The press conference room was filled with smiles when Marco Impagliazzo, the President of the Community of San Egidio, completed the ceremonial exchange of letters with Under-Secretary General of Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, at the Permanent Mission of Italy Friday.
The President of the Community of San Egidio, along with his team of political advisors have been working with USG Feltman in order to figure out the best possible strategy to stabilize said the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR). During a discussion about Italy’s diplomacy towards conflicting countries at the conference, USG Feltman Said That he, “salutes the Work That [the] community of San Egidio does Bringing in hard to reach groups to the negotiating table. That is one of the most impressive San Egidio works has done in the UN’s opinion”.
During another press conference at the UN Headquarters, La Voce di New York asked Special Representative of the Secretary General Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), how St. Egidio role during this time changed the dialogue about ceasing violence from armed military groups in CAR in which he responded, “I can confirm that the Community of St. Egidio are talking to all 15 armed groups, which is very impressive. in the government’s opinion, it is their hope that anything that they may make sense that armed groups have discussed with St. Egidio will be evaluated, assessed, and put on the table to see if they can walk the walk, since they’ve talked the talk in order to put an end to this madness.”
The Central African Republic has been a victim of warfare and strife, since its independence from France in 1960. It was plunged into turmoil in 2013 when Muslim rebels from the Seleka umbrella group seized power in the Christian Majority of the country. A band of mostly Christian militias, called the anti-Balaka, rose to counter the Seleka. Seleka handed power to a transitional government in 2014 under international pressure, but followed months of violence and the country was effectively partitioned, in spite of UN peacekeeping forces.
The Special Representative of MINUSCA urged that “to peace efforts must be energized” and that MINUSCA must resolve in order to strengthen consolidated its progress towards peace. The diplomatic steps and effort made by San Egidio to broker peace deals with armed military groups is widely respected from all leaders, diplomats, and ambassadors at the UN. The Special Representative of MINUSCA noted that “I have come to discover how certain this institution is operating because they do not have the kind of rules we have here at the UN. It provides them greater access and reach,” which is important and drastically differs from any other measures taken by other countries on the Security Council.
The President of the Community of Sant’Egidio even noted Italy’s history in cultivating their first conflict resolution, which was a comprehensive Peace Agreement for Mozambique, a southern African nation located on the Indian Ocean coastline, in 1992. The accord analyzes the role and methods of the states involved in the peace process, its financial impact, the contribution of church-based mediation and grassroots initiatives for justice and reconciliation. The agreement also contains full texts of the main peace agreements, a chronology of the war and peace process, plus profiles of the key people, institutions and countries involved.
The President of the Community of San Egidio’s advisor noted that their team’s strategies for brokering peace agreements between two polarized groups are staying “neutral, while being honest brokers with patience and trust building knowledge” to help heal suffering countries. The Community acknowledges that they are non-threatening party because they can not impose sanctions on a country, therefore they do not have an economic or political gain from their humanitarian actions.
It is extremely difficult for foreign countries to stay the course through a tumultuous economic and political uproar in the Central African Republic, but maybe other countries should step up and use in peace building strategies from the Community of San Egidio’s book.