Russia supports the search for African solutions to the
problems like the issue of mercenaries, a senior Russian diplomat said Monday.
Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, made the point in his statement to a United Nations Security Council debate with the theme of Mercenary activities as a source of insecurity and destabilization in Africa.
“We believe updating the 1977 Convention for the elimination of mercenary activities in Africa of the Organization of African Unity (predecessor to the African Union) could give an impetus to this process,” the Russian diplomat said.
Mercenaries are often used when it comes to interfering in internal affairs of sovereign States, he said.
In 1981 UNGA adopted Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States that prohibits training, financing and recruitment of mercenaries or the sending of such mercenaries into the territory of another State.
The same declaration said that States must not commit any actions that seek to disrupt unity or to undermine or subvert the political order of other States.
“Thus any non-constitutional change of authority or violent governance change assisted from the outside is unacceptable,” Nebenzia said.
However, mercenaries are often recruited and paid for to perform tasks like this, the Russian diplomat said.
Numerous conflicts on the African continent, including those provoked by external influence, often serve as breeding ground for various criminal activities, he said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the debate that the international body “stands ready to continue to support governments in tackling mercenary activities”.
Equatorial Guinea, which holds the presidency of the Council for February, organized the high-level debate presided over by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission, also participated.