Security Council Extends Mandate of Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Central African Republic for One Year, Adopting Resolution 2659 (2022) – Central African Republic – ReliefWeb

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SECURITY COUNCIL
9190TH MEETING (PM)
SC/15104
14 NOVEMBER 2022
Stressing Country in Survival Mode, Its Minister Says Resolution Does Not Meet Requirements of Effective Peacekeeping Mission
The Security Council today decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) until 15 November 2023, detailing a range of mandated tasks from the protection of civilians to management of the environmental impacts of its operations.
Adopting resolution 2659 (2022) (to be issued as document S/RES/2659(2022)) by a vote of 12 in favour to none against, with 3 abstentions (China, Gabon, Russian Federation), the Council — acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations — decided to maintain MINUSCA’s current troop levels of up to 14,400 military personnel, 3,020 police personnel and 108 corrections officers.
By its terms, the Council identified the Mission’s priority tasks as protection of civilians; good offices and support to the peace process, including implementation of the ceasefire and the Political Agreement; facilitation of the immediate, full, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance; and protection of United Nations personnel, installations, equipment and goods.
It also identified a range of additional tasks, including support for the extension of State authority; promotion and protection of human rights; the Republican Dialogue and 2023 elections; security sector reform; disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation; and support for national and international justice.
The Council urged all parties to the conflict to respect the ceasefire and called on the Central African Republic’s authorities and the signatory armed groups to fully implement the Political Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in good faith and without delay. It also called on the authorities of the Central African Republic and those of neighbouring countries to cooperate at the regional level to investigate and combat transnational criminal networks and armed groups involved in arms trafficking and in the illegal exploitation of natural resources.
The representative of France, speaking after adoption, noted that the resolution enables MINUSCA to ensure continued support for the peace process in the Central African Republic and addresses the Mission’s freedom of movement, which is essential for the safety of the blue helmets. Recalling the attack in early October that led to the deaths of three Bangladeshi blue helmets, she said the authorities of the Central African Republic must lift the ban on night flights in the country — a call echoed by the United States, Ireland, United Kingdom and Albania.
Albania’s representative pointed out that that long-standing issue regarding the language on night flights has not found solution during bilateral engagements between MINUSCA and the Central African Republic. The Council must send a clear message that the Mission’s safety and its ability to perform is a priority, he stressed.
The representative of the United Kingdom also expressed disappointment over the loss of language concerning the responsibility to protect, underscoring that the Government remains responsible for protecting civilians from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
Ghana’s representative, Council President for November, speaking in his national capacity, said his delegation voted in favour of the resolution in the wider interest of peace and stability in the Central African Republic, not because it was “wholly satisfied with the final text”. Underscoring the importance of the host country’s views, he expressed hope that they will be given due consideration in future negotiations.
Kenya’s representative, in a similar vein, also called for improvements during the next renewal, underlining that the tasks concerning extension of State authority, deployment of security forces and the preservation of territorial integrity be considered “priority tasks” instead of “other tasks”. Highlighting the need for stronger language condemning the activities of armed groups, she pointed out that manifest geopolitical considerations and attendant polarization destroyed any hopes of consensus during negotiations.
However, Gabon’s representative voiced regret that proposals by the three African Council members, namely Gabon, Ghana and Kenya, were rejected. The resolution has not considered the efforts of the country’s armed forces to respect their State function to protect their national territory in difficult conditions and in a difficult economic context, she said.
China’s representative, in a similar vein, pointed out that the Government of the Central African Republic firmly hopes that the Mission’s assistance in expanding State authority in regained territory is listed as a priority, noting that that “legitimate demand” had not been respected in the draft resolution. Moreover, considerations related to the security threat of armed groups and the Mission’s independent strategic review had not been included.
The representative of the Russian Federation said the draft resolution only considered one of many issues mentioned by the Central African Republic. The document ignored the request to put cooperation with the authorities as a priority. She also expressed puzzlement about non-inclusion of the proposal made by the Russian Federation to investigate the chain of delivery of some explosive devices which have led to the death of three peacekeepers.
Sylvie Baïpo Temon, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Central African Republic, said that the adopted resolution does not meet the expectations of her country or the requirements of an effective peacekeeping mission. “The blue helmets do not have what they need to address the armed groups” in her country, she said, emphasizing that the Central African Republic is in survival mode.
Underscoring that there are and never have been any bans on night flights, she acknowledged that there are some constraints because of the difficult circumstances in the country. The freedom of movement of MINUSCA has not been hampered either, she said, urging the Council to work with her country to ensure that armed groups do not attack the blue helmets in their base.
The meeting began at 3:02 p.m. and ended at 3:56 p.m.
Statements
NATHALIE BROADHURST ESTIVAL (France), voicing regret about the abstentions, said her delegation works tirelessly to promote consensus and reconcile the sometimes-opposing positions of Council members, while aiming to preserve the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). The resolution enables MINUSCA to ensure continued support for the peace process in the Central African Republic. It also addresses the Mission’s freedom of movement, which must be guaranteed without restriction, and is essential for the safety of the blue helmets. Recalling the attack in early October that led to the deaths of three Bangladeshi blue helmets, she said that, for this reason, the Council recalls in the resolution that the authorities of the Central African Republic should lift the ban on night flights in the country.
LILLY STELLA NGYEMA NDONG (Gabon), reiterated support for MINUSCA, but pointed out that the resolution adopted does not respond to the aspirations of the Central African Republic. She recalled that Gabon has always been in favour of a standing dialogue between peacekeeping operations and host countries, taking into account realities on the ground and the real needs of the population. An effective mandate should be well-balanced and inclusive, capable of incorporating all the parties, she said, calling for the efforts of the Central African authorities to be supported. She expressed regret on the rejection of the proposals by the three African council members [Gabon, Ghana and Kenya] and noted that the resolution has not taken into account the efforts of the country’s armed forced to respect their State function to protect their national territory in difficult conditions and in a difficult economic context.
RICHARD M. MILLS JR. (United States) said that his delegation voted in favour of renewing MINUSCA’s mandate because doing so empowers the Mission to continue protecting civilians, supporting the Central African Republic’s peace process and serving a stabilizing role throughout the country. Additionally, the Mission has made welcome advances to address the growing threat posed by explosive devices, counter disinformation and encourage the use of renewable energy. Noting that the resolution is further strengthened by its responsiveness to the host Government’s requests, he welcomed the text’s unequivocal support for peacekeeper safety and security. This includes a call for the full implementation of the status-of-forces agreement. He also said he looked forward to the Central African Republic lifting the ban on night flights for the Mission as soon as possible. On that point, he said he found it difficult that some Council members who promote the safety of peacekeepers objected to including language regarding night flights in this mandate renewal. He added that, although the resolution condemns the crimes of armed groups, it does not name the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group, which has obstructed MINUSCA’s ability to fulfil its mandate and stands accused of egregious human-rights abuses.
JAYNE JEPKORIR TOROITICH (Kenya), noting the critical need to improve the resolution, said that nevertheless, “we were persuaded by the need to give the new Special Representative time and support to build on the new impetus”. The Government and the Mission must occupy their mandates with clarity and professional propriety, she said, adding that while some of the proposals presented by the “A3” [African Council members Gabon, Ghana and Kenya], after consultations with the Central African Republic, were agreed to, important ones were left out. Calling for improvements during the next renewal, she highlighted the proposal to promote the task concerning extension of State authority, the deployment of security forces, and the preservation of territorial integrity from “other tasks” category to “priority tasks”. Also underscoring the need for stronger language condemning the activities of armed groups, she expressed regret that the manifest geopolitical considerations and attendant polarization destroyed any hopes of consensus during the negotiations.
VEBJOERN HEINES (Norway) said his delegation voted in favour of the resolution because of the importance of backing the Mission and the Special Representative’s support for peace and progress in the Central African Republic. The troop- and police-contributing countries are the critical components for this to even be possible, he said. As a Council member, his country sees it as a responsibility to not just send United Nations personnel to help in the country, but to send signals about ensuring their safety and security while carrying out their tough and important jobs, including through availability of quick CASEVAC air ambulance operations when needed day or night.
MARTIN GALLAGHER (Ireland) welcomed the adoption of the resolution. He noted that the challenges to the freedom of movement of the Mission, including continued restrictions on night flights, make it difficult to fulfil MINUSCA’s mandate. He echoed the Secretary-General in urging the Government to uphold its commitment to take appropriate measures to fully implement the status‑of‑forces agreement. He further expressed appreciation to France for their untiring efforts to reconcile diverging views and secure agreements on the resolution.
JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom), while welcoming the renewal of MINUSCA’s mandate, noted that delegations made difficult compromises. He expressed disappointment over the loss of language concerning the responsibility to protect, underscoring that the Government remains responsible for protecting civilians from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. While there has been a decrease in violations of the status-of-forces agreement, he expressed concern over the Government’s imposition of restrictions on night flights. These limit the Mission’s ability to implement its mandate — also jeopardizing the safety and security of peacekeepers and civilians — and he called on the authorities to ensure the Mission’s freedom of movement. He added that, with this renewed mandate, MINUSCA can continue providing effective support to long-term stability in the Central African Republic. However, the Government must now deliver on its commitments to protect civilians and human rights, take definitive steps to implement the peace agreement and uphold MINUSCA’s freedom of movement.
ARIAN SPASSE (Albania) expressed regret that despite the numerous and substantial compromises, the resolution did not receive unanimous support. Commending the work of France in reaching a compromise, he reiterated his delegation’s concern regarding the language on night flights. That long-standing issue has not found solution during bilateral engagements between MINUSCA and the Central African Republic, he noted, adding that it is crucial that the Council sends a clear message that the safety and the ability of the Mission to perform is a priority. He also stressed that the resolution is strong and well-equipped.
XING JISHENG (China) said that, while his country supports the extension of the mandate, there is room for improvement in the draft resolution. United Nations peacekeeping operations should define their priorities based on the needs of the host country. At present, the Government of the Central African Republic is continuing to recover lost territories and firmly hopes that the Mission’s assistance in expanding State authority in the regained territory is listed as a priority, he said, voicing regret that that “legitimate demand” had not been respected in the draft resolution. Moreover, considerations related to the security threat of armed groups and the Mission’s independent strategic review had not been taken aboard. For these reasons, his country decided to abstain from the vote, he said.
ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation), said that her delegation abstained in voting on the draft resolution, since it only considered one of many issues mentioned by the Central African Republic. The document ignored the request to put cooperation with the authorities as a priority, she said. She expressed puzzlement about non-inclusion of the proposal made by the Russian Federation to investigate the chain of delivery of some explosive devices which have led to the death of three peacekeepers. Because the sponsor of the resolution did not propose a balanced draft that meets the interests of the Central African Republic, the Russian Federation could not support the document, she said. However, she expressed hope that MINUSCA’s extension will contribute to the effort of the President to strengthen and expand the presence of the Government in various regions of the country to address humanitarian issues. One of the priorities should be to establish a trusting dialogue with the authorities, she added.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana), Council President for November, spoke in his national capacity to state that his delegation voted in favour of the resolution in the wider interest of peace and stability in the Central African Republic, not because it was “wholly satisfied with the final text”. Negotiations thereon could have been more consultative and could have accounted for the views of all Council members. He recalled that, when the Council renewed MINUSCA’s mandate in November 2021, it decided that the Mission would support the Central African Republic in protecting the civilian population, safeguarding State institutions and promoting the expansion of State authority across the country. Since then, the situation on the ground has not remained static, and legitimate adjustments were needed. He expressed disappointment that certain proposals were not considered and that certain language was not included in the resolution, also underlining the importance of the host country’s views. He expressed hope that such views will be given due consideration in future negotiations, especially because the cooperation of the Central African Republic’s authorities is needed for MINUSCA to successfully carry out its mandate. He added that the views of all Council members should be considered in future negotiations to forge consensus and present a unified message from the 15-nation organ.
SYLVIE BAÏPO TEMON, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Central African Republic, said that the adopted resolution does not meet the expectations of her country or the requirements of an effective peacekeeping mission. The text is primarily an appeal for support from the international community, she said, adding that it aims at addressing geopolitical stakes rather than assisting the Central African Republic. Thanking those States that upheld the cause of her country, she condemned the double standards by which the conflicts in Europe are met with proactive solutions and sanctions against the aggressor whereas in Africa, conflict responses are subject to delays and peacekeeping operations are often ineffective. “The blue helmets do not have what they need to address the armed groups” in her country, she said, emphasizing that the Central African Republic is in survival mode.
Stressing the importance of Security Council reform and a rethinking of international security, she called for more balanced representation for Africa in the Council. Instead of merely speaking about humanity, the international community must practice humanity, she stated, adding that robust peacekeeping must go beyond training soldiers. Recalling the failures of such solutions in previous peacekeeping missions, she stressed that the Special Representative must have sufficient latitude to make this Mission effective. A new rebellion in the Central African Republic would be a failure for the resolution, she cautioned.
Underscoring that there are and never have been any bans on night flights, she acknowledged that there are some constraints because of the difficult circumstances in the country. The freedom of movement of MINUSCA has not been hampered either, she said, calling for respect for her country’s sovereignty. In particular, she highlighted the importance of the non-use of vehicles which do not bear the United Nations emblem in areas where armed groups are very active. The Council must work with the Central African Republic to ensure that armed groups do not attack the blue helmets in their base, she said, also stressing the need to rebuild the country’s infrastructure and energy.
PEACEKEEPING
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
For information media. Not an official record.
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