In Central African Republic, UN peacekeeping chief underscores political solution to end violence

31 July 2017 &#150 The top United Nations peacekeeping official is in the Central African Republic where he today discussed the security situation and the political process, while paying homage to three UN &#39blue helmets&#39 killed in the line of duty in recent days.

&#8220The security dimension is important but it is only part of the solution,&#8221 Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix said at a press conference in Bangui, stressing the importance of the political process in the country.

During his 48-hour visit, Mr. Lacroix met with President Faustin Touadéra, the Prime Minister, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and engaged with the President of the National Assembly.

He also met with representatives of religious groups and civil society, as well as the diplomatic corps.

&#8220We need Central African leadership so that these processes can continue and progress,&#8221 he said, stressing the importance of national ownership.

According to the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the country, known by its French acronym MINUSCA, he also urged prioritizing implementation of the ceasefire that was agreed upon in Rome on 20 June.

Speaking to the press, he warned against messages of hatred and division that advocate polarization on ethnic or religious grounds within Central African society: &#8220It is a poison and it is a duty to condemn these messages and stress that those who sow hatred will answer for their actions.&#8221

During the visit, Mr. Lacroix also met with the staff of the UN Mission and paid tribute to the three peacekeepers killed during attacks by alleged anti-Balaka fighters in Bangassou last week.

He also met with new troops from Tanzania and Zambia who recently joined MINUSCA.

Their arrival provides &#8220more force and greater flexibility&#8221 for redeployment, and will make it possible to more effectively protect the population, the senior UN official said.

&#8220UNMISCA is implementing its robust mandate and is reorganizing to implement it further,&#8221 he said.

Mr. Lacroix is expected to leave the CAR today and proceed next to South Sudan.

[related_post themes="flat" id="168580"]