UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 29 (Reuters) – Russia delays the appointment of independent expert panels to monitor violations of UN sanctions against South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Mali, diplomats said on Wednesday. their work in limbo.
Russia is not happy with the number of experts appointed in Western countries, diplomats said, and would like more Russians to be appointed to the panels. Russia is striving to expand its influence in Africa, in particular challenging traditional French influence in Mali and the CAR.
“Russia has indeed suspended the approval of a number of individual panels or experts,” Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Dmitri Polyanskiy, told Reuters. “Unfortunately, we are still faced with a situation where the proposed composition of such panels is not geographically balanced. We have a predominance of representatives from Western countries. “
The mandates of the expert panel on South Sudan expired on July 1 for the Democratic Republic of the Congo on August 1, the CAR on August 31 and Mali on September 30.
Until the council accepts the nominations of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the new tenure of these groups, experts will not be able to start working and their efforts to track sanctions violations will be hampered.
Russia is also delaying the appointment to replace an expert on the Somalia sanctions monitoring group, diplomats said. The other experts on this panel can work until their terms of office expire in mid-December.
Guterres appoints panels of four to six independent experts for each of these UN sanctions regimes. They monitor and report to the Security Council on violations and recommend further action.
Each year, the Security Council renews the various sanctions regimes and the mandates of the groups. Guterres then writes a letter to the board telling it which experts he has appointed, and the 15-member body – by consensus – recognizes the decision, allowing the panel to begin its work.
“Some of the experts do not meet the requirements for impartiality, neutrality and independence,” Polyanskiy said. “It affects the results of their work. This situation should be corrected ”,
Earlier this year, the panel of experts monitoring sanctions against CAR accused Russian military instructors and Central African troops of targeting civilians with excessive force, indiscriminate killings, the occupation of schools and widespread looting. ladder. The Kremlin said it was a lie that Russian instructors were involved in killings or robberies.
Reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations and Jonathan Saul in London; edited by Grant McCool
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