The president of the war-torn Central African Republic warned Sunday that stability in Europe is conditioned upon stability in Africa because “everything is connected.”
While the words of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra referred in the first place to Europe’s problems with waves of migrants arriving from Africa, he went on to suggest interconnections between diverse areas of development.
“There will be no integral ecology without peace and there will be no peace without integral ecology,” Touadéra said. Moreover, “in a country there will be peace if there is access to healthcare for all citizens.”
The African politician was speaking in Madrid at a conference titled “Encounter for Peace,” organized by the Saint Egidio Catholic community.
In his address, Touadéra underscored the need “to renew the essential link between Africa and Europe,” while also proposing that disarmament, universal health care, and the abolition of the death penalty are essential conditions to achieving peace.
“What Europe has done is today a dream in Africa,” Touadéra said. “Peace without borders is not just a beautiful title but a beautiful perspective to look toward.”
The Central African Republic has experienced an ongoing civil war since 2012, which shows little sign of abating, and tensions are compounded by religious strife between Muslim Séléka fighters and Christian anti-balaka militias.
“The Central African Republic is a house in which many weapons have entered, so now we are going to launch a disarmament program,” Touadéra said, insisting that “the blood of our people spilled unjustly urges us not to make the same mistake in the future.”
The African president also stressed that war is avoidable but that peace demands a concerted effort from everyone.
“War and violence are not an inevitable destiny,” he said, but peace can never be taken for granted but requires ongoing vigilance.
“It’s like building a house that always needs maintenance because otherwise it would be at the mercy of the wind,” he said.