The Security Council today decided to extend a modified sanctions regime against the Central African Republic through 31 January 2020.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2488 (2019), the Council decided to review and adjust the arms embargo measures imposed in resolution 2399 (2018) and resolution 2454 (2019), which had extended previous travel bans, asset freezes and weapons sanctions.
In adopting resolution 2488 (2019), the 15-member organ outlined details on the types of weapons and lethal equipment permitted pursuant to previous resolutions, and decided that the supplying Member State is primarily responsible for notifying the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) concerning the Central African Republic at least 20 days in advance of the delivery of any supplies.
The Council called on Central African Republic authorities to allow the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the Committee’s Panel of Experts full access to the notified and exempted arms and related lethal equipment at the time of import. In addition, it called on authorities in the Central African Republic and neighbouring States to cooperate in investigating and combating transnational criminal networks and armed groups involved in trafficking.
The representative of Côte d’Ivoire, speaking also for Council members Equatorial Guinea and South Africa, said lifting some of the arms embargo provisions is a powerful driver of multidimensional efforts to speed up the re-establishment of national authority across the country. The Government must effectively protect its people and defend its territorial integrity which for so long has been jeopardized. He noted that if they are strictly respected, sanctions are an important tool. The three delegations joined consensus on the sanctions mandate renewal with the belief that such measures have an important role to play as the Government prepares for the 2020-2021 elections. He called on the Government and all regional partners to persevere in their efforts, urging the Council to continue to support any initiative aimed at convincing all parties that the peace agreement is the way to establish lasting peace.
Some Council members, including those from Belgium and Peru, said the sanctions are a way to support the Government at a time when armed groups were threatening civilians. Indonesia’s representative said sanctions are a means to achieve broader goals, adding that Council unity on the issue should be a sign to the international community to support the Central African Republic. Poland’s delegate noted that sanctions are not a punishment but a policy tool to ensure the safety of the population.
In a similar vein, the United Kingdom’s representative said work must continue to ensure that weapons intended for security forces do not fall into the hands of armed groups. Indeed, it is clear that armed groups continue to acquire weapons and break terms of the peace agreement, she said, urging all relevant actors to stem the flow of arms to them.
France’s delegate, noting that the sanctions were never designed as a means to an end, but rather as a way to establish lasting peace, said that by adopting the resolution, the Council has responded to an appeal expressed by Central African Republic authorities to ease up the arms embargo, making it possible for them to re-equip their security forces so that they can take responsibility for their national security. Germany’s representative agreed, adding that the sanctions regime and especially such actions against those who commit sexual violence is an important tool.
The representative of the Russian Federation, Council President for September, spoke in his national capacity, stressing that easing sanctions will continue to further the successful implementation of the Khartoum peace agreement. Noting that at the request of the Government, the Russian Federation is providing equipment and training instructors to the country, he said a number of measures have been organized to improve humanitarian and socioeconomic conditions there.
The representative of the Central African Republic expressed gratitude to all members of the Security Council for achieving consensus on the resolution. Armed groups are still present across the territory of the Central African Republic thanks largely to the supply of neighbouring countries. She called on all actors, particularly regional ones, to pool their efforts to help combat this weapons trafficking. Sanctions are never an end in themselves but rather a means of contributing to the stabilization of the country in its return to lasting peace. The resolution just adopted is a step in the right direction.
Also speaking today were representatives of China and the United States.
The meeting began at 10:07 a.m. and ended at 10:38 a.m.