African Press Association

CAR, Russia solidify bilateral relations

from OMAN MBIKO in Bangui, Central African Republic
BANGUI – THE Central African Republic (CAR) has cemented bilateral relations with Russia after the Eurasian country brokered a deal that brought reconciliation in the African nation.

United Nations peacekeepers in Central Africa Republic

Russia brokered the signing of the Khartoum Peace Agreement between government and 14 groups in February.

The arrangement involved the participation of the African Union (AU), Sudanese mediators and other international observers.

Firmin Ngrébada was appointed Prime Minister, among the outcomes of the treaty.

A new inclusive government was created resulting in stability in the Central African country.

In March, the authorities of Bangui and the leaders of the former armed groups Seleka and Antibalaka noted Russia’s contribution to organizing a platform for negotiations and fostering a dialogue between the government and the armed groups.

Sylvie Bypo-Temon, CAR Minister of Foreign Affairs, gave a positive assessment of the relationship between the country and Russia.

She said the government of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra appreciated the cooperation with Russia and plans to further consolidate and strengthen it.

Touadera held an official meeting with Russia Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, in March.

Prospects of further developing relations between the two countries were discussed.

Earlier this month, the new Russian ambassador to the CAR, Vladimir Titorenko, undertook his first official visit to the African nation.

He has invited Touadera to the Russia-Africa summit set for October.

Cooperation between CAR and Russia at the official level began in October 2017when Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Touadera met in Sochi, where they laid the foundation for a promising and long-term partnership between the two countries.

In particular, agreements on the most important for the CAR process of normalizing the political and humanitarian situation, as well as military-economic cooperation and humanitarian support were discussed at this meeting.

Collaboration in the weapons sector and the development of the army began in January 2018.

Then, Russian instructors arrived at the CAR territory to train local military units.

The first group graduated in March.

Russia sent its first batch of humanitarian aid to CAR in April last year.

The meeting of presidents Vladimir Putin and Touadera took place in May, with Tuadera becoming a special guest at the International Economic Forum held in St. Petersburg.

Also in May, with the support of Russia, a convoy of several vehicles with food, medicines and other essential items was organised.

In the framework of cooperation between the two countries, several meetings were held to identify the causes of the conflict in the CAR and to find ways to resolve it.

The first roundtable under the leadership of Russia was organised in July on the initiative of Valery Zakharov, security advisor to the CAR president.

With the support of Zakharov, socially-oriented events were also held to help the needy children of the CAR, in particular the Mother and Child Centre in the capital Bangui and humanitarian aid to students of the Elim Bangui Mpoko school.

In August, an interdepartmental agreement was signed to strengthen military ties between the two countries.

During the same month, with the support of Russia and Sudan, negotiations were organized between the authorities of Bangui and the armed groups.

An extraordinary roundtable was held in September, followed by discussions of a peace treaty and the necessary measures to maintain stability.

Despite the fact that the terms of the peace treaty were violated by aggression by armed groups, Russia and the official authorities of CAR continued to work to resolve the conflict, involving international
organizations in this process.

– CAJ News