Central African Republic Seeing Spikes in Rights Violations, Attacks on Aid Workers, Special Representative Tells Security Council, Calling for Support
Permanent Representative Requests Lifting of Arms Embargo, Stressing Sanctions Only Favour Bangui’s Enemies
Prolific violence surging in the Central African Republic has made that country one of the most dangerous places in the world for humanitarian personnel, the Head of the United Nations Mission there told the Security Council today, as members examined the situation in the wake of contentious presidential elections held in December 2020.
Among other things, the 15-member Council considered efforts by the Government to neutralize violent armed groups, as well as the utility of an arms embargo first imposed in 2013, as the country struggles to promote political dialogue and tackle a raft of security challenges.
Mankeur Ndiaye, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Central African Republic and Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), briefing the Council on the Secretary-General’s latest related report (document S/2021/571), said the country’s President and other political stakeholders are committed to holding local elections — last convened in 1988 — in early 2022, in order to enable the participation of all citizens in political life. However, he voiced concern over the military offensive currently being carried out by defence, bilateral and other security forces to eliminate guerrilla attacks by the group known as Coalition of Patriots for Change, or the Coalition.
“Never have violations of human rights and international humanitarian law equalled those recently committed,” he emphasized, reporting that Coalition armed forces are responsible for most of those violations in the asymmetric war being waged in the country’s central and north-west regions. Five times more incidents of conflict-related sexual violence occurred in the first quarter of 2021 as compared to the last quarter of 2020 and there were a total of 39 violations of the status of forces agreement between February and June. Meanwhile, humanitarian workers have been attacked 225 times over the first five months of 2021.
Against that backdrop, he called on the Council to address the increased risks that Blue Helmets are facing on the ground and create optimal conditions for MINISCUA to be effective. There is a genuine opportunity to restore stability, peace and development to the Central African Republic, he added, noting that the Mission will do its part to uphold United Nations principles on the ground.
Also highlighting that opportunity was Rita Laranjinha, European Union Managing Director for Africa, who said constitutional order was maintained and the electoral process has continued despite the threat posed by armed groups. Urgent reforms are needed, however, and national authorities must allow the political opposition to find its place within the current dialogue. Emphasizing the criticality of that dialogue, she voiced support for renewed efforts by regional partners, including the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region.
Bankole Adeoye, African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, detailed some of those initiatives, including a recent visit to the Central African Republic in which he and other international partners engaged with leading political actors, local officials and groups representing women and youth. The African Union — as guarantor of peace in the country — will continue to work with all stakeholders “to make peace a permanent feature” and strengthen the bloc’s strategy of “African solutions to African problems”, he said.
In the ensuing discussion, Council members stressed the need for national authorities to create favourable conditions for MINUSCA, including respecting the status of forces agreement and affording the Mission unhindered access throughout the country. Calling for a revitalized political dialogue aimed at promoting national reconciliation, many speakers decried rising violence against civilians, peacekeepers and humanitarian workers by national armed forces and military instructors hailing from the Russian Federation. Others stressed that the Government bears the primary responsibility for protecting civilians and, to that end, the Council must listen to regional appeals to lift the arms embargo restricting the resources necessary for national armed forces to assume the mantle.
Emphasizing that “there is no other alternative” to national reconciliation, the representative of Tunisia, speaking for the group known informally as the “A3+1” (Kenya, Niger, Tunisia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), described the Central African Republic’s 2020 elections as a litmus test of its 2019 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. Stressing that political dialogue must continue, he also encouraged the authorities to hold accountable those responsible for the significant increase in human rights violations, be they armed groups, national defence and security forces or bilaterally deployed personnel.
On that point, the representative of the United Kingdom joined other speakers in citing overwhelming evidence that “members of the national armed forces and the Russian private military personnel accompanying them” are committing human rights violations, including sexual violence. He encouraged the Russian Federation to reflect on its responsibilities as a permanent member of the Council, while underscoring the need to maintain the arms embargo for the moment. While the time may come to ensure the Central African Republic’s defensive capabilities, “that time is not now”, he said.
Addressing those points, the representative of the Russian Federation emphasized that allegations of mercenary activity by her country — offered without any evidence — “look more like an anti-Russian political hit job”. Its instructors are present in the Central African Republic with full knowledge of the Council, and do not participate in military action. Turning to the role being played by MINUSCA, she said the Mission’s efforts must not replace those of national authorities. To that end, the international community should strengthen the Government’s self-defence capacity by lifting the arms embargo imposed on Bangui.
Also addressing the Council was the representative of the Central African Republic, who pointed out that that the organ authorized the delivery of weapons to his country with the help of instructors from the Russian Federation. Calling for the arms embargo to be lifted as sanctions measures only favour the country’s enemies, he outlined Government efforts — and concomitant progress in recent months — towards greater institutional stability, the preservation of constitutional order and republican dialogue. “People want to turn the page and begin a new chapter,” he stressed.
Also speaking were representatives of Angola, Congo, France, Viet Nam, the United States, India, China, Mexico, Norway, Ireland, Estonia and Chad.
The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 12:53 p.m.
MANKEUR NDIAYE, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Central African Republic and Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), said the country’s President and other political stakeholders are committed to holding local elections — last convened in 1988 — in early 2022, in order to enable the participation of all citizens in political life. Asking the Council and all Member States to support the Central African Republic to that end through the common fund of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), he also voiced concern over the military offensive currently being carried out by defence, bilateral and other security forces to eliminate guerrilla attacks by the Coalition of Patriots for Change.
Noting that Coalition armed forces are responsible for many human rights violations in the asymmetric war being waged in the country’s central and north-west regions, he said 57 per cent of the population is now in need of humanitarian assistance. MINUSCA reports that “never have violations of human rights and international humanitarian law equalled those recently committed”. Stressing that the situation compromises any chance of building social cohesion and trust between the Government and its citizens, he warned that, if the current trend is not addressed, it could lead to radicalization and ruin the “meagre progress” made so far towards national reconciliation.
He further pointed out that five times more incidents of conflict-related sexual violence occurred in the first quarter of 2021 as compared to the last quarter of 2020, and that confusion stemming from an ineffective chain of command and control has resulted in an unprecedented increase in violations of the status of forces agreement ‑ a total of 39 between February and June 2021. Due to those violations, MINUSCA’s movement has been restricted, its vehicles searched, its personnel harassed and its bases violated by the armed forces of the Central African Republic. Additionally, other humanitarian workers have been attacked 225 times over the first five months of 2021.
Underlining the need to create optimal conditions for MINUSCA’s efficacy, he called for better cooperation among all actors on the ground. While the Mission is committed to its mandate and maintains strategic dialogue with the President, Prime Minister and other high-level authorities towards that end, relevant actors must ensure the safety of peacekeepers. The Mission also requires Council support to address the increased risks that Blue Helmets face, including rising levels of hate speech and violence against MINUSCA personnel. Despite those challenges, however, he cited a genuine opportunity to restore stability, peace and development in the Central African Republic. For its part, MINUSCA will be on the ground to uphold the principles and values of the United Nations.
RITA LARANJINHA, European Union Managing Director for Africa, said she had the opportunity to directly speak with the Central African authorities during the recent joint visit undertaken with the United Nations, the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). Despite threats posed by armed groups, constitutional order was maintained and the electoral process continued, with President Touadéra re-elected and a new Prime Minister appointed. However, many challenges remain and urgent reforms must start. Welcoming the announcement of the holding of a credible and inclusive republican dialogue, she said it could provide a lasting solution to the crisis. The authorities must create conditions conducive to the political opposition finding its place in the current dialogue, she said, stressing that the participation of the entire Central African society in all its diversity is essential. The European Union is available to provide advice, support and expertise in mediation efforts, she added.
Stressing that military action cannot be a lasting solution to the crisis, she said dialogue between the parties and the re-engagement of all is necessary, with the greater role of civil society, especially women and youth, and political parties. In that regard, she expressed support for the renewed efforts of regional partners, such as the African Union, ECCAS and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, encouraging harmonization of the initiatives under way. Disinformation campaigns, pressure on the opposition and the media and hate speech — as well as incitement to violence against the European Union, France or MINUSCA — must cease, she stressed, welcoming the public condemnation of disinformation by President Touadéra and the President of the National Assembly. Warning that excessive use of force endangers the authorities’ investment in social cohesion and the expansion of State authority, she also expressed concern about reported violations of human rights and humanitarian law by armed groups, the Central African armed forces and some allies. Voicing full support for MINUSCA in the face of attacks and access restrictions, she urged the authorities to take concrete measures to address such challenges.
BANKOLE ADEOYE, African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, said the bloc — as guarantor of peace in the Central African Republic — will continue to work with all stakeholders “to make peace a permanent feature” in that country. Highlighting subregional initiatives to promote peace and reconciliation, he said those efforts strengthen the African Union’s strategy of “African solutions to African problems”. He also recalled a recent visit to the country in which he, along with other international partners, were able to engage with leading political actors, local officials and groups representing women and youth, which demonstrates the international community’s commitment to inclusive peace and security of the Central African Republic. Noting that MINUSCA plays an important stabilizing role towards that end, he pledged the African Union’s continued support to the Mission. The Council, he added, must provide logistical support through MINUSCA to ensure that ceasefires are fully monitored and security operations are not conducted near civilians.
JOÃO MANUEL GONÇALVES LOURENÇO, President of Angola, said that as Chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, his country intends to dynamize and strengthen the forum to face the challenges facing peace, security, stability and development in the region. The strategic plan of Angola’s chairmanship is enrooted in the Pact for Peace, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region of 15 December 2006 and is guided by the principles of international law. Noting that the security situation in the Great Lakes Region, particularly in the Central African Republic, is characterized by the active presence of armed groups, he noted that 6 of the 14 groups that are signatories to the country’s February 2019 Political Agreement have denounced the pact.
Against that backdrop, he reported that at the International Conference summit in January, Heads of State and Government called on the rebel groups to observe an immediate and unilateral ceasefire and to abandon their siege of the city of Bangui. They also asked them to open the Duala-Bangui corridor to allow the free movement of people and goods and gave a mandate to the current Chairs of the forum and ECCAS to carry out the necessary steps with the Security Council to lift the arms embargo imposed on the Central African Republic. In that vein, he stressed that all States have the inalienable right to create their own capacity to defend themselves against internal and external threats by equipping their armed forces with personnel, weapons and equipment that meet their needs and capabilities, barring strong objective reasons that lead to the international community, through the Security Council, to curtail that right.
Noting that the arms embargo imposed by the Council makes it impossible for the Central African Government to acquire the resources it needs, he said the picture has changed in recent years and it is unrealistic to believe the same reasons that justified an embargo in the past still prevail. The current Government was legitimized by the last general elections, which were recognized by the international community as free and fair. Emphasizing that international terrorism has transferred its epicentre from the Middle East to Africa, he said that challenge has been aggravated by the fact that world Powers have decided to expel mercenaries and foreign fighters from Libya, without having them disarmed, accompanied and repatriated. That situation is exacerbating the proliferation of terrorism and increasing the threat to peace and stability in the Sahel region, as well as the countries of Central and Southern Africa. It is imperative that States acquire the capacity to defend themselves against that real threat, he stressed, pointing out that the army of heavily equipped mercenaries that recently travelled thousands of kilometres towards Chad’s capital, Djamena, would have continued its destructive path had Chad not invested in its armed forces.
FLAMEL ALAIN MOUANDA (Congo), noting that countries within the subregion are committed to MINUSCA and relevant Council resolutions, pledged that they will continue to work for the benefit of the Government and people of the Central African Republic while respecting that country’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. The Government bears the primary responsibility for creating conditions conducive to peace and reconciliation. However, given the recent resurgence of violence, he called on all parties to engage in dialogue and refrain from exacerbating the situation. Further, the Council must provide full staffing resources to MINUSCA and the international community must increase support for the Government so that it can shoulder its responsibility to guarantee security and preserve its territorial integrity. He also expressed hope that the Council will provide national security and defence forces with the resources they need, which have been limited by the arms embargo imposed on Bangui.
NICOLAS DE RIVIERE (France), noting that the situation in the Central African Republic goes beyond the most pessimistic scenarios imagined a few months ago, condemned all violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and stressed the urgent need to end the violence. The country is one of the most dangerous places in the world for humanitarian and medical personnel, with more than 220 incidents since the start of 2021 and nearly 600,000 people close to famine due to growing insecurity and barriers to humanitarian access. The reports of the Panel of Experts and the Secretary-General point to the responsibility of a new “mystery” actor operating alongside the Central African armed forces. While some attempt to deny the presence of the Wagner company, he requested more information as to that group’s capacity in the country and to whom it is answerable for its actions, and called upon the Central African authorities and bilateral forces to comply with their obligations by fully respecting the status of forces agreement.
HAI ANH PHAM (Viet Nam), while welcoming efforts to reinvigorate the peace process and ensure implementation of the Political Agreement, nonetheless expressed grave concern over the Central African Republic’s security situation and called on all parties to settle difference through peaceful means. “Trust and confidence need to be rebuilt,” he said. He described humanitarian conditions as alarming, noting that more than half of the population is in need of food assistance and that 2.3 million people are facing food insecurity. He called for unimpeded, sustained and secure humanitarian access, noting more broadly that regional organizations are well-positioned to understand the root causes of conflict and can therefore provide great assistance in this context. Expressing concern over recent anti-MINUSCA rhetoric and incidents affecting its operations, he said the most favourable conditions must be created to assist the Mission in discharging its mandate.
TAREK LADEB (Tunisia), also speaking for Kenya, Niger and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines — known informally as the “A3+1” — said the Central African Republic’s 2020 elections were a litmus test of the 2019 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. He encouraged political dialogue to continue, including with the opposition and civil society, calling on all parties to abide by the Agreement. Expressing deep concern over attacks against civilians, humanitarian actors and peacekeepers, he likewise strongly denounced the disinformation campaigns, hate speech and targeted attacks against MINUSCA and other international partners. He similarly voiced concern over actions by armed actors, mainly Coalition-affiliated groups, to destabilize the country, exacerbating already dramatic population displacements and leading to surging food prices and declining agricultural production.
National authorities and armed actors must ensure unhindered humanitarian access, he continued, while international and regional partners must provide financial support for the country’s Humanitarian Response Plan. He went on to express deep concern over the significant increase in conflict-related sexual violence and stigmatization of ethnic and religious minorities, whether by armed groups, national defence and security forces or bilaterally deployed security personnel, and encouraged the authorities to ensure that all violators are held to account. While reaffirming solidarity with the people in their pursuit of development, he reiterated that achieving such objectives will only be possible through a relaunch of the peace process. “There is no other alternative,” he stressed.
RICHARD M. MILLS, JR. (United States) condemned in the strongest terms attacks on peacekeepers and humanitarian workers, which constitute war crimes. His delegation is troubled by reports of Russian instructors committing violations of international humanitarian law and the United Nations arms embargo. Noting that the Secretary-General’s report points to a sharp increase in violations by national and bilateral forces, he expressed his delegation’s desire for more clarity as to the nature of those bilateral forces that operate under the auspices of the Russian Federation’s defence ministry. Rejecting their life-threatening actions, which obstruct the delivery of humanitarian aid, he called on all security actors to uphold the status of force agreement while urging a sharpened focus on security sector reform. The Council must speak with one voice against irresponsible actions of mercenaries, he stressed, noting that the United States intends to strengthen its bilateral partnership with the Central African Republic’s new Government and underlining the participation of women and girls in all political spheres as imperative.
T. S. TIRUMURTI (India) commended the National Electoral Authority for the successful conduct of elections and expressed hope that local authorities will conduct polls in 2022. Calling on the Coalition to participate in the national dialogue and stressing that full implementation of the peace agreement is the only way to achieve national reconciliation, he condemned ongoing violence by armed groups and expressed regret over the increase in serious human rights abuses, including sexual violence. The international community should extend all possible assistance to address the humanitarian situation. He welcomed the deployment of judicial personnel and the opening of investigations into attacks against MINUSCA peacekeepers, pushing all stakeholders — particularly those countries assisting the Central African Republic bilaterally — to coordinate with Bangui on security and judicial reforms. He pointed to the “exponential” increase in violations of the status of forces agreement as a serious concern, stressing that “we must protect those who are protecting us”. He went on to welcome the formation of an independent international commission to examine the 30 May border-post incident, adding that India has extended lines of credit for various industrial projects and contributed $1.5 million to the Central African Republic over the last year.
JAMES PAUL ROSCOE (United Kingdom) cited serious challenges in the Central African Republic, including a fragile security and political environment, enormous unmet humanitarian needs and now private military companies from the Russian Federation acting with the armed forces to obstruct MINUSCA. Expressing utmost concern over the significant increase in violations of the status of forces agreement against MINUSCA, and over human rights violations including sexual violence, he stated: “We know these are being committed not only by armed groups […] but also by members of the national armed forces and the Russian private military personnel accompanying them.” Citing overwhelming evidence of those facts, he encouraged the Russian Federation to reflect on its responsibilities as a permanent Council member and urged the Central African Republic to investigate all allegations and to take preventative actions. He also urged countries to address allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by MINUSCA personnel in line with the United Nations zero tolerance policy. All political actors must move ahead with the national dialogue, he said, while underscoring the need to maintain the arms embargo pending progress on key benchmarks. While the time may come to ensure the Central African Republic’s defensive capabilities, “that time is not now”, he said.
DAI BING (China) pointed out that the Government has overcome many difficulties, completed the electoral process and re-established State authority in many areas of the country, stressing that such positive developments warrant recognition. The international community, when providing support to the Central African Republic, must respect that nation’s wishes and offer tailored, constructive assistance. He also voiced support for the principle of “African solutions for African problems” and the efforts of subregional organizations to push for a political settlement to promote peace, stability and development in the region. Turning to MINUSCA, he called for the status of forces agreement to be upheld and for the Mission to rationalize its resources and forces with a view toward facilitating the Government’s eventual assumption of responsibility for peace and security. Further, the Council must heed the call of the Central African Republic and other States in the region to lift the arms embargo as soon as possible, he said.
ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation) said that, while the overall situation in the Central African Republic has stabilized, the Coalition “has not given up its plans to take power by force”. The political peace process is the only way to achieve lasting peace and security in the country and, by refusing to engage in dialogue with the Government, the opposition is losing its opportunity to present and partially achieve its demands. Turning to MINUSCA, she said the Mission must play an important role in ensuring national security, including by combating illegal armed groups, protecting the civilian population and contributing to security sector reform. Its efforts, however, cannot and should not substitute those of national authorities, who bear the primary responsibility for protecting the population. To that end, she called on the international community to strengthen the capacity of national armed forces, which requires listening to regional appeals to lift the arms embargo. She also pointed out that Russian instructors are working in the Central African Republic to enhance the professional expertise of security forces with full knowledge of the Council, and they are not taking part in military action. Rejecting attempts to discredit those professionals based on “very dubious” reports, she said allegations of mercenary activity by the Russian Federation, offered without any evidence, “look more like an anti-Russian political hit job”.
ALICIA GUADALUPE BUENROSTRO MASSIEU (Mexico) welcomed efforts by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region to advance peace in the Central African Republic, as coordinated support by regional organizations can give a “decisive boost” to the political process. Citing the border incident with Chad, which left six soldiers dead, as a sign of the risks facing the region, she welcomed the proposal to hold a national republican dialogue and the formation of a new Government. Reducing political instability requires an inclusive dialogue that addresses the legitimate claims made by marginalized communities. Noting that successful implementation of MINUSCA’s mandate depends on the Mission’s effective cooperation with authorities, he voiced concern over a significant increase in attacks against peacekeepers, especially violations of the security of forces agreement by national troops. She likewise deplored attacks targeting Muslims, urged authorities to take steps to ease tensions between communities and called for accountability for crimes committed during conflict. In addition, she strongly condemned the forced recruitment of children and the uptick in sexual violence by rebel groups, national forces and bilaterally deployed actors, urging all parties to abide by international humanitarian law.
MONA JUUL (Norway) expressed deep concern over the dramatic deterioration of humanitarian conditions in the Central African Republic, where more than half the population requires assistance and protection and half of children are out of school. “Much of this humanitarian crisis is man-made,” she insisted, calling for an end to the violence against civilians — notably conflict-related sexual violence, the recruitment of children and other crimes. “The national army and those who have been invited to support it should protect the people, not kill, rape and loot,” she emphasized. Moreover, the increase in status of forces agreement violations by national security forces and instructors from the Russian Federation is inadmissible. MINUSCA must be able to independently implement its mandate and requires unrestricted access in order to truly protect civilians. She urged all those with influence to help end attacks against the Mission, stressing that the country’s inclusive political dialogue must be resumed. The new Prime Minister must ensure the full and meaningful participation of women and make use of African Union resources to that end, she added.
GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland), welcoming the engagement of neighbouring States and regional organizations in efforts to promote peace and dialogue, called on the Council to support such measures and on the Central African Republic to engage with them. Voicing grave concern over serious violations of the status of forces agreement, which jeopardize the protection of civilians, she cited a “staggering” 278 per cent increase in alleged abuses by national, bilaterally deployed and other security personnel. Against that backdrop, she urged the Government to systematically investigate all allegations and prosecute the perpetrators, notably through a fully functioning Special Criminal Court. Authorities have a responsibility to protect the victims and survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and ensure the provision of holistic support, including psychosocial, sexual and reproductive health services. With humanitarian conditions now at their worst in five years, it is “absolutely vital” that unhindered humanitarian access is ensured by the Government and all armed actors operating in the country, she said.
SVEN JÜRGENSON (Estonia), Council President for June, spoke in his national capacity, strongly condemning the significant increase in human rights violations and abuses and the excessive use of force by all perpetrators — including armed groups, national defence and security forces and their Russian Federation partners. The hostile threats and incidents by the national security forces and their partners targeting MINUSCA and United Nations staff are utterly unacceptable, and such actions violate both Council resolutions and the commitments made as part of the status of forces agreement. They also unnecessarily hinder MINUSCA from protecting civilians and obstruct humanitarian aid at a time when food insecurity is high among the Central African Republic’s population. Joining the call for the rapid revitalization of reconciliation and political dialogue, he expressed support for the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in those processes.
MARCIEN AUBIN KPATAMANGO (Central African Republic) said that, following the failure of the Coalition of Patriots for Change group to gain strength, his country has seen institutional stability and the preservation of constitutional order in the past four months. President Touadéra outlined his priorities upon his election for a second term, which include good governance, promotion and protection of human rights, development, social cohesion, security and implementation of the peace instruments — including the 2019 Political Agreement. The President also launched a republican dialogue to rebuild the country, which has endured too many years of atrocity, violence and violations of territorial integrity. “People want to turn the page and begin a new chapter,” he said, adding that any society that embraces non-ethical behaviours is destined to decline. Underlining the need to be innovative and avoid repeating past solutions that did not work, he described the return of institutional stability as a priority.
Recalling that the Central African Republic sought a United Nations intervention in order to avoid a massacre and genocide in 2012-2013, he said the country’s approach has always been to seek adequate support from international, regional and other partners. The difficult challenges posed by the Coalition forced the Central African Republic authorities to forge bilateral agreements, which helped the country to hold its 2020 elections, prevent humanitarian disasters and strengthen its defence forces to deter terrorism. Noting that allegations against its allies will be investigated by a National Commission of Inquiry to render justice, he said the Council authorized the delivery of weapons to his country with the help of Russian instructors. Calling for the lifting of the arms embargo, he said those measures only favour the country’s enemies. Indeed, no State can build national armed forces under sanctions, he stressed.
AMMO AZIZA BAROUD (Chad), spotlighting the historical ties between her country and the Central African Republic, said the recent violence — including human-rights atrocities — committed by foreign mercenaries against civilians is compromising regional security. She expressed regret that “the military option drowned out negotiations” with relevant actors, including armed groups, and called on the United Nations and MINUSCA to ensure that the civilian population is better protected. Citing a recent offensive in Chad by Central African Republic armed forces and foreign mercenaries, she said that deadly surprise attack reflected the dominant position enjoyed by such mercenaries in controlling the activity of national troops. Despite that aggression, Chad sought dialogue and established an international, impartial committee to investigate the incident. She called on the international community to ensure that the gains made in African peace and security are consolidated, adding that progress towards inclusive dialogue and the restoration of State authority will facilitate the lifting of the arms embargo.