On 6 September 2017, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) concerning the Central African Republic held its first open briefing since its establishment to all Member States on the midterm report of the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic and on national implementation of sanctions measures by regional States. The meeting was held in pursuance of paragraph 20 of resolution 2339 (2017), by which the Security Council encouraged the Chair to hold regular consultations with concerned Member States, international and regional and subregional organizations, in particular neighbouring and regional States, in order to ensure full implementation of sanctions measures.
In his overview of the midterm report, the Coordinator of the Panel, Mr. Esmenjaud, highlighted the key findings of the report, which was published on 26 July 2017. He also provided an update on recent events, namely on the political process, security situation, illegal exploitation of natural resources and violations of the sanctions measures. Noting that the agreement signed in Rome on 19 June 2017 under the auspices of the Sant’Egidio Community has been the major political development over recent months, the Coordinator expressed the view that the lack of a common vision from national, regional and international partners as to how resolve the current crisis had impeded the peace process to rapidly move forward. Mr. Esmenjaud reported that the armed groups had continued to control the major part of the country and challenged the Central African Republic Government’s efforts to restore State authority.
The Coordinator also reported that a possible rapprochement among the Union pour la Paix en Centrafrique (UPC) and various ex-Séléka factions might affect the nature of the conflict and bring to it a more charged religious dimension. The ongoing fighting had had a severe impact on civilians and had resulted in a concerning increase in the number of refugees and in serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Illegal exploitation of natural recourses by the armed groups and arms-trafficking from several neighbouring States continued in violation of the sanctions regime, whose implementation remains therefore limited, in the Panel’s view. Summing up, the Coordinator stressed that the Panel will continue its investigations into the violations of sanctions measures, and in particular the economic activities of sanctioned individuals, the attacks against peacekeepers and those who have incited attacks against the Fulani community.
The Permanent Representative of the Central African Republic expressed the view that the cooperation of regional States was crucial in ensuring the implementation of the travel band and in countering illicit arms-trafficking and cross-border smuggling of natural resources. The Permanent Representative of Cameroon informed about his countries efforts to implement the sanctions measures and about plans to set up a regional cross-border mechanism with the aim of creating a common approach to implement the arms embargo on a bilateral and regional level.
Member States and Committee members expressed appreciation for the work of the Panel of Experts and highlighted the significance of close regional cooperation among the Central African Republic and regional States to counter illicit arms-trafficking, cross-border smuggling of natural resources, and in ensuring the implementation of the sanctions measures. In this connection, Member States further called on regional States to fully comply with relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular to take advantage of existing arms embargo and travel ban exemption procedures. They reiterated that the Central African Republic Government needed to implement the asset freeze with regard to listed Central African Republic nationals.
Finally, the Chair of the Committee hoped that this open briefing would be a turning point in terms of more efficient implementation of the Central African Republic sanctions regime and expressed the view that solidarity of regional States towards the Central African Republic in ensuring the implementation of sanctions measures through possible regional cooperation mechanisms would also, in the end, benefit those regional States. He called on those States to continue to cooperate with the Panel of Experts and the Committee and ensured of his readiness to assist the Central African Republic and regional States in their national efforts to implement the sanctions regime.