The UN Security Council on Friday renewed the arms embargo against the Central African Republic (CAR) and extended the mandate of the expert panel assisting its sanctions committee for the country.
Thirteen of the 15 Council members voted in favour of the resolution, with China and Russia abstaining.
The resolution prohibits the supply, sale or transfer of weapons, ammunition and military equipment to the country, including vehicles.
Items for the UN peacekeeping operation there, MINUSCA, and European and French forces deployed on training missions, are exempt.
Despite the signing of a peace deal between the Government and 14 armed groups last February, the CAR continues to experience violence and insecurity.
The resolution was sponsored by France, and renews the arms embargo through the end of July, with the expert mandate expiring the following month.
French permanent representative Anne Gueguen underscored support for the West African country.
“Against a security backdrop which is still unstable, we deem it important to maintain a responsible approach and to ensure that we assist the Central African authorities in progress towards reforming security sector and towards the disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation of former members of armed groups, as well as the management of weapons and ammunition. This is a key element for enduring peace and security”, she said.
China explained that it had abstained from voting partly because the resolution did not fully respect the wishes of the CAR authorities.
Noting that political and security conditions are improving, deputy permanent representative Wu Haitao said the Council should lift the embargo which “will help the CAR Government enhance its capability to maintain national safety and security, and facilitate the political settlement of the CAR issue.”
Russia was unable to support the resolution as the text did not take all arguments into consideration, according to deputy permanent representative Dmitry Polyanskiy.
He described the arms embargo as a “de facto obstacle” to the re-arming of the national forces, adding that “meanwhile, armed groups - the spoilers of the peace process - have no obstacles when it comes to obtaining arms through trafficking.”