Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on the situation in the Central African Republic
We took note of the statements of today's speakers.
We welcome the participation in the meeting of President of Angola Joao Lourenco, as well as representative of the Republic of the Congo, who read the statement by the President of the Economic Community of Central African States, President of the country Denis Sassou Nguesso.
We are carefully following the developments in the Central African Republic (CAR). Governmental troops were able to repel insurgent forces while limiting their ability to mount military offensives. The overall situation has been stabilized. At the same time, the alliance of illegal armed groups, the so-called ‘Coalition of Patriots for Change’, has not given up its plans to take power in the country by force. In these conditions we believe that it is important to contribute in every possible way to strengthening the legitimately elected authorities of the CAR.
We are convinced that the political agreement on peace and reconciliation in the CAR of 6 February 2019 remains the only possible basis to achieve a lasting peace and security in the country. In this connection, we welcome the initiative by President Touadera to launch a republican dialogue. The refusal by political opponents of the Central African government to take part in the preliminary consultations is not constructive. They are losing an opportunity to set forward their demands and have them satisfied – if not all, then at least a part of them.
We welcome the contribution of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Economic Community of Central African States to resolving the conflict in the CAR. We commend the outcome of the second Mini-Summit of the member states of the ICGLR that took place on 20 April in Luanda, where relaunching of the Khartoum agreements was discussed. At the same time, we believe that any mediation initiatives in the format of sub-regional organizations should be conducted with the consent and participation of the government of the CAR.
We proceed from the premise that MINUSCA must be an important element of ensuring security in the country, taking into account the functions entrusted to the peacekeepers, including in combating illegal armed groups while they protect the civilian population, including IDPs and contributing to the reform of the security sector.
That is also our firm position that in selecting additional contingents to serve in MINUSCA, the Secretariat should closely coordinate with Bangui and to listen to the views of the Central Africans themselves, including regarding the national composition of the military and police contingents deployed. This is the only way to enhance the performance of the mission and to improve the cooperation between the UN staff and the authorities of the CAR.
At the same time, it is important to realize that the peacekeeping mission cannot and should not substitute the efforts of the national authorities. They bear the main responsibility for the fate of their country, for protecting their population. And in this connection, it is important to continue strengthening the CAR capacity. The arms embargo openly hinders this task. We once again would like to draw attention of the colleagues in the Security Council to the need to listen to the appeals by the CAR and regional countries about lifting restrictions against Bangui.
In general, we are in favor of a closer coordination between Bangui and bilateral partners on the ground. We are convinced that a fully-fledged implementation of the mandate of the peacekeeping mission can only be achieved by maintaining mutual trust with the authorities of the host country.
Russian instructors work in the CAR at the request of its authorities and with the knowledge of the specialized Security Council Sanctions Committee 2127. They improve successfully the level of the professional expertise of the Central African security forces without taking part in the military actions against the illegal armed groups.
However, in the recent past, we have witnessed constant attempts to discredit our instructors on the basis of very dubious reports. This looks more like an open anti-Russian political commissioning. If you look up the “Central African Republic” on the Internet, you will see hundreds of references to American and French media about so-called Russian mercenaries. At the same time, there is no evidence provided for these allegations. The sources are anonymous, supposedly to guarantee the safety of witnesses. Photos do not often correspond to what is written there. Can't this be called an information campaign? I would like to ask the Ambassador of France: Weren’t you the target of a similar information campaign in 2014 and 2015?
We would like to repeat once again: any potential cases of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights must be investigated by the national authorities.
For example, just a few days ago, the government of the CAR confirmed to us the outcome of an investigation of the recent killing of Sultan-Mayor of the city of Kui L.S Daoud for whose death a number of Western colleagues and media had blamed Russian instructors. Their involvement in this crime is not proven, whereas the main culprits were confirmed to be fighters from the 3R movement.
As for the unfounded allegations coming from the US, they are nothing new. Our colleagues see Russian mercenaries everywhere. The impression is that people in Washington live in a virtual reality: everything that the United States does is good, whereas everything that everyone else does, especially Russia, is evil. At the same time, the opinion of the African states concerned is of no interest to anyone at all.
During each of our statements on Iraq and Afghanistan in the Council, we could draw attention to blatant cases of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by Americans, talk about illegal and inhumane methods of interrogation of detainees in Guantanamo. By the way, these cases have been well documented. But the problem is that by doing this, by blaming a new factor for everything, the United States shifts the attention of the international community from the destructive behavior of the illegal armed groups in the CAR. These are precisely the activities of these illegal armed groups which are at the heart of a new cycle of violence in the CAR.
We have often said that in the Central African Republic and in fact, the African continent as a whole, there is enough room for mutually reinforcing efforts of all those who are ready to help Africans stand firmly on their own feet and to get rid of some of their chronic problems, many of which were provoked by colonial or neocolonial policies of our Western colleagues.
The situation in the Central African Republic grew worse not yesterday. For long years, various international players had been trying to offer assistance. And what was actually done to stabilize the situation? What kind of success was achieved?
For those who have short memories: an armed coup d’État was planned and declared to happen in the CAR last December. The overthrow was derailed to a large extent thanks to the fact that a number of bilateral partners, including Russia, came to the assistance of the legitimately elected authorities of the country. Russia will continue to be open to participation with all constructively motivated forces.