Despite an earlier appeal from the country’s President and China’s support during the Security Council deliberations.
The UN Security Council has extended the arms embargo against the Central African Republic (CAR), for a year (till July 31, 2022) saying the government hasn’t met U.N. benchmarks including ensuring the protection and control of all weapons. The decision was taken on Thursday, July 29, 2021 despite an appeal from the country’s President Faustin Touadera and massive Chinese influence in favour of the lifting. The council adopted the resolution, which also extends targeted sanctions on individuals and companies (travel bans and asset freezes), by a vote of 14-0 with China abstaining. The Council also extended the mandate of the panel of experts monitoring implementation of all sanctions until Aug. 31, 2022.
France’s U.N. Ambassador, Nicolas De Riviere, whose country sponsored the resolution, told reporters after the vote that it is “particularly important in the deteriorating context of the Central African Republic, with a very worrying amount of violence and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.” But China’s deputy U.N. ambassador Dai Bing strongly disagreed, saying that since December’s successful elections, “the security situation in the country continues to improve.”
When the council imposed the arms embargo on CAR in December 2013, he said, the intention was to help restore order. But “in reality, the arms embargo has become an obstacle that hampers the CAR government’s efforts to strengthen its security capabilities,” Dai said.
The resolution notes that CAR authorities, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, and the Economic Community of Central African States also supported lifting the arms embargo. It also noted that the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against CAR has approved all exemptions from the arms embargo requested by CAR authorities a point stressed by France’s De Riviere who said these exemptions are important to equip and train their army. Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador Dmitry Polyansky urged CAR to meet the benchmarks so the council could consider lifting the arms embargo next year.