligations to protect civilians. The Council welcomes the success of the Bêkou Fund for the reconstruction of the CAR and calls for continued mobilisation.
- The EU notes the need to maintain the international mobilisation after the elections to consolidate the country's recovery from the crisis. The EU stands ready to play an active role in this effort by supporting the organisation of an international conference, which could be held in Brussels.