The President of the Central African Republic, Mme Catherine Samba-Panza
The President of the Central African Republic, Mme Catherine Samba-Panza, visited the UCATEX compound, home to the European Union Military Force commanded by Brigadier General Bacquet today.
The visit took place two weeks after the inauguration of the ‘Unity Bridge’ constructed by EUFOR between 2nd, 3rd and 5th Districts of the Capital, which the President had attended along with the Head of the EU Delegation Jean-Pierre Reymondet Commoy and the Operation Commander of EUFOR, Major General Philippe Pontiès.
After being presented military honors by Central African and European units, Mme Samba-Panza met with the representatives of all EUFOR contributing nations, and was briefed on the mission and the Force by General Bacquet. His speech was followed by an exhibition of the equipment and vehicles of EUFOR’s units, notably the Finnish Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team, the Italian Engineers, the French and Georgian Infantry Forces of the Multinational Battalion, the Spanish Special Forces and the Integrated Police Unit with its Polish, Spanish and French components.
After the tour of the base, General Bacquet thanked the President for the warm welcome and the full support granted to EUFOR by the city of Bangui and the Transitional Authorities.
Before leaving UCATEX, Mme Samba-Panza paid tribute to the casualties suffered by EUFOR, and thanked the Force Commander and his predecessor – General Thierry Lion –for the outstanding work of the European soldiers “who earned the acceptance of the population in areas where the inter-community relations were critical, through reassurance and dialogue, whilst rarely using force”.
The President also congratulated General Bacquet for the rehabilitation of the UCATEX site, now a viable location for future development.