Remarks by Ambassador Robert Wood, Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs, at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Central African Region

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June 10, 2024

Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, SRSG Abarry and Mr. Verissimo of ECAS for your informative briefings.

The United States believes it is vital to support the democratic and peaceful aspirations of the people of Central Africa.

The humanitarian impact of the Sudan conflict, building democratic institutions, encouraging free and fair elections, and countering the continuing threat from Boko Haram all remain important priorities.

The United States is particularly concerned by the effect of the Sudan crisis on Chad and the Central African Republic, with both countries collectively hosting over 600,000 new Sudanese refugees.

We express our appreciation to the governments of Chad and CAR, local communities, and NGOs for welcoming these refugees. The United States continues to provide robust humanitarian aid to help ensure the needs of refugees, host communities, and others are met.

Last year, the United States was the largest provider of assistance to Sudan and neighboring countries. We will continue working with key partners, particularly those within the region, to press the warring parties to lay down their arms, ensure unhindered humanitarian assistance, and resume peace talks.

In Chad, we welcome the largely peaceful conduct of the presidential election on May 6, culminating a three-year transition, though we regret the transitional government’s full control over electoral institutions resulted in limits on transparency, and undermined public confidence in the results.

As Chad prepares for legislative elections in late 2024, followed by local elections, we call on the government to increase inclusivity in and transparency of the electoral process.

We encourage Gabon to continue to make progress on its timeline toward elections—and to include civil society in the process.

U.S. assistance is highly dependent on Gabon moving toward free and fair elections with inclusive electoral processes and establishing in a timely manner a democratically elected government that represents the Gabonese people.

Turning to the Central African Republic, the United States calls on the government and opposition to engage constructively and transparently ahead of the country’s first local and regional elections since 1988.

These elections are a critical element of decentralization and building local institutions responsive to citizens’ needs.

Additionally, the United States affirms MINUSCA’s important role in facilitating local and regional elections and more broadly supporting the extension of state authority. It is essential that the government of the Central African Republic strengthens its coordination with MINUSCA and permits the mission to operate free of obstruction.

Colleagues, we cannot let terrorist groups impede or degrade democratic progress. The United States condemns Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and all groups that attack civilians and displace populations.

The legacy of the LRA, which remains active, demonstrates how a lack of accountability can perpetuate violence.

The United States supports efforts by regional states and the Multinational Joint Task Force to combat these terrorist groups and implement holistic strategies that address the underlying drivers of terrorism and ensure justice.

In closing, the United States stands ready to continue our support for the democratic and peaceful aspirations of the people of Central Africa. And we remain in favor of a PRST that would put the Council on the record on these important issues, including acknowledging the threat climate change poses to the region.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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