France proposes UN peacekeeper support for Central African troop deployments

Draft Security Council resolution would authorize Minusca support for “rapid extension of state authority over the entire territory”

The United Nations Security Council is weighing a proposal that would see U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic offer support to newly-trained troops as they deploy across the country.

A French-drafted resolution would authorize the U.N.’s Minusca mission to “provide limited logistical support” for troops that have been trained by the European Union, according to the text seen by AFP on Wednesday, November 7.

The proposal is raising eyebrows, in particular from the United States, which is seeking to streamline peacekeeping operations to reduce costs and make them more effective, diplomats said.

The council will vote next week backing “rapid extension of state authority over the entire territory” by supporting the deployment of the vetted and trained troops in areas outside the capital Bangui.

President Faustin-Archange Touadera in April called for more peacekeepers to be deployed, and for Minusca to transition from peacekeeping to peace enforcement.

Touadera’s weak government controls around a fifth of Central African Republic and relies heavily on Minusca for support. The rest of the country is controlled by at least 14 different militia groups who often fight each other for control of revenue from extortion, roadblocks or mineral resources.

The draft resolution also extends the Minusca mission until November 2019 but maintains a ceiling of 11,650 military personnel. Last year, the council increased the authorized number of personnel by 900. Minusca is the U.N.’s fourth largest mission, after the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Mali.

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UN official denies CAR in ‘pre-genocide’ state

The Central African Republic (CAR) is not in a “pre-genocide” state despite its problems, a United Nations expert said Wednesday, touching on comments by a former UN official that have sparked a storm.

CAR “is not in a pre-genocide situation,” Adama Dieng, the UN’s special advisor for the prevention of genocide, said.

Genocide “is a long process,” he explained.

In August, the UN’s then-aid chief, Stephen O’Brien, said he was deeply worried about the mounting violence in CAR.

He said he saw “the early warning signs of genocide” and urged more troops and police to bolster the UN peacekeeping mission there.

That assertion was strongly contested by CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera.

He said the fighting stemmed especially from competition for minerals and other natural resources by armed groups, rather than a “programme” by one group to exterminate the other.

Dieng, who arrived for a fact-finding visit on October 6, cautioned that the situation in CAR is “serious.”

There are still “indicators… that could result… in crimes of genocide” if they are not tackled, he warned.

These include major abuses against civilian populations for their ethnic or religious affiliation, the proliferation of armed groups and the weakness of the state, he explained… Read more

Originally published by The Citizen