Tuesday, April 23, 2013

European Union Will Not Restore $200 Million Aid Program to CAR

EU will not restore $200 million aid program to CAR, official says

Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:20PM GMT

The European Union will not restore its $200 million aid program to the Central African Republic unless rule of law is established in the country, an EU official has announced.

European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs made the remarks in Brussels on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

CAR Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye was also in Brussels to ask the nation’s biggest donor to continue helping the country.

However, Piebalgs said the credibility of the CAR government has to be proven to regional neighbors and international donors before funding is restored.

"The main message to the prime minister is saying that you need to reestablish constitutional order in the country and you should also try to address the security situation… because we can't deliver humanitarian aid," Piebalgs stated.

"Provided that a couple of positive steps are being taken, we could resume the aid, even to directly support the government, but we need a politically sound system," Piebalgs added.

On Monday, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey D. Feltman called on the rebel leaders of the CAR to establish law and order in the country.

The EU has provided 157 million euros ($205 million) in aid to the Central African Republic since 2008. In 2012, it paid more than 14.3 million euros to support 600 regional troops for a peacekeeping mission in the country.

On January 11, former CAR President Francois Bozizé and representatives of the Seleka rebels signed an agreement in Libreville, Gabon after three days of negotiations brokered by regional neighbors.

But the deal fell through, and Michel Djotodia, leading thousands of Seleka rebels, captured Bangui and proclaimed himself president after seizing power from Bozizé on March 24.

Following the coup, Djotodia created a transitional government headed by Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye and promised elections in three years.

The Seleka fighters launched an offensive against the CAR government in December 2012.

There are many mineral resources, including gold and diamonds, in the Central African Republic. However, the country is extremely poor and has faced a series of rebellions and coups since it gained independence in 1960.

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