April 02, 2014
African, European Leaders Focus on Crisis in Central African Republic
African and European leaders are focusing on the Central African Republic crisis on the sidelines of a summit in Brussels.
At a Wednesday news conference, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he would press world powers at the summit to provide more security and financial support to the C.A.R.
"The people of Central African Republic (C.A.R.) are suffering grave, deplorable atrocities. I will do everything possible to improve the international response," he said.
Ban said the international community has not made the difference that it promised it would make in the troubled country.
He said African and French peacekeepers in the C.A.R. are "under-resourced and overwhelmed."
He also said the C.A.R. needs an "inclusive political process" and money so that the government can get local police and security officials back on the job.
Leaders from 70 African and European nations are attending the summit, which is taking place as the European Union officially launches a military operation in the C.A.R.
The EU has agreed to deploy a temporary force of up to 1,000 troops to the troubled region. They will join about 6,000 African Union and 2,000 French troops that have been trying to protect civilians and disarm militias.
The foreign peacekeepers are currently focused on protecting Muslims who are being attacked by mostly Christian anti-balaka militants.
Tens of thousands of Muslims have fled their homes in recent months, with many taking refuge in neighboring countries.
The anti-balaka militia formed last year in response to a wave of killings and looting by mostly Muslim Seleka rebels.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.