UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The UN Security Council on Monday extended by one year the nearly 17,500-strong UN peacekeeping mission in the troubled Central African Republic, with Russia, China and Gabon abstaining.
The French-language resolution upholds the mission’s strong mandate, with a focus on protecting civilians, and encourages President Faustin-Archange Touadera and his government to promote lasting peace and stability through a revitalized peace and political process.
The vote was 12-0 with all three abstentions.
The mineral-rich but impoverished Central African Republic has faced deadly intercommunal fighting since 2013, when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power and forced President François Bozize from office. The mostly Christian militias later fought back and also attacked civilians in the streets. Untold thousands were killed and most of the Muslims in the capital fled in fear.
After Bozize’s candidacy for president was rejected by the constitutional court in December 2020, President Touadera won a second term with 53% of the vote. But he continues to face opposition from a rebel coalition linked to Bozize.
The government controls the capital, but much of the country is controlled by armed groups.
The resolution adopted on Monday urges all parties to respect the ceasefire, calls for an end to all attacks against civilians and calls on the Central African Republic and neighboring countries to investigate transnational criminal networks and armed groups involved in trafficking. weapons and the illegal exploitation of natural resources.
It also urges the authorities of the Central African Republic to urgently implement a reconciliation process that addresses the root causes of the conflict, including the marginalization of civilians from specific communities, issues of national identity, and local grievances.
Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN Anna Evstigneeva told the council that Moscow abstained because the views of the Central African Republic were not reflected in the resolution and Moscow cannot accept that the resolution puts the government and armed groups ” in equal conditions”.
The Minister of Foreign Relations of the Central African Republic, Sylvie Valérie Baipo-Temon, accused the majority of the states in the Security Council of acting as “judge and jury” in her country. CAR faces “an alarming humanitarian situation,” she said, and the country needs a mandate to address armed groups.