WASHINGTON, November 21, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Remarks
Secretary of State
November 20, 2013
I am deeply concerned by the ongoing crisis in the Central African Republic and the deplorable levels of violence and lawlessness that affect millions of people every day. In the continuing aftermath of the March 2013 overthrow of the government by the Seleka rebel alliance, militia groups are now organizing themselves along increasingly sectarian lines and engaging in a cycle of retaliatory abuses against civilians. At this moment, the United States sees no evidence that the CAR transitional government has the capacity or political will to end the violence, especially the abuses committed by elements of the Seleka rebel alliance that are affiliated with the government.
Pending notification to the United States Congress, the Department of State plans to provide $40 million in assistance to MISCA, the African Union-led peacekeeping mission in the CAR, to help protect civilians and provide security throughout the country. This assistance may provide logistical backing, non-lethal equipment, training, and planning support. In the immediate term, we believe that MISCA is the best mechanism to help quickly address the ongoing violence in the CAR and prevent further atrocities. MISCA is also in the best position to help establish an environment that allows for the provision of humanitarian assistance and an eventual political transition to a democratically elected government.
There are nearly 400,000 internally displaced persons and over 220,000 CAR refugees in neighboring countries, including approximately 68,000 new refugees who have fled in recent months. In the past year, the U.S. government has provided more than $24 million in humanitarian assistance to support programs that provide food, health services, and other aid in the CAR. We have also provided an additional $6 million in humanitarian assistance to specifically support new Central African refugees.
We call on the region and the international community to support and fully deploy MISCA in order to restore security in the country, and we will continue to work with others in the region and the international community to implement a credible political transition and assist the people of the CAR who have suffered so greatly in this conflict.