Libmonster ID: UK-1248
Author(s) of the publication: G. M. SIDOROVA

G. M. SIDOROVA

Candidate of Historical Sciences

Key words: Russia, Africa, peacemaking, conflicts, piracy, African Union

The beginning of the new millennium was not much different from previous years. Military operations were conducted between Ethiopia and Eritrea, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in the Central African Republic (CAR), Niger, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Chad, and Madagascar. Especially problematic was the central region of Africa, which was immersed in a protracted military conflict. Its epicenter was the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where an unprecedented tragedy took place since the collapse of the colonial system.

It is not easy to put an end to conflicts and return them to the legal framework of the UN Charter, based on the main principles and norms of international law. Nevertheless, the preventive potential of the international community has been fully identified. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in his congratulatory message to African countries on the occasion of Africa Day in 2010, stated that Russia, for its part, stands for increasing the effectiveness of international assistance to Africa, and stressed: "We will continue to make efforts in this direction."1

After a forced pause in solving internal problems, Russia is returning to Africa as an active participant in unblocking conflict situations. By the middle of the first decade of the 2000s, there was an intensification of bilateral contacts between our country and a number of African States and regional organizations.

The visits of Russian state and political leaders to South Africa and Morocco in 2006, Mikhail Fradkov to Angola, Namibia and South Africa in 2007, Sergey Lavrov to Angola and Ethiopia in the same year, and Dmitry Medvedev to the United States have significantly helped to restructure our relations with African countries. - to Egypt, Nigeria, and Namibia in 2009; Dmitry Medvedev - to Algeria in 2010 and Sergey Lavrov - to Kenya and Nigeria at the end of the same year; Mikhail Margelov, Special Presidential Representative for Cooperation with African countries, to Libya, Egypt, as well as Zimbabwe, Angola, and South Sudan and Ethiopia in 2011.2

RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS

The political component of Russia has always been noticeable in the international arena, despite the fact that the new Russia, compared to the Soviet Union, slowed down the pace of cooperation with Africa, especially in the economic sphere.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, our country, within the framework of the Group of Eight, the Group of Twenty, as well as the International Contact Group on Guinea and the Group of Friends of the Great Lakes Region, actively participates in the development of a common strategy for resolving conflicts on the African continent, the political line of the international community in specific crisis situations, the role of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Peacekeeping operations, as well as in coordinating steps aimed at ensuring a comprehensive solution to post-conflict reconstruction tasks. This was stated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a meeting in New York in 2009 with his counterpart from the DRC A. Tambwe Muambo. In turn, the Foreign Minister of the DRC "shared with Sergey Lavrov his vision of the situation on the African continent, the steps taken to normalize the situation in the DRC, including the participation of the international community and the use of the UN potential, as well as the problems that his country has in relations with neighboring states"3.

The Group of Eight actively supports the efforts of African countries to ensure and strengthen peace and security on the entire African continent. The final document adopted during the Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg in 2006 states:: "We commit to continue to support these efforts and urge the international community to increase its collective capacity to contribute to the consolidation of peace and post-conflict reconstruction in African countries affected by armed conflict." 4

The specific intention of the Russian State to promote a peaceful climate on the continent was reflected in the message of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the occasion of Africa Day on May 25, 2009. It noted that Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, will

page 20

Continue to promote the formation of collective security foundations in the region, including the creation of African peacekeeping capabilities of their own. "In this regard," the Russian leader noted, "we have significantly expanded our assistance to African States in training national peacekeeping personnel." 5

At the same time, Russian military personnel are involved in all UN Blue Helmets peacekeeping operations in Africa - in DR Congo, Western Sahara, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sudan. In particular, Russian helicopter groups, consisting of 370 pilots, performed the tasks of UN missions in Sudan and Chad.6

May 28, 2010 The UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1925 extending the mandate of the current UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC and transforming it into the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), with a reduction in the military component by 2 thousand people. The resolution stipulates that further reconfiguration of the mission will take place taking into account the evolution of the situation, in particular in the field of security, the expansion of the capacity of the DRC Government to protect civilians and the strengthening of State authority throughout the country.

Russia took an active part in the development of this resolution, guided by the assessment of the real situation and based on the importance of strengthening peace and stability in the DRC. "We intend to continue making efforts to actively promote a settlement in the DRC," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement dated June 1, 2010.7

As practice shows, Russian peacekeepers perform their service with dignity on the African continent, and domestic aviation equipment is always cited as an example of reliability and safety. Thus, our military observers in the DRC have been highly appreciated. An officer of the Russian military observer group of MONUC, Captain of the second rank Yu. V. Romanov was recognized as the winner in the UN Military Observer category by the decision of the Organizing Committee of the Peacekeeper of the Year contest on October 16, 2009.

Russia

AND THE AFRICAN UNION

Russia participates in the development and implementation of programs of international assistance to Africa, including in the field of strengthening the peacekeeping potential of the African Union (AU). The resolution and prevention of armed conflicts are key to ensuring a prosperous future for the African continent, and ensuring a more lasting peace on the continent requires, first of all, an active position of the Africans themselves.

Our country supports building up the capacity of the African Union to prevent and resolve conflicts, and participates in the development and implementation of international assistance programs for Africa. Speaking at the official meeting of the UN Security Council under the agenda item "Peace and security in Africa" on October 26, 2009, Russian Permanent Representative Vladimir Churkin noted that "the priority remains the formation of a multi-level collective security structure by the African Union in order to prevent and respond in a timely manner to emerging crisis situations"8. The most important component of this architecture is intended to be interethnic peacekeeping formations - the African Permanent Readiness Force (AFDF). The international community is helping to complete their formation, as the African Union's peacekeeping capacity and resources need to be reinforced.

This is exactly what the UN's cooperation with the African Union is aimed at. Russia intends to continue its efforts to strengthen the institutional and legal basis of the ASPG. In this area, as V. I. Churkin noted, first of all, we should focus on strengthening the "link": the UN Security Council - the UN Secretariat - the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and the Commission of the African Union. Along with the peacekeeping dimension, due attention should be paid to strengthening the capacity of the African Union in mediation, preventive diplomacy and peace-building.9

The topic of security is closely linked to the illegal arms trade, which is destabilizing the situation in Africa. We are talking, first of all, about light small arms (SALW). Unresolved territorial and ethno-regional differences, weak State authorities, export, customs and border controls contribute to the spread of SALW in many African countries and its concentration in the hands of insurgent, criminal and other groups. First of all, this applies to those countries of the sub-region where threats to peace and stability persist. The situation in this area, as practice shows, is aggravated by the subversive actions of illegal armed groups using well-established channels for acquiring illegal SALW.

The issue of export criteria and control over the activities of intermediaries has remained relevant for many years. Russia consistently supports increasing the role of the UN in coordinating the efforts of the international community aimed at solving the problem of illegal arms trade, in particular SALW, and puts forward initiatives to develop common approaches to combating illegal SALW trafficking in the world. The fight against this evil is based on the following principles:-

page 21

Relevant UN Programme of Action. However, the lack of unified approaches of the international community to countering illicit trafficking in SALW significantly hinders the solution of the problem of feeding illicit supplies of SALW to conflict situations in the world, in particular, in Africa, and curbing the threat posed by such supplies to stability in post-conflict countries.

Russia proceeds from the need to focus the primary attention and efforts of the international community on the fight against illegal supplies of SALW, which are the main source of weapons for illegal armed groups and terrorist organizations. As for the African States themselves, " the Russian delegation calls on the countries of the Central African sub-region not to weaken their attention to the problem of illicit SALW trafficking. It is obvious that without solving this problem, it is impossible to achieve a complete settlement of existing conflicts, ensure security, stability and sustainable development, " said I. N. Shcherbak, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN. 10

International security depends not only on the positions of the world's leading States, but also on regional security. Any armed conflict leads to a shift in the balance of political, economic and social values not only in the epicenter of events, but also in neighboring states, since it entails a large number of refugees. Their presence on foreign territory, in turn, causes discontent among the local population, which creates new hotbeds of tension.

Take, for example, the situation in the DRC, where the problems of neighboring Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi, which were directly involved in the 1998-2003 civil war in the DRC, were layered on their own set of political and ethnic contradictions. The crises in Darfur and South Sudan have affected the situation in Chad and the Central African Republic. Political and military instability was transferred there. Rebel and terrorist organizations involved in the Darfur conflict freely used Chad and the Central African Republic as transit territories. As a result, this conflict node had a negative impact on the military and political situation in Central Africa.

A NEW COUNTRY ON THE MAP OF AFRICA

In the current situation, when the national armies of African countries are not yet able to solve problems related to the protection of sovereignty, defense and security of their States, the international community plays an important role in stabilizing the situation on the African continent.

On December 23, 2010, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with his Sudanese counterpart A. Karti in Moscow. During the discussion on the situation in Darfur, emphasis was placed on the need to further advance the political settlement process and involve non-Darfurian rebel groups in peace negotiations. The importance of implementing the "new agenda for action" announced by the Government of the Sudan in Darfur, designed to make a significant contribution to the stabilization of the military-political situation and post-conflict reconstruction in the region, was noted.11

On January 15, 2011, a seven-day referendum on self-determination of southern Sudan ended in Sudan. The holding of the referendum became possible after the conclusion in 2005. A Comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) between the Government of the country and the main political force in the south, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement. Then, in 2005, the civil war that had lasted since 1983 and claimed more than 2 million lives ended. Huge damage was caused to the country's economy, and the humanitarian situation was seriously complicated. Regional and international organizations such as IGAD, the League of Arab States, and the United Nations have made an important contribution to the settlement of the problem. Mediation efforts are still being made by African and Arab countries, Western European countries, the United States and Russia.

The vote was recognized as valid: at least 80% of registered voters took part in it. International experts noted with satisfaction that the plebiscite was held as planned, in accordance with the CPA and other agreements reached between Khartoum and Juba (the administrative center of South Sudan). Representatives of the South Sudanese diaspora voted both in North Sudan and abroad. The referendum was observed by international observers, including Russian representatives, who noted the proper level of technical preparation of the voting process, maintaining generally reliable conditions of security, freedom and transparency of expression of will.

On July 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan appeared on the world map, becoming the 54th sovereign state in Africa and the 196th in the world. Russia was among the first countries to announce its recognition. On this occasion, Dmitry Medvedev sent a congratulatory message to the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salvator Kiir Mayardit, in which he expressed the hope that,


* IGAD is an Intergovernmental Organization for Development. Established in 1986, IGAD members are Djibouti. Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan. Uganda, Eritrea and Ethiopia. The headquarters is located in Djibouti (editor's note).

page 22

That the partnership between Russia and South Sudan will be one of the most important factors for stability in Africa. "I am confident," the Russian President said, "that the course chosen by the leadership of South Sudan to establish and develop good-neighborly relations with the citizens of the Republic of Sudan and other African states will meet the interests of maintaining and strengthening peace in Central and East Africa." 12

IN THE FIGHT AGAINST PIRATES

The world community is concerned about another problem - piracy in the Gulf of Aden. Pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia were first reported in the early 1990s. Somali fishermen began capturing foreign intruders for illegal fishing and dumping toxic waste in Somali waters. By 2010, the self-defense of the local population took a hypertrophied form, turning into sea robbery. Moreover, the "pirates of the XXI century" use more and more sophisticated methods and means in their criminal activities, and their ambitions are growing. Only in 2008. they received ransoms in excess of $150 million. More than 120 acts of piracy were recorded there, 35 vessels and 600 people were captured.13

In 2008-2009. The European Union conducted naval Operation Atalanta to protect ships passing in the Gulf of Aden along the coast of Somalia. In the fight against pirates, warships and deck helicopters of Great Britain, France, Greece, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium were involved. However, the problem was only partially resolved.

The Russian Navy quickly joined international efforts to combat piracy when the UN Security Council resolution of June 2, 2008 allowed foreign warships to pursue pirates in the territorial waters of Somalia as well. 14 In the same year, the Russian destroyer Neustrashimy arrived on the coast of Somalia to ensure the safety of vessels flying the Russian flag, as well as to interact with warships of other States that have cooperated with the Transitional Government of Somalia. A Ka-27 carrier-based helicopter, as well as a marine unit and an anti-sabotage group were based on board the ship. After the Dauntless, the Admiral Panteleev anti-submarine ship began to provide security in the waters of Somalia.

In connection with the events of 2009 on the seizure of foreign ships by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, the Russian Navy did not stand aside. In this geographical point of the globe, Russian and foreign vessels were escorted by Russian Navy ships. In total, more than 130 vessels were escorted, 8 attempts to capture them were prevented, and 4 pirate ships were detained. The Russian Navy is establishing cooperation with the European Union to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia. The Admiral Chabanenko warship is stationed in this area.

In 2010, Somali pirates "set a record" for the number of ship hijackings. According to the International Maritime Bureau, from January to October 2010, Corsairs landed on 128 ships. At the same time, firearms were used in 137 cases of attacks, and cold weapons were used in 66 cases. The crews of 70 vessels managed to repel the attacks. On January 17, 2011, the Greek cargo ship Eagle with 24 crew members was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, en route from Jordan to India. The pirates used firearms during the capture 15.

Given the fact that piracy is becoming a lucrative business for a certain segment of the Somali population, and according to Russian sailors released from captivity, the ransom for release is received by clan elders, and not by the pirates themselves, patrolling the coast of Somalia will not lose its relevance in the near future. In addition to the European Union and Russia, the Gulf of Aden is patrolled by the Navies of the United States, China, South Korea and a number of other countries16.

Russia is stepping up its efforts in this area. "We are convinced that along with maintaining a military presence in areas that are dangerous for navigation, our priority should remain the task of stabilizing the military-political situation in the country," V. I. Churkin noted.17

AFRICA - A NUCLEAR-FREE ZONE

Russia is a consistent supporter of the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones in various parts of the world, including Africa. The decree of the President of the Russian Federation of September 18, 1996 states: "Wishing to contribute to the efforts of African States in this direction, the Russian Federation decided to sign Protocols I and II to the Treaty on the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, signed in Cairo on April 11, 1996."18 Protocols I and II to the treaty include: to China, Russia, England, the USA, and France. The First Protocol stipulates that each party that has ratified it undertakes not to use or threaten to use a nuclear explosive device against any party to the treaty. The Second Protocol obliges them not to test, support or encourage the testing of any nuclear explosive device anywhere within the African Nuclear-weapon-free zone.

In March 2011, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev submitted Protocols I and II to the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty to the State Duma for ratification. At the same time, it is proposed to ratify-

page 23

to conclude the first protocol with two reservations that exempt Russia from its obligations in cases of " attacks both on the Russian Federation and its Armed Forces, as well as on its allies or on States with which the Russian Federation is bound by security obligations." We are also talking about the non-proliferation of the Treaty to the American base of Diego Garcia (an island of the Chagos Archipelago, Indian Ocean).

In addition to Africa, nuclear-weapon-free zones have been established in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco 1967), in the South Pacific (Treaty of Rarotonga 1985), and in Southeast Asia (Treaty of Bangkok 1995).

* * *

The revolutionary events of early 2011 in the Arab countries of Africa and the East have shown that today's world is an indivisible whole. In the context of globalization, it becomes impossible to give preference to some countries, while forgetting about others. There are many common problems, whether in Africa, Asia or Europe, that need to be addressed immediately. These are corruption of officials, high unemployment, lack of a social elevator, unsettled and confused young people in the face of many problems, and dissatisfaction of the majority of the population with rising prices. In the countries of Africa and the East, strong irritation was caused by the long stay in power of their leaders - in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, and Yemen.

The African Union Emergency Summit on Libya was held in Addis Ababa from 5 to 26 May 2011. The special outcome document of this forum expressed deep concern about the current situation in that country and its consequences both for the civilian population and for the long-term prospects for stability in the region as a whole. Russia assessed the results of the summit as timely and very important, consistent with Russia's principled position in support of strict compliance by all parties with the UN decisions adopted on the Libyan issue, aimed primarily at protecting the civilian population of Libya.19

Regarding Libya, Moscow has long been engaged in a dialogue with both rebel representatives and Gaddafi emissaries. Dmitry Medvedev called this position on Libya "neat". As a result of the confrontation of forces, the power in this Arab country was replaced. Russia recognized the Transitional National Council of Libya, which replaced the old regime, as the current government and noted "the reform program it announced, which provides for the development of a new Constitution, general elections and the formation of a government," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement dated September 1, 2011.20

Thus, Russia once again confirmed its commitment to actively assist Africa in resolving conflicts on the continent.


1 www.kremlin.ru/news/7849; www.regions.ru/news/reklama/2362746/ (accessed: 16.09.2011).

2 Review of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Foreign Policy and Diplomatic Activity in 2010 - http://www.mid.ru/bdomp/brp_4.nsf/2a660d5e4f620f40c32576b20036eb06/5837bbe2727d8c 3dc32576e9003ad888!OpenDocument

3 Transcript of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's speech and answers to media questions at a joint press conference following talks with Foreign Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Alexis Tambwe Muamba. Moscow, April 7, 2009 - www.mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/0/633F5BB651B5A63DC325759100475D32

4 Report of the Group of Personal Representatives to the G8 Heads of State on the implementation of the Africa Action Plan -http://www.g8russia.ru/g8/history/evian2003/4/index-print.html

5 Dmitry Medvedev congratulated the leaders of African countries on the occasion of Africa Day. May 25, 2009 - http://www.kremlin.ru/news/4193

A.V. Saltanov, 6th Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia. Russia and Africa -http://rus-africa.com/ru/index.php7option-com_content&view=article&id-105

7 Message for mass media of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation -http://www.mid.ru/bdomp/ns-rkonfl.nsf/

90Ье9сЬ5е6ГО7180432569e00049b5fb/432569e00034005fc325773500516751

8 Speech by Vladimir Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, at the official meeting of the UN Security Council on the agenda item "Peace and Security in Africa" on October 26, 2009. - http://www.un.int/russia/new/MainRootrus/Statements/security%20council/2009/Statement26 1009ru.htm

9 Speech by ... V. I. Churkin... -http://www.un.org/russian/news/fullstorynews.asp?NewsID=9475

10 Speech by I. N. Shcherbak, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, at the official meeting of the UN Security Council on Illicit Arms Proliferation in Central Africa on March 19, 2010 - www.un.int/russia/new/MainRootrus/Statements/security%20council/2010/Statement190310r u1.htm

11 On the meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Sudanese Foreign Minister A. Karti. Message from the Russian Foreign Ministry dated December 23, 2010 - www.mid.ru

12 http://ria.ru/politics/20110709/399357054.html

13 International aspects of conflict situations in Africa. Issue No. 15. Moscow, Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2009, p. 53.

14 UN Security Council Resolution N S/RES/1816

(2008) dated June 2, 2008 - http://www.un.org/russian/documen/scresol/res2008/res1816.htm

15 Marine business news of Ukraine -http://www.maritimebusinessnews.com.ua/news/incidents/2011/01/17/11317

16 News of the universe. Лента новостей -http://brb.com.ua/new/v_2010godusomalijskiejiraty_postavili rekordj>o_kolichestvu_zakhvatov_korablej.html

17 Speech by Vladimir Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, at the UN Security Council meeting on Piracy off the coast of Somalia on November 18, 2009. - http://www.un.int/russia/new/MainRootrus/Statements/security%20council/2009/Statementl8 H09ru.htm

18 Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 472-rp of September 18, 1996 on Signing Protocols I and II to the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty - www.kremlin.ru

19 Report of the Russian Foreign Ministry on the decisions of the extraordinary summit of the African Union on Libya - http://www.mid.ru/bdomp/ns-rkonfl.nsf/90be9cb5e6f07180432569e00049b5fb/c32577ca0017 3e57c325789d0052b078

20 Statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry - www.mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/0/310780824B15F0F8C32578FE001F14A6


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