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CAR Wants to Diversify 'Cordial Relationship' With Russia, Foreign Minister Says

© AFP 2023 CAROL VALADERussian and Central African Republic flags are waived by demonstrators gathered in Bangui on March 5, 2022 during a rally in support of Russia
Russian and Central African Republic flags are waived by demonstrators gathered in Bangui on March 5, 2022 during a rally in support of Russia - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 17.05.2023
The Central African Republic (CAR) has been experiencing security uncertainty as a number of armed groups and rebels are currently operating on the country's territory. During his recent visit to Russia's capital Moscow, the president of CAR's Economic and Social Council, Alfred Tainga Poloko said that Bangui was counting on Russian military aid.
The Central African Republic wants to diversify its "cordial relationship" with Russia, and wants to deepen the cooperation in the military sphere, the Central African Republic's Foreign Minister Sylvie Baipo-Temon told Sputnik.

"As you know, we already have a cordial relationship today with support in the security field. But we have already expressed since the first [Russia-Africa] forum our will to diversify this cooperation," he stated.

Ahead of a forthcoming Russia-Africa Summit, where the CAR will also take part, Baipo-Temon stated that the African nation expects further development and the strengthening of bilateral ties.
"What we expect from this meeting is simply to be able to continue the consolidation of the strengthening of bilateral cooperation between the Central African Republic and Russia," stated the diplomat.
The Russia–Africa Summit is the largest event in bilateral relations aimed at promoting efforts to strengthen comprehensive and equal cooperation between Russia and African countries in the spheres of politics, security, economic relations, science and technology, as well as the cultural and humanitarian fields.
The first such Summit was held in Russia's Sochi in 2019. The forthcoming summit is to take place in Russian cultural capital, St. Petersburg, from July 26 to 29 this year.
A demonstrator with foliage on to his head, a sign of compassion in Central African Republic, holds a Russian flag with the emblem of Russia on while posing for a portrait in Bangui, on March 22, 2023 during a march in support of Russia and China's presence in the Central African Republic. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 19.04.2023
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In addition, the minister outlined that the two countries already have several points of contact in different spheres and will continue the cooperation.
"We have a number of works on different subjects, judicial subjects, subjects concerning energy, mining and others," Baipo-Temon stated. "So we will continue to exchange and discuss everything that is in our common interest."
According to the minister, Russia and Rwanda were the two countries to express willingness to cooperate with CAR after it decided to further boost its bilateral agreements in a bid to get an international support.
"The Central African Republic, in the context of the last elections, decided to boost its bilateral agreements and we have the call for support at the international level that the Central African Republic has made. We had two countries that responded favorably, namely the Russian Federation and the Republic of Rwanda."
He outlined that in order to protect the country’s population in “a situation of security instability," the CAR needs to deepen its ties with Russia.
"We were able to hold these elections in the difficulties we experienced and we are still in this phase of restructuring, of rebuilding a professional, republican army and everything we want to establish as an army to respond to its mission, which is the protection of the population and the protection of territorial integrity. And for that, we need to strengthen our cooperation with our partners, and in particular the Russian Federation," he stressed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Central African President Faustin-Archange Touadéra in the sidelines of first Russia-Africa Summit was held on 23–24 October 2019 in Sochi, Russia. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 18.04.2023
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Baipo-Temon stressed that the Central African Republic appreciates Russia’s help. In particular, the minister emphasized the role of Russian instructors, who train CAR’s military personnel, as well as Russia’s weapons deliveries to the African country.
"It must be recognized that in this relationship between the Russian Federation and the Central African Republic, we have also greatly appreciated first of all, this agreement which allowed, within the framework of the embargo, a delivery of weapons to be able to carry out effective training," he concluded.
According to Russian Ambassador to the CAR Alexander Bikantov, almost 1,900 Russian military instructors are presently working in the Central African Republic. Moreover, the African country has requested that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) increase their number, stated the official.

"Today, there are 1,890 Russian instructors in the CAR. The government is interested in increasing their number. Relatively recently, Bangui has duly submitted the relevant request to the UNSC," Bikantov said in an interview.

The instructors trained the country's military, police, and gendarmerie, and provided consultations on combating illegal armed groups.
In February this year, Bikantov stated that the CAR armed forces, with the assistance of Russian military instructors, have defeated most of the illegal armed groups in the country.