CAR Religious Leaders Look to Russia For Help
ICC Note: Three prominent religious leaders in the CAR have sworn to work with Russians to help end the Civil War in CAR. During the peace talks, the three leaders wanted everyone to understand that they don’t see this as an interfaith struggle, but a political one.
08/04/2018 CAR (World Watch Monitor) – The three top faith leaders of the Central African Republic (CAR), who have won international recognition for efforts to end its conflict, have pledged to work with Russians in order to foster reconciliation in CAR.
On 23 August, they attended a one day meeting organised by Valery Zakharov, a Russian diplomat and security advisor to CAR’s President.
During the meeting, the three – the President of CAR’s Evangelical Alliance, Rev. Nicolas Guérékoyamé-Gbangou, Catholic Archbishop of Bangui, Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, and the President of the Islamic Council, Imam Oumar Kobine Layama – reiterated that CAR’s crisis is not primarily an interfaith clash; instead, they said, its roots lie in the struggle for political power.
Zakharov shares this view: “The root causes of the crisis are criminal and political, dictated by outside influences” he said, as CAR’s RJHD reports.
CAR has been under a UN arms embargo since 2013 when Séléka rebels overthrew President François Bozizé. But Russia early this year obtained its partial lift, paving the way for it to supply CAR with light weapons, but also instructors to train the newly-restored army. Russian forces now also provide security for President Faustin-Archange Touadéra.
Russian presence in CAR has polarised debates in media in the former French colony. Despite CAR’s independence in 1960, France has kept its strong influence and sees it as one of its main zones of influence in Central Africa.
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