Monday, April 29, 2013

Amid CAR Alarm, A Renewed MICOPAX Force or the Return of South Africa to DIG Oil?

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, April 29, updated -- The Seleka rebels took over Bangui in the Central African Republic: now what?
  South African troops suffered at least 13 deaths, and left. Now there are talks between Seleka and South Africa for some to return. There's also talk of South Africa's DIG Oil prospecting near the the southeast town of Carnot.
  The African Union force, UN Department of Political Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman told Inner City Press, is neither big enough nor does it have the “right composition” currently to do the job.
  In the short term the only solution, he said, is for an African led force.
  But, one observes, won't that recruitment conflict with the higher profile one for Mali?
  It's reported that Seleka's Michel Djotodia was spending $3500 a night on the presidential suite in Bangui's fanciest hotel, a relic of the era of Gaddafi's Libya, like the one in N'djamena. And so it goes in FranceAfrique. Watch this site.
Update of 7:15 pm - there is or will be a UNSC press statement, but it will not be read out at the stakeout, no questions (like Ban Ki-moon took no question on Syria, even as he spoke on it.) CAR Fatigue? 
Or the World Body following the Head?

Update of 7:23 pm - not read at the stakeout, but here's the press statement:
Security Council Press Statement on Central African Republic

The members of the Security Council heard a briefing by Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs on the situation in the Central African Republic.

The members of the Security Council expressed strong concern at the worsening humanitarian and security situation, and the weakening of the Central African Republic institutions. They called on competent authorities to restore peace and security in Bangui and outside of Bangui by deploying adequate forces. They called on all parties to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access in the country. They called on “Seleka” leaders to ensure that all “Seleka” armed groups abstain from all violent action and be regrouped without delay into cantonment sites, according to the Libreville agreement.

The members of the Security Council expressed serious concerns at reports of human rights violations and abuses. They emphasised that those responsible for violations and abuses of international humanitarian and human rights law, including those involving violence against civilians, torture, summary executions, sexual and gender-based violence and recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, must be held accountable. They called for a swift investigation of those cases in order to bring to justice all such perpetrators.

The members of the Security Council recalled their support for the efforts of the Economic Community of the Central African States (ECCAS) and the African Union to solve this crisis. They expressed their support for the transition process and the results of the N'Djamena Summit, in the framework of the Libreville agreements of January 11, 2013. They encouraged the continued strong involvement of the ECCAS and the African Union and called for the strengthening of MICOPAX with a view to restoring security and helping restructure Central African security forces, in accordance with the N'Djamena Declaration of April 18.

The members of the Security Council, looking forward to the first meeting of the International Contact Group in Brazzaville on May 3, called for the quick implementation of the N’Djamena Declaration and encouraged the Prime Minister to fully exert the executive powers vested in him by the Libreville agreement and the N’Djamena Declaration. They called for the restoration of the rule of law and the reestablishment of constitutional order. They further called for the swift designation of an inclusive government and the holding of elections within 18 months, recalling that according to the N’Djamena Declaration of April 18, the transitional Head of State, the Prime Minister, members of the transitional government as well as some members of the National Transition Council will not run for election.

The members of the Security Council expressed concern over the recent pause of operations to counter the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the Central African Republic.  They urged all countries concerned to resume their efforts to address the threat posed by the LRA, as soon as possible.

The members of the Security Council supported and saluted the efforts of the United Nations, including through BINUCA and its staff, in a very challenging environment, to address the crisis. They expressed their willingness to consider further options to stabilise the Central African Republic.

29 April 2013