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SECRETARY-GENERAL, BEFORE MEETING RELIGIOUS LEADERS, URGES SECURITY COUNCIL TO AUTHORIZE PEACEKEEPING OPERATION FOR CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

By UNITED NATIONS
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NEW YORK, March 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remarks before meeting with religious leaders from the Central African Republic, in New York today:

Mbi bala ala Kwe.

I am honoured to be joined by Monsignor Dieudonne Nzapalainga, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bangui; Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, President of the Islamic Council in the Central African Republic; and Reverend Nicolas Guérékoyame-Gbangou, President of the Central African Republic's Evangelical Alliance.

I thank you for your leadership. These leaders are a powerful symbol of their country's long-standing tradition of peaceful coexistence. Today, that legacy is under threat.

Let me be clear: the conflict in the Central African Republic is not about religion. Religious and ethnic affiliations are being manipulated for political purposes. The religious leaders here today refuse to be enemies. They will not tolerate the separation of communities.

The international community must support their efforts. I reiterate my appeal to the world: the Central African Republic needs more troops and police to protect civilians. The country needs more aid to save lives.

I urge the Security Council to act quickly on my recommendations for a United Nations peacekeeping operation. The United Nations must stand with the people of the Central African Republic for peace, reconciliation, justice and accountability.

Sin gila mingi.