UN chief hails new CAR government

United Nations, Jan 29 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the establishment of a new government in the Central African Republic (CAR), saying this “offers a fresh opportunity to move the political process forward” in the war-torn country.

Ban congratulated interim President Catherine Samba-Panza and Prime Minister Andre Nzapayeke for their efforts to put the transition back on track, Xinhua reported citing a statement issued Tuesday by Ban’s spokesman.
The CAR installed a caretaker government Monday in a bid to pull the turmoil-torn country out of crisis and organise general elections by February 2015.
The secretary-general, who is currently in Cuba for a regional summit, reiterated the readiness of the UN to support the CAR’s transitional authorities in their efforts to ensure the security and the welfare of the people, the statement said.
Meanwhile, Ban “remains deeply concerned about the ongoing sectarian violence in the country and the humanitarian crisis that affects more than half of the population”, the statement said.
“He calls for determined national and international efforts to stop the violence and overcome the crisis,” it added.
Ethnic tensions in the north of the CAR and the presence of the Lord’s Resistance Army, an armed group known for its brutal tactics, have added to instability, which has crippled the country for decades and driven people away from their homes.
The UN has been supporting the CAR for more than a decade. Efforts on the ground are led by the BINUCA, a field office of the UN Department of Political Affairs.
The BINUCA operates under a mandate from the Security Council to help consolidate peace, foster national reconciliation, and strengthen democratic institutions, as well as strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights.