UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday met with Central African Republic (CAR) President Faustin Archange Touadera in Bangui and commended the government’s efforts to consolidate peace.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, Guterres saluted the government’s peace efforts and pledged UN support to the extension of national institutions, according to a readout of the press encounter released by his spokesman’s office in New York.
He called on the armed groups to disarm and agree to participate in the political life of the country. He also called for genuine national reconciliation. “It is imperative that political leaders, leaders of armed groups and community religious leaders call for genuine reconciliation, mutual respect, and the understanding that everyone must live together to build the new Central African Republic,” he said. Guterres also asked the international community not to abandon the CAR, saying everyone needs to be mobilized to help the country build the future its citizens deserve.
Later in the morning, he met with local religious leaders and civil society leaders. He reiterated his zero-tolerance for any sexual abuse or exploitation by UN personnel. The secretary-general outlined his new approach, including a closer partnership with troop-contributing countries. He also introduced to them Jane Connors, the newly appointed Victims’ Rights Advocate for the United Nations.
Guterres then met with representatives of political parties. He told them that the current situation in the country can only be solved with a political solution, which cannot be imposed from the outside.
The secretary-general also received a briefing from the European Union on its training mission of the CAR armed forces.
The UN chief traveled to the CAR to celebrate UN Day, which falls on Oct. 24, with peacekeepers in the country. On Thursday, he met with more than 100 members of the UN military and police contingents at Bangui M’poko airport. The secretary-general commended their work for the people of the CAR. He also stressed that the United Nations’ conduct in the country has to be exemplary and stressed the importance of protecting the rights of vulnerable populations.
On Wednesday night, the secretary-general met with victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel. “All they seek is justice, and I am determined to fight impunity,” he tweeted.