Allow me to thank SRSG Ndiaye and all other briefers for their useful insights.
Norway welcomes the unilateral ceasefire announced by President Touadéra last Friday and we commend the President’s choice to give peace a chance.
We urge all armed groups – and particularly those members of the CPC that have not rejoined the peace agreement yet, the FPRC and the UPC – to follow the example of the government and join the ceasefire.
This ceasefire could not be more timely: Since our last meeting to discuss CAR, the situation has further deteriorated. Last week’s visit of the CAR Sanctions Committee to Bangui and Bria confirmed this.
The ceasefire could be the first step towards bringing an end to the violence. Yet, it must go hand in hand with ending the obstruction of MINUSCA’s mandate implementation, and ensuring an inclusive political dialogue.
The latest SG report confirms the worsening security situation; ongoing violations and abuses of human rights; and violations of international humanitarian law. All parties are to blame: the CPC in the first place. But – as the joint MINUSCA / OHCHR report published in August shows – also the FACA and their Russian allies of the Wagner group, who were responsible for almost half of the verified incidents, which involved nearly 500 victims.
Persistent reports about the targeting of minorities are also worrisome. The number of conflict-related sexual violence incidents has increased sharply by 136%.
The civilian population must be protected. All parties must stop the violence, and respect human rights and IHL.
Norway commends the region for their efforts to push the political process forward. The ceasefire is a direct result of the third ICGLR mini summit on CAR, and the Joint Road Map. We are very grateful for the efforts of Angola, and Congo Brazzaville, in their capacities as chairs of ICGLR and ECCAS.
The ceasefire should now pave the way for a political solution. After months of preparations for a dialogue, it is time to start the real work. The republican dialogue should be genuinely inclusive. The political opposition, women, civil society, and armed groups which renounce violence must be involved. We encourage the UN, the AU, ICGLR, ECCAS and all other stakeholders – including members of this Council – to intensify their efforts to support a political solution to the conflict.
The CAR authorities must also use the momentum created by the ceasefire to start improving relations with MINUSCA. Over the past few months, the Mission continued to be deliberately obstructed, and intimidated by FACA and Russian mercenaries. This is totally unacceptable. We urge the CAR authorities and anyone with influence over armed actors in CAR to help stop SOFA violations, and to assure safe, unhindered, and timely humanitarian access.
To conclude, let me express our support to the work of the 2127 Sanctions Committee and the Panel of Experts. It is important that this work – which is mandated by the Security Council – is able to continue. We are concerned by the delays in appointment of new experts, and encourage a swift resolution of this issue.