in Defence / Features

No deal on lifting CAR arms embargo

Posted 22 November 2018 · Add Comment

An arms embargo placed on the Central African Republic is to remain in place, blocking a proposed Chinese weapons package being delivered to the country’s forces.

The UN Security Council originally imposed the sanctions in 2013 when the country descended into civil war.
The embargo was briefly and temporarily relaxed by the UN sanctions committee in 2017 to allow a Russian weapons package to reach the armed forces.
The Central African Republic then asked Security Council to approve a further package of weapons shipments, this time to be supplied by China.
However, the Security Council ruled that out and unanimously voted to extend its sanctions until January 31 2019.
The Central African Republic’s defence minister, Marie Noelle Koyara, explained that the proposed weapons would help to strengthen national forces who were “confronted with the strength and escalating violence of armed groups whose illegal activities pose a threat to civil order”.
The weapons would, she said, safeguard the security of the people and ensure the progressive enforcement of state authority.
The request for the Chinese weaponry was backed by the European Union military training mission and by the UN peacekeeping operation MINUCSA, but was opposed by the US and France, who questioned the need for anti-aircraft weapons, as well as anti-personnel grenades and rockets.
The UK expressed reservations about the proposed unescorted delivery through Cameroon.
The Central African Republic Government controls about one fifth of the country and relies heavily on MINUCSA. About a dozen main militia groups control the remainder, competing for control of mineral resources – and for the revenue from extortion and criminal activity.
The Central African Republic Air Force is virtually moribund, with only a single Eurocopter AS 350 Ecureuil helicopter and a handful of light aircraft airworthy.
 

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