Inclusive dialogue key to all other progress in Central African Republic: UN report

Without concrete and substantive progress in inclusive political dialogue in the Central African Republic (CAR), efforts to achieve improvement in security, rule of law and development will remained stalled in a country that is beset by unrest, widespread displacement and entrenched poverty, the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission says in a newly-released report.
“There is also a general awareness that progress has to be simultaneous on all three fronts,” the report adds.
“It was difficult to envisage a security sector reform/disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration process without the establishment of development poles that provided the newly demobilised with employment opportunities and alternative means to provide for their own and their family`s needs,” it adds, referring to the north of the country where rebel groups and a spill-over of violence from the Darfur war in neighbouring Sudan have driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.
“Similarly, the establishment of development poles would have less impact without proper reforms in the sector of the rule of law and good governance, notably as it relates to creating an enabling environment to attract foreign private investment into the country, to provide basic services and to re-establish Government authority throughout the territory in a decentralized way.”
The report notes that all three priorities are either covered or about to be covered by individual frameworks and/or programmes, and that the government has made significant progress recently in the area of good governance by signing and ratifying a set of international conventions in this field.
With respect to the establishment of development poles, the European Commission has elaborated a detailed project proposal, in two phases, which is budgeted and ready to be implemented.
The 10-member delegation, led by Ambassador Jan Grauls of Belgium, chairman of the Commission`s configuration on the CAR, conferred with a wide range of groups, including political leaders, political parties of the majority and the opposition, civil society, the private sector and the international community on the ground, both bilateral and multilateral donors.
Last June, CAR became the fourth country to be placed on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission, which aims to help States emerging from conflict to avoid the slide back into war or chaos.
The South African Department of Defence`s 2007/8 Annual Report notes that a SA Military Assistance and Training Team is in the country providing military training. The report says Operation Vimbezela cost R81.3 million that year. Training provided included paratrooping and mechanised infantry tactics, techniques and procedures. SA has also donated the country obsolete military uniform (apartheid-era “browns”) and refurbished some reportedly “very dilapidated” facilities.