Expressing serious concerns over the "precarious" security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), India on Thursday called on all opposition groups in the African country to "cease hostilities" immediately and join the authorities in finding a peaceful solution to the current crisis.
Speaking during a meeting on the CAR in the United Nations Security Council, R Ravindra, Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations (Political Coordinator) said that India remains concerned about the evolving humtarian crisis due to attacks by the opposition groups in CAR and called on these groups to lift the blockade on the town and all movement of essential supplies.
New Delhi also termed the attacks on the United Nations' peacekeepers in the African country as "shocking and unacceptable" and said that perpetrators of the heinous attacks must be held accountable.
"The precarious security situation in the CAR since the presidential elections held last month is a matter of serious concern. There has been a dangerous escalation on the ground with the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), armed groups opposed to President Toudera, abandoning the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation signed in early 2019 and launching attacks on the capital Bangui and other towns," Ravindra said.
The rebel alliance wreaked havoc in the run-up to elections last month in the CAR, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from voting and causing a fragile peace deal to collapse.
The incessant violence has forced nearly 60,000 people to flee the country, compounding an already dire refugee crisis, he noted.
"We remain concerned about the evolving humtarian crisis due to attacks by the opposition groups. We call on the opposition groups to lift the blockade on towns and allow movement of essential supplies," he said.
New Delhi commended the country's authorities for holding the second democratic elections on December 27 despite persisting challenges and termed it an "important milestone" in the CAR.
"We commend the CAR authorities for conducting the elections with the support of international and regional partners and the UN Mission. However, the recent developments have the potential to derail the hard-earned progress made since 2019. We have seen similar post-electoral situations turning into a major crisis, affecting the larger region. Given the history of political instability and violence, the situation in CAR warrants immediate attention from the international community," said Ravindra.
On January 18, 2021, the constitutional court validated the results and endorsed the outcome of the elections.
Ravindra said that it is imperative for all stakeholders to respect the final verdict by CAR's Constitutional Court and settle their disputes through a peaceful process".
"While the Peace Agreement of 2019, and the roadmap remain the fundamental edifice to move ahead, we understand that key parts of the deal have not yet been implemented, and rebel violence has continued across the country. Illegal taxing of local populations, trafficking in gold and diamonds, and levying additional taxes on those involved in the supply and production of minerals continue to generate significant revenue for the rebels," he further said.
On the killings of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR's peacekeepers, he said these attacks on peacekeepers are a tragic reflection of the deteriorating situation on the ground.
"The death of seven MINUSCA peacekeepers is a tragic reflection of the deteriorating situation on the ground. These attacks on peacekeepers are shocking and are unacceptable. The perpetrators of these heinous attacks must be held accountable. We call on the CAR authorities to take immediate action against the attackers and bring them to justice," India said at the UNSC.
Commending the role played by MINUSCA, New Delhi reiterated the "importance of the Mission adhering to its mandate as per UNSC resolutions".
"We also want to underscore the importance of coordination among CAR security forces and the countries extending military support to CAR security forces for coordination of their actions with MINUSCA," he said.
"India supports the ongoing efforts of the AU and the ECAAS, the two guarantors of the 2019 Peace Agreement to defuse the crisis through negotiations. The countries having an influence on the actors in CAR must also extend their support to the AU and the ECAAS. The immediate and pressing priority is an early restoration of peace and stability in CAR," he added.
( With inputs from ANI )
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