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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice's Meeting with Central African Republic Transitional President Catherine Samba-Panza

National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice met today with President of the Transitional Government of the Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza to congratulate her and the people of the Central African Republic on the recent peaceful national elections and the upcoming conclusion of the country’s transitional period.  Ambassador Rice commended President Samba-Panza for her strong leadership and progress towards peace and reconciliation during her tenure in office.  She also noted that, in a region in which many leaders have sought to override presidential term limits or undermine democratic institutions to stay in power, President Samba-Panza’s leadership has set a powerful example of a peaceful democratic transition that will strengthen the country’s prospects for peace and prosperity.

Both President Samba-Panza and Ambassador Rice underscored the importance of ensuring that the next government is inclusive of the regional, ethnic, and religious diversity of the Central African Republic.  Ambassador Rice and President Samba-Panza shared their concern the continuing reports of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping forces in the Central African Republic and expressed strong support for swift accountability and the enforcement of a zero tolerance policy.  Ambassador Rice reiterated that the United States will remain a committed friend and partner of the people of the Central African Republic.