Explanation of vote by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva after the UNSC vote on a draft resolution on renewal of the mandate of MINUSCA
The delegation of Russia abstained during the vote on the draft resolution on renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic for one year.
On 5 November, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the CAR, H.E. Ms.Baïpo Temon, who is present at this meeting, circulated a letter addressed to Security Council members, which elaborated on CAR’s vision of MINUSCA’s activity, the main task of which is supporting the official Central African authorities as they respond to the outstanding challenges – first of all stabilization of the situation and creating conditions for a lasting peace.
After lengthy negotiations on the text, the draft resolution turned out to reflect only one out of many fundamental points raised by the CAR – termination of the authorization of the French assistance to MINUSCA. However this was not a concession, but rather a statement of the fact, because the French side itself had made such a decision. Otherwise, Bangui’s proposals regarding the mandate were not reflected in the document. The draft ignored the justified request to designate assistance in maintaining state presence as MINUSCA’s priority task. This amendment would have helped to reflect the changing situation on the ground properly and support further stabilization efforts of the CAR authorities, which, as one can see, already yield results.
We cannot accept that the resolution puts sides to conflict and armed groups on equal footing. Everyone knows that it is the armed groups who are responsible for the majority of trans-border crimes, IHL violations, and human rights.
The resolution could not help making the modalities of bilateral interaction of Bangui and MINUSCA regarding the authorization of the Mission’s night flights known to the public – allegedly out of concern for the peacekeepers. We remind again that safety and security of the peacekeeping contingent depends on constructive engagement with host authorities.
We are perplexed why the France as the author of the draft did not agree to use our proposed language about the need to investigate into supply chains used to deliver explosive devices (which recently caused deaths of three Bangladeshi peacekeepers) and their components to the CAR. By the way, one of the peacekeepers who was injured on 3 October received first aid from a medic who was part of the nearby team of Russian instructors. Everyone who was present on the scene knows that. Instead of senseless “witch hunt” and blame game, the Security Council needs to focus on the reasons that brought the explosives and their components to the country.
Save from what I mentioned, there were other aspects that did not make it to the final document. Had the French penholders really wanted to do this, they could have prepared a truly well-balanced document to accommodate the vital interests of the people of CAR. But the pen chose not to do this. That is why we did not find it possible to support the draft.
Still we do hope that renewal of the mandate of MINUSCA will add to the efforts of President Touadera aimed at strengthening and expanding state presence in various regions of the country, which is needed i.a. to address the humanitarian problems. We also count on professionalism and wisdom of the SRSG for the Central African Republic, Ms.Rugwabiza, who will carry on with the leadership of MINUSCA and address the emerging problems while cooperating closely with the CAR government. We believe establishment of a mutually respectful dialogue with the host side should be a priority. Such dialogue needs to be based on trust and partnership, as well as due account for the interests of Bangui, i.a. in the area of security. Otherwise, no peacekeeping mandate can be fully implemented.
Russia unfailingly supports the activity of the Blue Helmets, who hold an important place in the overall security architecture of the Central African Republic. We are convinced that MINUSCA remains one of the key elements to ensure successful functioning of the configuration that counters the ravaging armed groups.
We will continue rendering assistance to the friendly Central African Republic via bilateral channels. Thanks to the efforts of Russian trainers, the CAR security forces have boosted their potential significantly, whereas the CAR authorities have achieved considerable stabilization in the country. This means more security for civilians, better protection of human rights, and better life for ordinary people. This is a fact. No campaign that seeks to demonize my country will change this. Because deeds speak louder than words.