Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on the situation in the Central African region
We thank Assistant Secretary-General Martha Pobee for her briefing. We will study the assessments of President of the Commission of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) Gilberto Verissimo. We listened carefully to Ms. Jeanne-Danielle Nlate, and also, availing of the opportunity, we thank former Head of UNOCA François Fall.
The situation in Central Africa is characterized by a high level of terrorist threat, unstopping conflicts, political and social tension.
Insufficient combat capacity of the armed forces of regional states, as well as problems with military coordination and the lack of reliable reconnaissance data do not let them oppose effectively well-organized gangs that use the tactic of guerilla war and often have the support of the locals who have to live side by side with militants. The ideology of radical Islam is gaining on popularity, especially among the youth.
“Islamic State in West Africa Province” and “Boko Haram” pose a particularly high threat in the Lake Chad basin. Militants enhance their capacities, and keep attacking the military of Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon, and terrorize local population.
We support the decision of the Commando of Multinational Joint Task Force of Lake Chad basin states, that started a large-scale operation “Lake Sanity” in April 2022 that should eliminate terrorists on the islands that lie within borders of the three states – Chad, Niger, and Nigeria.
We believe it is important to strengthen interaction of countries of the region both through bilateral channels and at multilateral platforms including the United Nations. We welcome the activity of the UN Office for Central Africa that adds to sustaining peace and promoting security in the region, i.a. with the help of preventive diplomacy.
We are concerned over the growing number of raids and attacks on commercial vessels in the Gulf of Guinea. It is crucial to employ the resources of the global community in order to build capacity of coastal states in combating piracy. There is high demand for cooperation in sea surface monitoring, creating systems for recognition and escort of vessels, as well as early warning about potentially hazardous objects along navigation routes.
We welcome the institution of Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum in July last year, which provided a new format of interaction and coordination of joint anti-piracy operations. We take an active part in the work of this mechanism and stand ready to provide relevant assistance to our Western African partners.
In 2021, Russia made a special contribution to the UN Counter-Piracy Programme Fund to facilitate technical assistance to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. In October 2021, a squadron of ships of the Russian Northern Fleet was on a combat duty in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea, performing an exercise on countering piracy.
To conclude the main part of my statement, we strongly reject and consider politicized the assessments about the influence of the situation in Ukraine on global food security that are contained in Secretary-General’s report under discussion.
Now let me comment on the far-fetched allegations against Russia that we once again heard today and that blame us for provoking a global food crisis and damaging African economies.
I repeat that we strongly reject this allegation. We spoke about it on many occasions at various international platforms, where we explained why the situation with global food security had started to deteriorate long before the conflict in Ukraine escalated once again.
Do not try to blame on us all trouble that emerged due to socio-economic problems of global development and also due to such global challenges as COVID-19 pandemic. Also, we must not forget that today’s difficulties with food deliveries were caused by illegal unilateral restrictive measures against Russia and Belarus in the first place.
Lately, the US has started spreading unthinkable telltales that clearly demonstrate the scope of their hypocrisy. Allegedly, the grain that Russia delivers to Africa has been stolen. At the same time, we are glad to see that African states do not believe those claims. We had an opportunity to speak about the real situation in this area and discuss all relevant food-related issues with African representatives, i.a. during the meeting of President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Chair of the African Union and President of Senegal Macky Sall.
In the overall historical context, a question begs itself. Why countries that are very rich in natural and human resources find themselves in such situations in the economic area and the area of security? Western countries “curated” them for decades, promoting their vision of management (of resources and finance in the first place), deployed military missions on the territory of those states, claimed to be fighting terrorism. But the situation keeps getting worse. Several months ago, our Western colleagues could finally find a reason for that – it turns out, it is all because of Russia.
In reality, we help African states, including the Central African Republic, strengthen combat capacity of their official enforcement bodies. Having notified the UNSC Sanctions Committee, we delivered several batches of military purpose products to the CAR. Upon invitation of CAR’s official authorities, Russian instructors are working in the country. Discreditation campaign against them that we are witnessing now raises our perplexity to say the least. Russia scrupulously abides by UNSC-imposed restrictions against CAR. As for the activity of private military companies in the CAR, we would like to emphasize that choice of partners in a particular area is a prerogative of national authorities. Same can be said about the issues of maintaining legal order and investigating violations of the international law.