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Central African crisis: deputies worry, but Russia reassures

19.09.2018
A few days after the meeting of the leaders of the four main armed groups who reign over the national territory with a Russian delegation in Khartoum, the people's representatives, in their turn, summoned the Russian delegation to clarify its presence and the steps that it intends to undertake. The deputies did not fail to express their skepticism towards the Russian approach and the strict respect of the commitments made by the leaders of the armed groups concerned.

On Thursday, September 6th, the Security Advisor to the Head of State, Valery Zakharov, multiplies his efforts for the permanent return of peace. It was with this in mind that he met a strong delegation of the nation’s deputies at the Ledger Plaza Hotel, which was led by the 1st Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Jean Symphorien Mapenzi.
The purpose of this roundtable was to discuss the issues of the Khartoum Declaration signed by the four main leaders of the country’s armed groups.
The delegation of parliamentarians was made up of deputies from the localities of the country still beset by armed groups, namely Ndélé, Birao, Kaga-Bandoro, Bambari, Bangassou, Bria, Obo, and others. Only one item was on the agenda, namely the Khartoum Declaration of Understanding.
Firstly, the Head of State’s Special Adviser on Security took the floor to justify the reason that led Russia to dialogue with the nerdy armed groups. It is simply a matter of putting on par those bandits who continue to set the country ablaze so that the initiative of the African Union does not suffer any flaws.
These armed groups have committed to scrupulously respect the conclusions of the forthcoming dialogue, immediately ceasing hostilities.
In turn, the deputies took the floor not only to thank the Russian Federation for its presence in our wounded country, but also to express their concern about the persistence of violence against innocent civilian populations.
In addition, several concerns were expressed by the people’s elected representatives who did not hide their concern, in that the innocent civilian populations are targeted by the armed groups, without any significant reaction from the international partners.
According to some members, “when your house is on fire, you do not have to choose the quality of the water to extinguish it”. The initiatives have not failed yet, but what is the umpteenth initiative? Will it really be beneficial for Central Africans? If ever the commitments of the leaders of the armed groups in Khartoum were to be disregarded, what will Russia have to do? Why parallel talks like those in Bouar and Khartoum? Can the Khartoum Agreement lead the Central African Republic to the end of hostilities and the crisis? What are the safeguards? Of the four (4) leaders of armed groups, three (3) are foreigners whose only purpose is to plunder the country’s natural resources. Why does Russia still want to negotiate with these foreign mercenaries?
Following this litany of concerns, the Head of State’s Security Advisor, Valery Zakharov, did not mince words. The Khartoum declaration is a first step. This is because, in at least three (3) months, there will be another meeting with the armed groups in this same country. But in case these rebels do not come to respect their commitments, two alternatives are imposed on them: Either they leave the country now, or they actually participate in the return of peace.
And the Councilor of the Head of State to continue that the claims of the armed groups concerning the ascension to any ministerial post will not hold anymore. This will be so because, in a good democracy, it is up to the people to choose their leaders, not a small group of illegitimate people.
Why meet only four (4) leaders of armed groups, when there are at least 14? And the Counselor to explain that in Central Africa, there are armed groups that exist only by name. But with the redeployment of defense and security forces throughout the country and the beginning of the Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration and Repatriation (DDR-R) process, there will be some that will simply disappear.
As for the means of coercion, he said that in all conflicts, there are always clashes and negotiations. So negotiating with these bandits is not a sign of weakness.
It should be recalled that armed groups signed seven (7) Cessation of Hostilities Agreements and the eighth signed recently in Khartoum. Unfortunately, these bandits never respected them. In recent days, violence has been reported in Bangui and Bria, causing several casualties.
Russia reassures, but she must know that people are versatile. They can ovation today becaause of her presence, but if it can not help the country to recover peace, it will be quickly decried by everyone. This is the case of the former colonial power that is known by everyone!

By Saint-Cyr GBEGBE

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