The authorities of the Central African Republic have reiterated their demand for the total lifting of the arms embargo at a regular meeting of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (UNMISCA).
While the progress made by Bangui in stabilizing the country since the signing of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement four years ago has been underlined, and relations between the Central African authorities and the UN mission have recently improved, the Central African government is seeking to do away with the obligation to notify every arms purchase.
The arms embargo was relaxed in 2020, but now Bangui is seeking to do away with the requirement to report every arms purchase. The main argument is that these formalities hamper responsiveness, at a time when the armed groups opposite are using more and more explosive devices.
Its main ally, Russia, backed up its request by invoking the “sovereignty” of the Central African Republic. The three African countries currently on the Council (Gabon, Ghana, and Mozambique) also joined in. “We join the African Union Peace and Security Council in calling for the total lifting of the arms embargo, to enable the defense forces to carry out their constitutional mandate of defense and protection of the country and its citizens, including its natural resources, without hindrance”, declared Michel-Xavier Biang, Ambassador of Gabon and Chairman of the Sanctions Committee.
To step up the political pressure, the representatives of Angola, Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea, Burundi, the DRC, and Congo marched to the Council to make the same request.
It is the United States, Great Britain, and France that are putting the brakes on, preferring the Council to retain its right of oversight over arms deliveries to Bangui. The Council will take its decision at the end of July 2023.