Last week's cease-fire between warring Christian and Muslim factions in the Central African Republic was a modest agreement, designed only to halt fighting without charting a road map forward. But it took just two days for the deal to be declared dead by the Muslim militia's military chief. That all but ensures the conflict, which has displaced almost a million people, will add more casualties to its present death toll of more than 2,600.
The cease-fire failed mainly because there were no credible representatives from the warring groups. No effective command-and-control structure exists, making the agreement difficult to enforce among various divisions within the factions.
This makes urgent the deployment of UN peacekeepers, totaling 10,000 military personnel and 1,800 police, who are scheduled to arrive in September. The United Nations must ensure that these peacekeepers deploy on time.
Considering that this force will need to manage an entire nation's law and order, more neighboring and Western countries should also send troops.
But it's not enough. Less than a third of the UN's goal of $209 million for displaced refugees has been met. The African Union and neighboring countries haven't made a concerted push for reconciliation between the two sides. Beyond more aid, the United States can leverage the Central African Republic's neighbors to help support truce efforts and assist the country in rebuilding its institutions.
Editorial on 08/06/2014
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