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Russia Blocks Work Of UN Committees Monitoring Sanctions On African Countries

Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Dmitry Polyansky, addresses a Security Council meeting in New York in July.
Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Dmitry Polyansky, addresses a Security Council meeting in New York in July.

Russia is delaying the appointment of panels of independent experts to monitor violations of UN sanctions on several African countries, diplomats say.

All of the committees blocked are in the process of renewing their members.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appoints panels of between four and six independent experts for each of the UN sanctions regimes. They monitor and report to the Security Council on violations and recommend further action.

Until the Security Council agrees to Guterres's appointments, the experts can't start work and their efforts to track sanctions violations are hampered.

Russia says it has put the approval of a number of panels or individual experts on hold because of a lack of geographic diversity on the committees and says they have a Western bias.

"Unfortunately, we are still faced with the situation when the proposed composition of such panels is not geographically balanced," Russian Deputy UN Ambassador Russia Dmitry Polyansky told Reuters. "We have a predominance of representatives of Western countries."

Polyansky also said some experts on the panels did not meet the requirements of "impartiality, neutrality, and independence."

"This affects the results of their work. This situation should be fixed," Reuters quoted him as saying.

The mandates for the panel of experts on Mali ends on September 30.

Other panels affected are those monitoring sanctions violations in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic (CAR). The mandates for those panels expired on various dates during the summer, stalling their work.

The committee tasked with monitoring the CAR this year condemned "grave human rights abuses" attributed to paramilitaries from the controversial Vagner group, a private Russian security firm.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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