Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on the situation in Central Africa

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June 5, 2023

Mme. President,

We thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General Abdou Abarry, Chair of ECCAS Gilberto Verissimo, as well as Ms. Marie Tamoifo for the substantive briefings.

Russia unfailingly supports the activities of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa aimed at strengthening peace and security in the region. UNOCA is a critical instrument of international preventive diplomacy. We see that good offices of the Special Representative are highly demanded in the sub-region. We note that mediator efforts are being made while in close contact with the sides in the hotbeds and in coordination with regional mechanisms and associations.

Situation in Central Africa is characterized by a high level of terrorist threat, social and political tension. Armed forces of sub-regional states have to confront illegal militias on a daily basis. The situation is further exacerbated by the porousness of the borders that comes together with a lack of funds for ensuring proper border control, thanks to which the paramilitary groups are able to do cross-border raids. Such groups as “Islamic State – West Africa Province” and “Boko Haram” are most active in Lake Chad Basin, spreading their influence on certain areas of Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon. They terrorize the local population, forcing them to co-exist and even collaborate. The ideology of radical Islam is gaining popularity. It is being spread by terrorists, especially among the young people.

Paramilitary groups have enhanced their potential in terms of structure and organization, which allows them to set objectives for conducting hostilities, plotting terrorist attacks and kidnappings, holding surveillance, collecting data, finding and training recruits, manufacturing IEDs.

Effective fight against terrorist threat requires our systemic and collective efforts. We believe that the large-scale operation that was carried out last year by the Multinational Joint Task Force of the Lake Chad Basin to eradicate terrorists on the islands within the borders of three countries (Chad, Niger, and Nigeria) was a success. It is important to continue consolidating the interaction among the states of the region both bilaterally and at various global platforms, including the United Nations.

We are concerned over the ongoing attacks on commercial vessels in the Gulf of Guinea. It is important to tap the resources of the international community to build the capacity of coastal states to combat piracy in view of their current lack of naval capabilities.

We keep track of the developments in Cameroon. The problems of Anglophone provinces stem from the colonial period. It is crucial to reject violence and seek for solutions through negotiations. We also follow the situation in Chad, where transitional building is in progress and recommendations of inter-Chadian national dialogue are being implemented.

We monitor the dynamics in the Central African Republic. With the support of its partners, including Russia, the authorities of CAR have overcome the most challenging stage of their fight against those who tried to effect a forceful anti-constitutional change of power.

We appreciate our cooperation with the CAR. We will keep assisting Bangui in combating the illegal paramilitary groups and expanding state presence in the regions of the country with a view to final settlement. We call on the Security Council to take more decisive steps in July this year towards a complete lifting of the arms embargo. This measure is required so the CAR can enhance its defense capacity. The African Union and the International Great Lakes Region Conference also say unambiguously that the restrictions need to be lifted.

We are concerned over the humanitarian situation in the sub-region with its considerable number of refugees, IDPs, and persons in need of humanitarian assistance. We realize that what is going on in Sudan is very serious and that the conflict incurs associated risks and challenges for the neighboring states. At this moment, there is a new flow of refugees. By latest UN data, Chad alone has received more than 100,000 people. International support for the states of the sub-region also should step up to accommodate the growing needs.

Challenges that exist for countries of Central Africa are of a complex nature. We are convinced that regional states themselves have a key role to play in crisis prevention and conflict resolution. The task of the international community is to render the required support while observing (in deeds rather than in words) sovereignty and independence of these states and with full respect towards the decisions they make.

Thank you.

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