New York: The UN Security Council approved a resolution allowing almost 3,000 more peacekeepers to deploy in the Central African Republic (CAR), which is still under threat from armed groups trying to overthrow the government.
Drawn up by France, the resolution was adopted by 14 out of 15 members of the Security Council, with just Russia, which has troops deployed in the country, abstaining, diplomatic sources said.
“We wanted [the] text to mention the UN guiding principles for humanitarian assistance,” said Dmitry Polyanskyi, Russian ambassador to the UN, who added that attempts by unnamed countries to “dilute the strictness of the parameters of humanitarian assistance is not acceptable.”
“Russia continues to be guided by the need for close coordination with the governments of the recipient countries in the delivery of humanitarian aid to their territory and distribution,” he said.
MINUSCA, as the UN mission is known, is one of the UN’s biggest peacekeeping operations in the world, with an annual budget approaching $1 billion.
The resolution sets out an increase of 2,750 more soldiers and 940 more police officers. That will bring the total number of forces deployed in the country to 14,400 soldiers and 3,020 police, to strengthen MINUSCA’s ability to implement its priority mandated tasks.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in February that “the Central African Republic is at a critical juncture that will determine if peace and stability will be restored and put on a firmer footing.”
The Security Council also adopted a resolution extending its peacekeeping mission in South Sudan until March 15, 2022, without changing its strength despite a recent study recommending it be reduced to 15,000 troops from the current 17,000.
In February, President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar, for years on opposing sides of the battlefield, formed a coalition government after nearly a year of delay and haggling along with international pressure.
The cease-fire they agreed upon still largely holds, but observers say it is under increasing strain. The US-drafted resolution was approved unanimously, diplomatic sources said. Global Times.com