The Security Council today decided to extend its sanctions regime against the Central African Republic for one year, including an arms and ammunition embargo with some exemptions, while also renewing the mandate of its related Panel of Experts for 13 months.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2536 (2020) under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the Council decided that Member States should continue to prevent the supply, sale or transfer of arms and related material to the Central African Republic until 31 July 2021.
It also decided to extend until 31 August 2021 the mandate of the Panel of Experts tasked with assisting the Sanctions Committee established by the Council in 2013 to oversee the sanction measures.
The arms and ammunition embargo exempts, among others, supplies to the Central African Republic security forces of weapons with a calibre of 14.5 millimetres or less, and ammunition and components specially designed for such weapons, as well as ground military vehicles and rocket‑propelled grenades.
By the text, the Council requested the country’s authorities to report to the Sanctions Committee by 15 June 2021 on the progress achieved regarding security sector reform; the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation process; and the management of weapons and ammunition.
It also requested that the Secretary-General assess, by no later than 15 June 2021, the progress achieved by the Central African Republic on the key benchmarks for lifting the arms embargo.
Speaking after the vote, Nicolas de Rivière (France) said that his delegation, which drafted the resolution, welcomed the unanimous renewal of sanction measures for one year. Today’s action demonstrates the Council’s unified approach to its Central African Republic file, which is essential during this period marked by preparations for the 2020 and 2021 elections and the fight against COVID-19. Noting that the Council remains open to hear the Central African Republic’s views on security, France proposed that the organ work towards further easing sanctions measures based on realistic analyses of progress made.
The United States joined the consensus, Rodney Hunter (United States) said, stating that the arms embargo will keep pressure on armed groups. He welcomed the Central African Republic authorities’ continued efforts to meet key benchmarks for security sector reform and disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation, urging the Government to intensify such action. He also urged the authorities to effectively control weapon stockpiles, expressing concern that rocket‑propelled grenades could be easily stolen by armed groups. Given the importance of stability towards upcoming elections, the one-year extension would give the Government time to meet those benchmarks.
Wellington Dario Bencosme Castaños (Dominican Republic) said that the resolution is well-balanced, as it considers progress on the key benchmarks and reflects the African country’s need to be well-equipped to repel armed groups. The 12-month renewal will also allow time to implement the benchmarks, he said, noting that the next renewal process will take place outside the election period.
Jonathan Guy Allen (United Kingdom) also welcomed the adoption, describing the 12-month extension as “a clear window for real progress” to be made on the benchmarks. Noting the Central African Republic authorities’ desire for the further easing of sanctions, he expressed concern about the management of rocket‑propelled grenades, urging the Government to expedite benchmark implementation.
Vassily A. Nebenzia (Russian Federation) reminded other Council members that the Central African Republic’s Government had requested the full lifting of the embargo, which is fully justified. While the arms embargo achieved success in its initial stages, it has complicated the situation, undermining the ability of the country’s security forces to protect their own people. He expressed hope that the embargo will be lifted in one year.
Zhang Jun (China) said that the political and security situation in the Central African Republic is improving and progress has been made to meet assessment benchmarks for easing the embargo, calling for greater efforts to lift the embargo expeditiously.
Abdou Abarry (Niger) welcomed the Central African Republic’s positive results on key benchmarks, emphasizing the need to ensure stability in the country before the elections, bolster the economy and enhance regional cooperation.
The meeting began at 10:11 a.m. and ended at 10:30 a.m.