The United States established diplomatic relations with the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) in 1960, following its independence from France. The C.A.R. is one of the world’s least developed nations, and has experienced several periods of political instability since independence.
The Central African Republic is located in a volatile and poor region and has a long history of development, governance, and human rights problems. The U.S. Embassy in the C.A.R. was briefly closed as a result of 1996-97 military mutinies. It reopened in 1998 with limited staff, but U.S. Agency for International Development and Peace Corps missions previously operating there did not return. The Embassy again temporarily suspended operations in November 2002 in response to security concerns raised by the October 2002 launch of a 2003 military coup. The Embassy reopened in 2005. Restrictions on U.S. aid that were imposed after the 2003 military coup were lifted in 2005. Due to insecurity and the eventual overthrow of the C.A.R. Government, the U.S. Embassy in Bagui has been closed since December 2012.
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to the C.A.R. In the spring of 2013, under the auspices of the Economic Community of Central African states (ECCAS) regional leaders developed a political roadmap for CAR which established an 18-month transitional government, led by the Prime Minister, with a plan for elections in the fall of 2014 Since that time however, the security, human rights, and humanitarian situation has continued to worsen and in response the African Union authorized the International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (AFISM-C.A.R.) on August 1, 2013. In October 2011, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would deploy a small number of U.S. forces to act as advisors to the national militaries in the region that are pursuing the LRA, including the Ugandan People's Defense Force and the Central African Armed Forces. Forces were deployed to the C.A.R. in December 2011. Historically, the United States and the C.A.R. have enjoyed generally good relations, although concerns over the pace of political and economic liberalization and human rights have affected the degree of support provided by the U.S. to the country.
The United States and the Central African Republic share a vision of a more stable C.A.R. that enjoys greater economic growth, contributes to regional stability, and is a reliable partner on issues of mutual importance. The United States also supports the C.A.R.'s efforts to develop institutions that will improve transparency, strengthen the rule of law, and promote unity among Central Africans.