April 18 2016 - ROME, ITALY

Central African Republic

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One month after taking office at the head of one of the poorest countries on earth the President of the Central African Republic Faustin-Archange Touadéra was in Rome in order to thank Pope Francis for his reconciliation plea, launched in Bangui on November 29th, and to meet the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella who confirmed Italy's commitment for the rebuilding of Central Africa, exhausted by 20 years of civil war. It is the first international visit of Touadéra, and the stop in Rome comes two days before his visit in Paris, capital of the former colonial power in Central Africa.

Between the meeting at the Vatican and at the Quirinale, the President chose to visit the Community of Sant’Egidio which has contributed to the mediation between the parties and has drafted the “Republican Pact” that led to the end of the civil conflict in 2013.

During a press conference in the Sala della Pace at Sant’Egidio, the President has remembered that Pope Francis, by opening the Holy Door of the Jubilee of Mercy in the cathedral of Bangui ahead of the official date of 8 December, proclaimed the martyred city 'spiritual capital of the world'.
Touadéra was in Rome today to thank him for that prophetic gesture which, he said, "touched the entire people of Central Africa, gave impetus to reconciliation, allowed us to overcome disagreement and organise elections peacefully and show the world our commitment to peace". As for the visit to the Community of Trastevere, "we could not come to Rome without meeting Sant'Egidio to analyze together our ongoing collaboration”.

In the name of the Community, the head of the IR department Mauro Garofalo assured that Sant'Egidio commitment for the consolidation of the peace and security process in Central Africa will not fail in the next stages of the reconstruction process in the country. At the conference, together with some African diplomas in Rome, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mario Giro, announced his next mission at Bangui in order to agree with the Central African authorities a first program of Italian aid which would be entrusted by the Agency of Cooperation and Development. “The first sectors – he said- will be security, with the participation of of our Carabinieri, education, with the restoration of Bangui University, and health. However, Central Africa needs everything”.