2 April 2014. The crisis in the Central African Republic was one of the main issues at the meeting today of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission in Brussels.
“We are deeply concerned about the desperate plight of the people of the Central African Republic,” Ban Ki-moon, told reporters at a press conference with Mr. Barroso.”I have presented recommendations to the Security Council to transform the African-led mission, MISCA, into a UN peacekeeping operation. But this will take time. Meanwhile, I have a plan to address immediate needs."
Ban said that in his report to the Security Council he had asked for 10,000 military personnel, 1,800 police officers and 20 correctional officers. “My expectation is that the Security Council may take action early next week."
Ban thanked the African Union and France for their important contributions and commended the European Union’s decision to deploy forces. He said he appreciated several European countries like the Danish and the Finnish governments who have offered to provide additional financial support to help pay the government officials’ salaries, as well as the European Union´s 30 million dollar contritubtion to institutional building.
“These steps are critical – but they are far from sufficient. The people of the Central African Republic are suffering grave, deplorable atrocities,” Mr. Ban said.
Later today he will attend a mini-summit on the situation in the Central African Republic on the margins of the EU-Africa Summit in Brussels, with the participation of 34 countries at Heads of state level, as well as the European Union.
“I will urge all countries to strongly consider providing badly needed additional troops and police. We must act quickly to stop the killings, protect civilians and prevent a further separation of communities that had existed together for generations. We also need to get more aid through.”
Yesterday, the Secretary-General had a meeting with the President of the European Council Hermann van Rompuy, and later today he will have talks with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Catherine Ashton. In addition to the CAR, the Ukraine and Climate Change have been high on the agenda in the talks with EU officals.
Today the Secretary-General will attend the EU-African Summit and have bilateral talks with several African and European leaders.
In his visit to Belgium, the UN chief has also had talks with Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo the humanitarian and political situation in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in Burundi.
Mr. Ban appreciated Belgium’s support for the Government and other Burundian stakeholders in resolving all differences peacefully and ensuring a level playing field for next year’s election.
They two also discussed climate change, which both agreed demands urgent action. Mr. Ban invited the Prime Minister to the climate summit he will convene on 23 September in New York to pave the way for an ambitious, legal climate agreement by 2015.
Main photo: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) meets with Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council. UN Photo/Evan Schneider.
Second photo: Ban Ki-moon meets Elio di Rupo, Prime Minister of Belgium.
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