Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on the situation in the Central African Republic
We thank Mr. Mankeur Ndiaye, Mr. Adeoye Bankole, Mr. Olof Skoog for their briefings. We followed closely remarks by Ms. Pamela Derom. We welcome the participation of President of the Central African Republic H.E. Mr. Faustin-Archange Touadera in this meeting. His insights are especially relevant for consideration of the situation in his country by the Security Council.
We keep close track of the developments in the CAR. We are convinced that the Comprehensive Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in CAR of 6 February 2019 is the basis for achieving lasting peace and security in the country. We commend efforts of the authorities, including the new government (where armed groups that signed the Political Agreement are represented) to carry out the republican dialogue initiated by President Touadera. It is essential that the authorities are committed to ensuring inclusiveness and that the dialogue’s “roadmap” envisages an opportunity to engage in this process the illegal armed formations that seceded from the Khartoum Agreements.
In this regard, we welcome the ceasefire regime that President Touadera announced on 15 October.
We note that public officials receive broader representation in the regions of the CAR, and more law-enforcement personnel become deployed throughout the country. We also see an increase in the number of judiciary bodies. Preparations for municipal elections that are scheduled for September 2022 have started.
We support these efforts aimed at normalizing the situation in the Republic. It became possible because governmental troops pushed back the rebels, prevented them from going on an offensive, and stabilized the overall situation. At the same time, the alliance of illegal armed groups ‘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.
Clearly, comprehensive and well-coordinated assistance of the international community to the CAR authorities must continue. We welcome active engagement of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Economic Community of Central African States in the efforts of the United Nations and Bangui’s international partners aimed at stabilizing the situation in the CAR.
In this regard, we comment the results of the third Mini-Summit of ICGLR member states that took place on 16 September in Luanda and outlined further steps for implementing the “roadmap” on ensuring peace in the CAR that the Angolan side had proposed earlier. It is important, however, that all mediator initiatives at the level of sub-regional organizations were implemented with consent and under participation of the CAR Government.
We proceed from the assumption that efforts to overcome the internal crisis might protract, unless the leadership of the country receives effective assistance in boosting the operational efficiency of the national armed forces. We are convinced that a capable army and law-enforcement build an important prerequisite for long-term improvement of the situation in the Central African Republic.
We assume that MINUSCA is to be an important element of the CAR security – i.a. in view of the peacekeepers’ mandated tasks to counter the illegal armed formations as part of civilian protection activity. We stand for closer coordination on the ground between MINUSCA on the one side and Bangui and its bilateral partners on the other. It is our firm conviction that a peacekeeping mission can fully implement its mandate only if it shares mutual trust with the host country authorities.
Also, we are strongly convinced that when assigning additional contingents to MINUSCA under UNSC resolution 2566, the UN Secretariat should stand in close coordination with Bangui and account for the opinion of the CAR, i.a. in what regards the national composition of the military or police personnel that is to be deployed.
We must be aware that a peacekeeping mission cannot and must not substitute for efforts of national authorities. It is the authorities that shoulder the main responsibility for the fate of their country and its population. In this regard, the capacity of Central Africans must be strengthened further. However, the arms embargo regime hampers achievement of this goal. We once again draw attention of our Council colleagues to the calls coming from the CAR and the region and the need to lift the restrictions from Bangui.
At the request of the CAR authorities and with the knowledge of Security Council’s specialized Sanctions Committee 2127, there are Russian instructors working in the country. They improve successfully the level of professional expertise of the Central African law enforcement, thanks to which the military situation there has stabilized.
I repeat: Russian instructors take no part in armed action. Any possible violations of the international humanitarian law and human rights must be investigated by the national authorities. We have established a close and mutually respectful dialogue with them. Should we receive from the CAR law enforcement bodies any information pertaining to concrete incidents, we will study it thoroughly.
As for the allegations made by our colleagues in the Security Council, we once again remind that they should rather pay attention to blatant violations of human rights and the IHL by their own military and private companies, and give some thought to the results of their years-long involvement in military campaigns in Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other parts of the globe.
I repeat: the Central African Republic is not an arena for confrontation. It is rather an opportunity to act collectively and help a country that finds itself in an extremely difficult situation. Russia will remain open for cooperation with all constructive forces. We are certain that we have every opportunity to establish such interaction without any divisive lines and with due account for the balance of interests. Fight against extremists and stabilization in the CAR and other countries is our common goal. We proceed from the assumption that the modern world leaves no space for neo-colonial practices, economic blackmail, pitching neighbors against each other, and attempts to dictate to sovereign states, with whom they can or cannot establish cooperation, including military cooperation. This patronizing tone turns out able to convince ever fewer states.