As European heads of state meet in Brussels, The Elders urge them to quickly deploy a stabilization force to the Central African Republic (CAR) to complement the African and French troops already on the ground.

Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders, said: “Events in Ukraine have taken over the news cycle, but the EU must not lose sight of the terrible tragedy unfolding in the Central African Republic.”

On 10 February, Europe’s leaders pledged to set up a force of 800-1000 troops to help stabilize the CAR, which has been racked by violent clashes that have left countless dead and injured and is triggering massive sectarian displacement. The force was supposed to deploy this week, but has not been able to do so because troop-contributing states have not yet met their commitments.

“The protection of civilians is paramount. The rapid deployment of the promised European force, as well as a robust UN peacekeeping operation, will help to halt the violence against defenceless people,” Kofi Annan added.

Last month, the Elders called on the international community, notably the UN Security Council, to take swift and decisive action to restore peace and security to the CAR.

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