US congressional visit urges Central African Republic aid

2017-08-25 17:02
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Bangui - A US congressman on Thursday called for urgent aid to Central African Republic during a visit to the impoverished country where deadly sectarian violence is surging again.

Hundreds of people have been killed this year and more than 600 000 have been displaced.

Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Associated Press that the international community "has to think about the long-term implications of abandoning our efforts to stabilize this country."

Cicilline criticized the recent withdrawal of US special operations troops and said it creates a "void" in the country's southeast. The US military this year ended operations against the Lord's Resistance Army rebel group in the region. The LRA has continued attacks against civilians since then.

An estimated 60% of Central African Republic is controlled by armed groups, according to the aid group Oxfam.

Cicilline praised the UN peacekeeping mission for preventing "significant armed conflict," though the mission has acknowledged it doesn't have enough personnel to sufficiently protect civilians throughout the country.

The UN Foundation funded the delegation's visit.

Peter Yeo, the foundation's vice president of public policy and advocacy, said he is "very concerned" about President Donald Trump's proposed budget cuts for UN peacekeeping but noted that the US ambassador to the United Nations has not taken a "slash-and-burn approach toward peacekeeping funding."

Requests for additional peacekeeping support could be discussed when the mission's mandate is up for renewal by the UN Security Council in November.

Read more on:    un  |  central african republic  |  central africa
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