Last week was one especially focused on Africa for Ambassador Samantha Power.
After leading a U.S. Presidential delegation to attend the 20th Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide, Ambassador Power visited Burundi and the Central African Republic. And just hours after arriving back in New York City, she represented the United States at the UN Security Council, voting to authorize a UN Peacekeeping Operation to help bring an end to the horrific atrocities in CAR. The Ambassador’s vote came on the heels of the United States announcement of an additional $22 million in humanitarian aid for the people of CAR.
In Burundi, Ambassador Power met with President Pierre Nkurunziza to thank him for his troop contributions in CAR and Somalia, as well as share her concern about the shrinking political and civil society freedoms within his country. She tweeted, “#Burundi has come so far, making great strides in addressing ethnic divisions and avoiding violence. #DontTurnBackNow.” Ambassador Power also met with civil society groups pushing to uphold rule of law, and announced additional U.S. financial support to help Burundi hold free and fair elections in 2015.
While in the Central African Republic, Ambassador Power spoke to troops from seven African countries that make up the African Union-led stabilization mission known as MISCA and with the French forces supporting them. Ambassador Power thanked them for their “sacrifice and…dedication to helping the people of the Central African Republic” and paid special tribute to the 25 soldiers killed in service to the people of CAR. Ambassador Power also met with Transitional President Catherine Samba-Panza to discuss their shared goals of ending religiously-motivated violence and holding perpetrators accountable.
The following day, Ambassador Power arrived in New York City and joined the UN Security Council to authorize a 12,000 person UN Peacekeeping Operation to the Central African Republic, calling it "an important step toward bringing an end to the atrocities, inter-religious fighting, and humanitarian crisis." She also drew upon her recent trip to Rwanda, noting that the 1994 genocide "taught us the price of inaction in the face of mass violence," and hoping that resilience and renewal demonstrated by Rwandans can soon be shared by the people of CAR.
About the Author: Isaac Ortiz serves in the Press Office of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.