Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on the situation in the Central African Republic
We thank SRSG Rugwabiza for the briefing and congratulate her on assuming this office, and we listened carefully to the remarks by Ms. Ekomo Lina. We welcome representative of the Central African Republic to this meeting.
According to our estimates, the situation in the CAR is relatively stable and on the whole, remains under the governmental control. At the moment, efforts are being taken to ensure state presence across CAR and strengthen administrative bodies.
The 2019 Khartoum Agreement remains fundamental for achieving stability and security in the country. The sides need to observe the ceasefire regime that President Touadera announced in October 2019. We welcome the convening of another round of the Republican Dialogue in Bangui, that complements the Khartoum Agreement. We call on the groups that so far have been staying overboard the peace process to stop the unneeded bloodshed and embark on a meaningful dialogue with the authorities. We are convinced that there is no alternative to a political and diplomatic settlement in the Central African Republic.
UN-backed Coordination Mechanism which was launched upon an initiative of the CAR government should signify an important step towards further improvement of the security situation. The Mechanism convened its first meeting in Bangui on 14 April this year.
UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) is meant to be another critical element of promoting security, which we infer from the peacekeepers’ tasks, especially those related to countering the illegal armed formations and protecting civilians. We commend positive momentum in the interaction of MINUSCA and Bangui. We have always said that constructive relations between MINUSCA and host authorities is a prerequisite of successful peacekeeping. It is also crucial that Blue Helmets focus on their main tasks, including advancement of reconciliation processes, recovery of state presence in CAR’s regions, and protection of civilians.
Russia has been making consistent efforts to have CAR’s arms embargo eased and, prospectively, fully lifted. African UNSC members, as well as the African Union, and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region stick to similar positions. Most importantly, CAR representatives also speak of this, because law enforcement bodies of the country need those weapons to be able to counter illegal armed formations that, as we all see, have weapons delivered to them on a regular basis. Generally, we are convinced that the sanctions regime must not come in the way of governmental efforts in CAR aimed at fighting armed groups. At this point, however, it does come in the way of such efforts.
On our part, we have been helping Bangui build up combat capacity of its forces. Upon notification of UNSC 2127 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. Russia complies with all restrictions that Security Council imposed on the CAR. On a separate point, we emphasize that choice of partners in whatever area, i.a. in the area of security, is a prerogative of national authorities.
We do not think it is appropriate for the SG report to include a specific reference to the events in Ukraine as a reason for a food and energy crisis in Central Africa. Negative trends in these areas that have appeared in recent years first of all have to do with miscalculations and accumulated systemic errors of macroeconomic, energy, and food policy of Western states. COVID-19 pandemic also played a role, having disrupted the supply chains. Apart from that, illegal unilateral restrictions that were imposed on Russia in February-March this year also aggravated the situation.
In the context of discussing the socio-economic situation in the Central African Republic, we note with concern that external donors are “freezing” direct budgetary support on their end. This threatens to exacerbate the situation in CAR and jeopardize the achievements of recent years in the area of national reconciliation.
In conclusion, let me comment on statements by some of our colleagues here in the Council who literally use any pretext to talk about Russia. Let me underscore in this regard that over the recent years the Central African Republic has achieved some considerable progress with stabilization, and has stepped out of a cycle of instability. This is an obvious thing. The level of progress makes the issue of lifting the arms embargo as relevant as never before. Not only CAR is asking for this. Termination of arms embargo is something that is also supported by CAR’s neighbors, other regional states, and the African Union. As the three African UNSC members said in a statement today – African countries have solidarity with Bangui. By all means, main credit for effecting these results goes to the people of Central Africa, as well as the leaders of the country who adopted a decisive and consistent stance, and assistance of the United Nations and bilateral partners. Russia’s support also played a role, which is recognized by our friends in Bangui. This is what matters the most, because there are still lots of problems to address, and we are ready to cooperate to do so.
Against this backdrop, the smear campaign that clearly manifested itself in today’s statement by the US, indicates who and what Washington is focused on. This is neither CAR, nor settlement in that country or efforts to improve the situation there. And this is a really sad thing. At the global arena, many still look forward to the United States adopting a responsible policy. Alas, that is not what we see happening.