BFF-02 UN gives green light on Russia arms to C. Africa





UN gives green light on Russia arms to C. Africa

UNITED NATIONS, United States, Dec 16, 2017 (BSS/AFP) – Russia has been
authorized to provide the Central African Republic’s armed forces with light
arms, under an exemption to an arms embargo on the country granted by the UN,
diplomatic sources said Friday.

“It’s clear,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

London, Paris and Washington had asked that the request be put on hold as
they sought additional information on the shipments.

They also called on Russia to strengthen measures related to the storage
of the weapons in the Central African Republic, which has been under an arms
embargo since 2013.

“Our only request was that the Russian delegation submit additional
information on the serial numbers of the weapons… so that we can track
weapons going into CAR,” said a US official.

“We think it is a reasonable request and underscores the importance of
coordinating the physical protection, control, safe storage and management of
transferred arms and ammunition.”

The Central African Republic’s leaders asked Russia several months ago to
provide weapons for units being formed by the EU.

Moscow wants to equip two battalions totaling 1,300 men. Among the weapons
to be shipped are 900 pistols, 5,200 assault rifles, 140 sniper rifles, 840
Kalashnikov machine guns, 270 RPGs and 20 anti-aircraft guns.

France blocked a previous request last month over concerns about the
storage of the weapons in the volatile country, a council diplomat said.

In response, Russia promised reinforced security for warehouses and that
it would stagger future deliveries. The first delivery is due next week, with
two more on February 1 and April 1.

It also wants to train troops on use of the weapons, another proposal
subject to the UN’s green light.

In the long term, the UN’s peacekeeping forces in the Central African
Republic must be replaced by the country’s own armed forces.

The Central African Republic has faced instability since it exploded into
violence after the 2013 overthrow of longtime leader Francois Bozize by the
mainly Muslim Seleka rebel alliance.

BSS/AFP/MRI/0808 hrs