France, Britain, US put UN hold on Chinese arms deliveries to C. Africa

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UNITED NATIONS, United States, June 15, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – France, Britain
and the United States on Thursday put a hold on a request from the Central
African Republic for UN Security Council approval of Chinese weapons
deliveries for its national forces.

CAR’s defense minister asked a UN sanctions committee on June 5 to grant
an exemption to an arms embargo and allow the shipments of Chinese-made
armored vehicles, machine guns, tear gas grenades and other weaponry for its
army and police.

France said it had “concerns concerning some lethal equipment included in
this exemption request,” citing anti-aircraft weapons and ammunitions,
according to a document obtained by AFP.

The French mission to the United Nations requested “additional
justifications concerning this lethal equipment in order to be able to take a
decision.”

The United States noted that there was “no threat of an air attack in CAR”
and questioned deliveries of eight grenade launchers, four anti-aircraft
machine guns as well as anti-personnel grenades and rockets.

Britain said it was concerned that the shipments would pass through
Cameroon unescorted to the border with CAR.

In her request to the United Nations, CAR Defense Minister Marie Noelle
Koyara said the weaponry would help strengthen national forces who are
“confronted with the strength and escalating violence of armed groups whose
illegal activities pose a threat to civil order.”

The council imposed an arms embargo on the Central African Republic in
2013 when the country descended into bloodshed but its sanctions committee
last year gave the green light for Russia to supply weapons to the national
forces.

China wants to donate military equipment which includes 12 armored
vehicles and four assault vehicles, 50 pistols, six sniper rifles, ten
submachine guns with silencers and some 30 machine guns of various calibers.

The list of equipment from China’s Poly Technologies also includes 300
rockets, 500 anti-tank grenades, some 725,000 rounds of ammunition of various
types and 15,000 tear gas grenades.

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