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DISCORSO PRONUNCIATO DALL’AMBASCIATORE SEBASTIANO CARDI, RAPPRESENTANTE PERMANENTE DELL’ITALIA PRESSO LE NAZIONI UNITE, AL FORUM IPI SU “RELAPSE INTO CONFLICT: THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC AND THE FUTURE OF UN PEACEBUILDING” (23 giugno 2014)

Thank you Ambassador Hirsch

Mr. Deputy Secretary General, Excellency’s, Ladies and Gentleman

I am happy to see such an important panel today and a big audience, considering the humanitarian urge of the topic we are dealing with. The situation in the Central African Republic is dramatic and it should prompt us to find solutions that attack the root causes of the recurrent crises afflicting the Country. Today, this already complex crisis is aggravated by unprecedented new developments. A religious clash being exploited by the parties for political ends is opening up deep wounds and standing in the way of national reconciliation. This is leading to a de facto breakup of the country along ethnic and religious lines.

It is of the utmost urgency that we act to prevent any further deterioration of the humanitarian situation on the ground. This is an immense effort that must be made by the Countries of the region, the UN and the whole international community, and first and foremost by the CAR Authorities and the people of the Country, who need to demonstrate a real political will.

An integrated, coordinated approach is needed to address the multiple aspect of the crisis. This should combine both a short-term perspective – cessation of violence, humanitarian relief, and resumed functioning of public administration – and a mid- to long-term perspective, involving, inter alia, development and national reconciliation. Such an approach is reflected in the MINUSCA mandate. Through peacekeeping experience, we have long known that it is penny wise but pound foolish to forgo investments into assuring durable peace.  It is thus incumbent upon us to help the affected countries find in themselves the capability of preventing a relapse. 

The Countries of the region should continue to support Central African Republic, in a constructive spirit and with the awareness of the regional implications of a permanent crisis in CAR. The process will take time, and thus require a constant, ongoing effort that cannot slacken after the emergency phase has lessened. National reconciliation will demand a reckoning with accountability and the heinous crimes committed. Ultimately this is a decision that rests with the people of CAR, but the idea of a general amnesty for the most serious crimes is unthinkable. We also feel it is crucial that, during the first half of 2015, elections be held, and also that a genuine interreligious dialogue begin.

The EU mission in CAR is to be considered a bridging operation that will facilitate the later deployment of the UN’s MINUSCA mission, scheduled for September 15. Italy is committed to contribute 51 units – both men and women – to EUFOR CAR, grouped as follows:

– a Genio [engineering] Platoon, to support the deployment and the maneuver (46 units).
– Staff positions at Force Headquarters in Bangui (2 units), and at the Operational Headquarters of Larissa, Grecia (3 units).

Ladies and Gentleman,

Although indispensable, military deployment is not enough. We have to keep on thinking about Central African Republic from a Peacebuilding perspective. At the current juncture, we need to analyze past experiences and peacebuilding operations in order to learn from our collective efforts as members of the international community.  If we can truly grasp why, for example, peace is returning to Sierra Leone not to CAR, we can build upon what has worked and shift away from what has not. 

Peacebuilding may not have a “one size fits all” definition or methodology. But in the years since the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission, we have accumulated a critical mass of experience through UN efforts to help countries return to sustainable peace. Many of these experiences involve, in fact, situations where a recurrence of a conflict was not prevented.  CAR is a case in point.

I really hope that this prestigious panel the Permanent Mission of Italy organized today, with the help of IPI and the PBSO, may give some real contribution on analyzing what the UN system and the International Community should have done better and, most important, what shall do better to really help the people of the Central African Republic find their path to peace and a serene future.