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SC/14096
31 January 2020
8712th Meeting (AM)

Adopting Resolution 2507 (2020), Security Council Extends Central African Republic Sanctions Regime, Panel of Experts Mandate

The Security Council today decided to renew its Central African Republic sanctions regime for six months — including an arms and ammunition embargo, with a number of exemptions — while renewing the mandate its related Panel of Experts for seven months.

Adopting resolution 2507 (2020) under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations by a vote of 10 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (China, Russian Federation), the Council decided that Member States will continue to prevent the supply, sale or transfer of arms and related material to the Central African Republic until 31 July.  It also decided to extend until 31 August the mandate of the Panel of Experts tasked with assisting its Central African Republic sanctions committee.

However, the Council also outlined a range of exemptions to the arms embargo.  Those included supplies intended solely to support the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and training missions deployed by the European Union and France; supplies of non-lethal equipment and assistance intended solely to support the security sector reform process; supplies brought into the country by Chadian or Sudanese forces solely for their use in international patrols; and supplies of non-lethal military equipment intended solely for humanitarian or protective use, among several other exemptions.

Speaking after the adoption, several representatives welcomed the resolution as a positive compromise, while also expressing regret that the Council lacked unanimity on the matter.  However, others described the security situation in the Central African Republic as steadily improving and said the sanctions regime should be lifted in response.

“It is regrettable that this unity could not be fully reached in the end,” said the representative of Germany, noting that the resolution was intended to send a message of solidarity to the Central African Republic — especially in light of the country’s upcoming elections.  Assuring Bangui of Germany’s strong support, he said much remains to be done as attacks against civilians continue unabated in some parts of the Central African Republic.  Today’s adoption must be seen against the backdrop of the widespread availability of small arms and light weapons across many parts of Africa, he said.

Niger’s representative, also speaking on behalf of South Africa and Tunisia, praised efforts by the Central African Republic Government to restore peace and stability.  Emphasizing that sanctions regimes must not be treated as a goal in and of themselves — but instead as a tool to restore stability — he said the text adopted today responds to Bangui’s various requests, paving the way to allow the defence forces to equip themselves and push back the armed groups that threaten peace and stability.

The representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines agreed that sanctions are an imperfect tool.  However, among the basket of corrective options currently available, they are likely to yield some intended results with minimal collateral effects.  “To be clear, our desire is not to punish the Central African Republic, but to support the State as it restores its own authority and fulfils its responsibility of protecting civilians,” she stressed.

The representative of the Russian Federation said his country was unable to vote in favour of the resolution as neither official requests from Bangui nor the views of Moscow were considered in its drafting process.  Warning that the arms embargo detracts from the ability of the Central African Republic’s security forces to maintain peace and security, he said armed groups active in the country have no trouble obtaining weapons through illicit sources.  Against that backdrop, he pledged to further review the Council’s sanctions regime in July, with a view to their full lifting.

The representative of the Central African Republic welcomed the resolution’s adoption even though it did not attain consensus.  Welcoming the further easing of some of the embargo’s restrictions, she nevertheless drew attention to recent violence, underlining the need for her Government’s defence and security forces to intervene quickly to stop criminal activities.  For that reason, Bangui continues to seek a complete lifting of the arms embargo.

Also speaking today were representatives of France, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Belgium, Indonesia, China, United Kingdom, United States and Viet Nam.

The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 10:42 a.m.

Statements

ANNE GUEGUEN (France) welcomed the renewal of the sanctions regime, describing the text as a positive compromise.  However, she voiced regret that the Council lacked unanimity on the matter.  Emphasizing that the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) — a major commitment of the Organization — ensures the security of the population, she said it works alongside the progressive deployment of the country’s armed forces.  To achieve that goal, the Council has in the last two resolutions allowed for significant easings of the arms embargo.  Against a security backdrop that remains unstable, she called for a responsible international approach aimed at supporting Bangui’s security sector reform process, its disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation processes and the improvement of its weapons management systems.

ABDOU ABARRY (Niger), also speaking on behalf of South Africa and Tunisia, agreed that the resolution was the product of constructive negotiations.  Hailing efforts by the Central African Republic Government to restore peace and stability, he said the sanctions regime must not be treated as a goal in and of itself, but instead as a tool to restore stability.  The text adopted today responds to Bangui’s various requests, paving the way to allow the defence forces to equip themselves and push back the armed groups that threaten peace and stability.

INGA RHONDA KING (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) said her delegation supported the adoption of the resolution, as sanctions are indeed an imperfect tool, but among the basket of corrective options currently available, such measures are likely to yield some intended results with minimal collateral effects.  “To be clear, our desire is not to punish the Central African Republic, but to support the State as it restores its own authority and fulfils its responsibility of protecting civilians,” she said.

JUERGEN SCHULZ (Germany) said the resolution was intended to send a signal of unity to the Central African Republic, especially in light of its upcoming elections.  “It is regrettable that this unity could not be fully reached in the end,” he said.  Assuring Bangui of Germany’s strong support, he said much remains to be done as attacks against civilians continue unabated in some parts of the Central African Republic.  Today’s decision must be seen against the backdrop of the widespread availability of small arms and light weapons across many parts of Africa.  Expressing support for the “Silencing the Guns by 2020” initiative, he underlined Bangui’s responsibility to ensure that weapons are only used for legitimate purposes.

MELANIE HIDALGO (Dominican Republic), welcoming the resolution’s adoption, expressed hope that, over the next six months, the Central African Republic’s authorities will continue to implement the measures outlined in Council Presidential Statement PRST/2019/3, leading to the full lifting of the arms embargo.  All parties should implement the peace agreement and work towards peace and stability, she said.

GERT AUVÄÄRT (Estonia) echoed others in voicing regret that the Council was unable to stand united against the flow of weapons to a country suffering from significant incidences of violence.  “It is our common goal to restrict the flow of weapons into hands that would use them to further destabilize the situation in the Central African Republic,” he stressed.

KAREN VAN VLIERBERGE (Belgium) said the arms embargo remains indispensable to creating the conditions needed for peace and stability in the Central African Republic.  Spotlighting the important exemptions outlined in the resolution, she vowed to stand beside the Central African Republic both at the national level and through the European Union’s significant support.

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) said the Council heard and reacted to calls from the Central African Republic as it works to restore peace and stability.  Describing the resolution as an expression of the Council’s strong support, he emphasised that “sanctions are not forever” and should not be seen as an end in themselves.

WU HAITAO (China) said the security situation in the Central African Republic is generally improving and echoed other speakers in stressing that sanctions are only a tool to help a country restore order.  The Council should respond to the changing situation on the ground and lift the sanctions measures as early as possible, he stressed, underlining the need to enable the country’s security forces to maintain peace and stability.  China had no choice but to abstain in the vote, as the resolution adopted today does not reflect the views of some Council members.

DAVID CLAY (United Kingdom) expressed concern about the renewal of the Panel of Experts’ mandate for only six months, which he stressed is too short a period and “sends the wrong signal” to the armed groups active throughout the Central African Republic.  The notification and exemption procedures outlined in the resolution are crucial, he said, warning against claims to the contrary.  Welcoming Bangui’s progress in pursuing the five benchmarks previously laid out by the Council, he said the arms embargo nevertheless remains crucial, and expressed his country’s full support for the Government and the armed forces of the Central African Republic.

DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) said his country was unable to vote in favour of the resolution as not all of its arguments were taken into account in the negotiation process.  Neither official requests from Bangui nor the views of the Russian Federation were considered, he said, warning that the arms embargo detracts from the ability of the Central African Republic’s security forces to maintain peace and security.  Meanwhile, the armed groups active in the country have no trouble obtaining weapons through illicit sources.  Against that backdrop, he pledged to further review the Council’s sanctions regime in July, with a view to their full lifting.

CHERITH NORMAN-CHALET (United States) expressed hope that the extension of the embargo and assets freeze will keep pressure on the armed groups active in the Central African Republic.  Responding to public comments made by the Russian Federation, which denigrated those Council members who disagreed with Moscow’s position, she declared:  “All of us are engaged in this matter because we want to see peace and security in the Central African Republic.”  The United States is the single largest donor to the country and has provided more than $140 million in the last year alone.  Warning Council members against spreading false narratives or denigrating each other’s views, she urged them instead to work together in pursuit of peace and security.

DIN QUY DANG (Viet Nam), Council President for January, spoke in his national capacity, welcoming today’s resolution as a demonstration of the fact that the 15-member organ is closely following the situation in the Central African Republic and supporting efforts towards lasting peace.  The sanctions listed therein pave the way to peace, in line with the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said.

AMBROISINE KPONGO (Central African Republic) welcomed the adoption of today’s resolution, even though it did not attain unanimity.  Her delegation was pleased with the spirit of compromise among Council members as the entire people of her country depends on decisions by 15-member organ.  Consultations yielded some results, she said, welcoming the further easing of supplies to certain types of vehicles.  Citing the most recent violence, she stressed the need for her Government’s defence and security forces to intervene quickly to stop criminal activities.  This is the reason why the Government is requesting a complete lifting of arms embargo, she stressed.

For information media. Not an official record.