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UN Briefing on CAR Postponed As Vogt in Gabon, No Response to Bozize's Speech

By Matthew Russell Lee

WASHINGTON, January 9 -- Today UN envoy to the Central African Republic Margaret Vogt was to have briefed the Security Council about her mission.

  But the briefing has been put back until January 11. Why? Ms. Vogt is at the talks in Libreville, the UN told Inner City Press this afternoon.

  Wednesday morning, Inner City Press asked the UN a number of questions, including "Who from the UN system is at the Central African Republic talks in Libreville? Does Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have any response to the speeches / position of President Bozize there, that he will not leave power?"

   The UN sent back, twice, a long answer to the first question. To the latter, there is no response:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 2:22 PM
|Subject: Your question on the Central African Republic
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]
Cc: Martin Nesirky [at]

Regarding you questions on the Central African Republic, we understand that all parties are present in Libreville, government, political parties, and the military groups and that the talks are underway. We will be following the talks very closely through the presence of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Margaret Vogt, and are hoping they will be productive talks that can lead to a peaceful resolution of the situation in the CAR.

With respect to the UN's role, it should be clear that the talks are being mediated by the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). The UN is there in a support capacity. Ms. Vogt and members of her team are present in Libreville and actively providing technical support and advice, as required, by the ECCAS mediator and the parties in the carrying out of the talks. The UN Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) is also providing support to the mediation effort.

SRSG Vogt has also been active in the run-up to the discussions, working closely with the Special Envoy of the African Union. She has been maintaining contact with all of key parties inside CAR and regional and international actors. She visited Brazzaville on 31 December and 4 January 2013 and had two working sessions with President Sassou N’Guesso and his mediation team

The UN has also provided logistical support, including an airlift for an ECCAS delegation that visited Bangui and areas occupied by the rebel coalition Seleka late last month, and the airlift of rebels this week from Bria to Libreville, via N'Djamena. Another group of rebels was transported by the UN from Yaoundé to Libreville.

We would also emphasize that the UN through BINUCA is a member of the Follow Up Committee of the 2008 Libreville Agreement. On 21 December ECCAS leaders requested during their Extraordinary Summit held in N’Djamena UN and AU support for the implementation of their decisions.

  OK, then. But it remains noteworthy to some that while Ban Ki-moon on Monday spoke critically about Bashar al Assad's weekend speech in Syria, saying that he would not relinquish power, Bozize's similar position has not drawn any response from Ban Ki-moon.

 As to CAR, the UN cites other actors, regional bodies. But not all member states agree with Ban's position on Assad's speech. Selective candor?

  We will await answers to the other questions submitted Wednesday morning. Watch this site.

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