Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
July 27, 2023
Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to thank the members of the Council for their engagement on this resolution and France for its leadership as penholder, especially through the extensive consultations in which it had engaged.
The United States was pleased to vote in favor of the extension of the CAR Panel of Experts’ mandate and the renewal of elements of the arms embargo, travel ban, and asset freeze. We voted in favor because the measures in this resolution are crucial to promoting peace and stability in the Central African Republic and broader region.
Most importantly, this resolution will help keep dangerous weapons and resources from reaching armed groups. Today’s renewal also ensures the Panel of Experts will continue its oversight and reporting responsibilities, which inform the CAR Sanctions Committee and this Council.
The United States acknowledges the call by the Central African Government to fully lift the arms embargo, but we remain concerned by the security situation in CAR and some Council Members’ and CAR authorities’ disregard for the sanctions regime’s notification requirements, as noted in the Panel of Experts’ final report.
Notably, nothing in this or in previous sanctions regimes has kept Central African security forces from receiving any weapons or training they requested. The United States is committed to lifting sanctions when conditions permit, but that is not yet the case in the Central African Republic.
Although the CAR government has made progress in achieving the key benchmarks on security sector reform, further efforts are needed to strengthen stockpile management and address cross-border arms and natural resource smuggling. For these reasons we are disappointed the Council did not include in this resolution an annex of weapons that would have required notification to the CAR Sanctions Committee.
We are increasingly alarmed by reports that MANPADs have been transported through CAR into Sudan by the Wagner Group. Oversight of these weapons remains important for monitoring the security situation in CAR and the broader region. We are also very concerned about the threat that these weapons could pose to the safety and security of peacekeepers serving in MINUSCA.
I would like to highlight that under the terms of today’s resolution, Russia remains obligated to notify the Committee of all transfers of weapons and resources to its Wagner mercenaries in the Central African Republic. Any failure to do so will violate the terms of the sanctions regime.
Thank you, President.