Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department Artyom Kozhin’s answer to a media question on cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Central African Republic
Question: Recently, Western media have published articles on the nature and content of Russia's bilateral relations with the Central African Republic. What is your take on the state and prospects for Russia-CAR cooperation?
Artyom Kozhin: The Russian Federation and the Central African Republic have a long history of mutually beneficial partnership.
Since the time diplomatic relations were established on December 7, 1960, cooperation between our two countries has unfolded steadily in a friendly atmosphere. Unfortunately, the ensuing long period of internal political turmoil in the CAR led to a decrease in intensity of interaction between our states.
According to the results of the presidential election held in the CAR in 2016, Faustin-Archange Touadera was elected head of state.
The international community positively assessed the democratic nature of the elections and the transparency of the electoral process. The CAR’s new government, led by the president, embarked on a course to restore domestic political stability and diversify its international relations.
The meeting between Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and CAR President F.A. Touadera that took place in Sochi on October 9, 2017 was an important milestone in our bilateral cooperation. The participants re-affirmed their commitment to restoring practical cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, education and healthcare.
Under existing agreements, Russia is exploring the possibilities of the mutually beneficial development of Central African natural resources. The prospecting mining exploration concessions began in 2018. We believe these projects will help stabilise the economic situation in the CAR, promote the construction of the infrastructure, and serve as a basis for drawing additional investment to the country's economy.
Moscow welcomes the policy adopted by Faustin-Archange Touadera to establish an inclusive political process in the CAR, to put an early end to interethnic and inter-confessional clashes, and to restore state authority throughout the country. We believe measures taken by the CAR leadership to reform the security sector are important. Such steps are designed to facilitate, including with the support of the international community, the normalisation of the situation in the republic, as well as to implement the National Defence Plan in order to gradually transfer all responsibility for the state of affairs to the legitimate authorities.
Responding to a corresponding request from the president of the CAR, Russia decided to provide Bangui with free military-technical assistance. With the consent of the UN Security Council Committee created pursuant to UNSC Resolution 2127, an allocation of small arms and ammunition from the stocks of Russia’s Defence Ministry was made available to the Central African Army in late January - early February. Five military and 170 civilian instructors from Russia were sent to train CAR service personnel with the knowledge of this committee. This assistance is provided in strict accordance with the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on the country. Russia’s assistance is carried out as part of the common efforts of the international community to strengthen the national security units of the CAR, to transfer full responsibility for maintaining security and law and order throughout its territory to the local authority and, ultimately, to normalise the situation and to provide a lasting solution to the drawn-out internal armed conflict.