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EU Statement – United Nations Security Council: Central African Republic and MINUSCA Featured

22 February 2018, New York – European Union Statement delivered by Lt General Esa Pulkkinen, DG EUMS and Operational Commander of EUTM CAR, at the United Nations Security Council Debate on the Central African Republic/MINUSCA

Good afternoon. I am grateful to have the opportunity to address you on the Topic of the Central African Republic and the MINUSCA 6-month report.

The EU very much welcomes the recent mandate extension of MINUSCA as adopted in UNSCR 2387 of November 2017. As the Operational Commander, I particularly note that MINUSCA has been tasked to consider providing support to the progressive and coordinated redeployment of FACA units trained by EUTM-RCA as an element of the strategy for the extension of State authority. This, in addition to the extremely valuable joint deployments already underway, is crucial to restoring State authority. Moreover it is central to the UN and EU achieving their wider strategic objectives in CAR.

To put my role and that of my organisation in context, I am the Director of the EU’s Military Planning and Conduct Capability, or MPCC. This is a Brussels based organisation carrying out the roles and responsibilities of an Operational Headquarters. The MPCC reports direct to the EU Political and Security Committee, and exercises command over 3 EU Training Missions, or EUTMs, of which EUTM RCA is one.

I should underline that the EUTM in the Central African Republic[1] is an unarmed Training Mission. It contributes to Defence Sector Reform within the Central African Security Sector Reform coordinated by MINUSCA. It assists in the progressive development of democratically controlled, professional, credible, accountable, ethnically and regionally balanced Central African Armed Forces (FACA).

Its mandate includes close coordination with MINUSCA. The “Joint MINUSCA – EU Delegation and EUTM RCA  Support Plan on Security Sector Reform and the Rule of Law in the Central African Republic” signed in July last year aims to define the basis of our coordination and complementarity in all activities.

Despite some progress, we remain seriously concerned by the worsening security and humanitarian situation. The crisis in CAR won’t be resolved by force but only through dialogue, justice and reconciliation. In that context, the EU fully supports President Touadera and his government in their efforts to build peace in CAR.

You will be aware that CAR Armed Forces, trained by EUTM have already started to deploy on operations, with the support of MINSUCA, albeit in small numbers and despite considerable logistic constraints. Reports on their performance in these joint deployments have been favourable, both from the operational point of view and with regard to NGOs and public opinion. Although a step in the right direction, these small scale operations originating from Bangui are not enough to re-operationalise the FACA.

All political actors and international partners agree on the necessity to restore State authority throughout the country as a key factor in resolving the crisis. So the redeployment of the Armed Forces, as well as the Internal Security Forces, is recognised as a key element to enable the return of public institutions and services to the entire territory as well as a deterrent towards armed groups.

To achieve this, a 9800-strong army is planned by 2021, with around 4500 of those troops re-deployed outside Bangui, able to carry this authority to the regions. This will represent a huge effort, especially concerning infrastructure development and sustainment capability and effective logistic support is critical to achieving this

In the context of a government which has been in power for almost two years and whose army is largely confined to Bangui, MINUSCA is the key enabler which will allow us to capitalise on what has been achieved to date. The troops EUTM has trained are now being equipped and we cannot lose momentum in their deployment and operationalisation.

MINUSCA remains a critical factor for operationalising the FACA as well as for basic logistic support[2]. Continued support to the FACA in joint deployments on limited military operations, is important. But MINUSCA’s support in its next mandate, for progressive and coordinated deployment in garrisons, or decentralised hubs of FACA troops trained by the EUTM, is absolutely critical to the extension of the state authority. This supports the CAR Government’s National Defence Plan, and allows them to demonstrate their willingness to address security and stabilization issues across the whole country. This decentralized army, able to deploy at distance from Bangui, is critical.

With UN support, a progressive redeployment of these Forces can be a concrete example of State Authority returning to the provinces, and allow MINUSCA the opportunity to redeploy to areas it is needed most, helping everyone towards their desired end states.

If MINUSCA support to the FACA is withdrawn, this progress will almost certainly stall and with it MINUSCA’s own Mission. On its own, the FACA does not have the capacity to deploy or sustain itself and this critical extension of state authority will cease. The most likely outcome will be a return to Bangui for the FACA and the opportunity to reinstate state control will be lost.

[1] launched in July 2016 as the third EU CSDP engagement in the country as a response to the violent crisis which emerged in 2013 (the previous engagements being EUFOR RCA and EUMAM RCA)

[2] Primarily transportation, medical, and Class III (POL). A Technical Agreement is currently being negotiated between MINUSCA and FACA to determine precisely the type and extent of any possible support.

  • Ref: EUUN18-015EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum: Security Council
  • Date: 22/02/2018

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