On 26 January 2018, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) concerning the Central African Republic held, under the Presidency of Côte d’Ivoire, an open briefing for all Member States on the final report of the Panel of Experts (document S/2017/1023) and on national implementation of sanctions measures by invited regional States. The meeting was held in pursuance of paragraph 20 of resolution 2339 (2017), by which the Council encouraged the Chair to hold regular consultations with concerned Member States and international, regional and subregional organizations, particularly neighbouring and regional States, in order to ensure full implementation of sanctions measures.
The Coordinator of the Panel of Experts highlighted the report’s key findings and provided an update on developments since its submission. Fighting among armed groups had continued in the southeast due to the emergence of so-called self‑defence groups loosely connected to the anti-balaka against the ex-Séléka faction of UPC [Union pour la paix en Centrafrique] over the control of transhumance routes and natural resources. In the north-west, competition among armed groups for the control of territory and road axes had led to more intense fighting with a major impact on the civilian population, as well as growing numbers of internally displaced persons and refugees. The Coordinator reported that anti-Muslim and anti-MINUSCA [United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic] discourse, hate speech and incitement to violence by Bangui-based Government officials, politicians and civil society leaders had reached unprecedented levels and was fuelling attacks against Muslim population and the Mission. He further reported that the African Union Initiative had entered its operational phase and African Union facilitators had already met with various armed groups’ leaders to advance the political process. Finally, the Coordinator recalled that armed groups continue to engage in illegal trafficking in arms and natural resources.
The Permanent Representative of the Central African Republic reported that the Ministry of Defence had reached out to regional States and had already organized tripartite meetings aimed at forging regional cooperation in countering illicit trafficking of arms, ammunition and natural resources. Although cooperation among regional States was crucial in implementing the sanctions measures, every country in the region was dealing with its own problems, including long and porous borders which prevented to efficiently halting arms and ammunition trafficking. The Permanent Representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo cited his country’s efforts to implement the arms embargo and enhance the control of its border with the Central African Republic. The Permanent Representative of Chad expressed concerns regarding recent fighting in north-western Central African Republic and arrival of more than 20,000 new Central African Republic refugees to Chad. Member States and Committee members expressed appreciation for the work of the Panel of Experts and called for joint efforts by regional States in countering illicit trafficking in natural resources by armed groups that caused instability in the Central African Republic and neighbouring States. Delegations stressed the importance of close regional cooperation among regional States in implementing the sanctions regime and in addressing regional and subregional challenges, including illicit arms, ammunition and natural resources trafficking, and finding regional solutions to better address the issue of transhumance.