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    Russia Refutes Reports on 'Army of Mercenaries' in CAR as Speculations - Moscow

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Recent rumors on Russia's alleged large mercenary presence in the Central African Republic (CAR) are speculations, Andrei Kemarsky, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Department of Africa, told Sputnik.

    "This can be called on of the speculations recently actively disseminated against our country," the diplomat said in an interview.

    According to the official, Russian experts are tasked with strengthening the military capacities of the CAR in order to protect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

    READ MORE: Moscow Denies Reports of CAR Rebel Ultimatum to Withdraw Russian Mil. Advisers

    The Western states prevent the government of the CAR to resume control of the country by blocking in the UN Security Council the deliveries of the second batch of the Russian arms to the republic, Andrei Kemarsky said.

    "A good example is the story with the UN Security Council's sanctions committee addressing the issue of sending the second batch of Russian weapons to the CAR. There is an agreement that it is necessary to strengthen the CAR national security sector, but now we are being told that the CAR does not have proper conditions for storing [the weapons],"  Kemarsky said in an interview.

    However, the storage facilities for the delivery of 1,400 French rifles, seized from smugglers, were "suddenly" found, the diplomat added.

    "Thus, guided by their selfish considerations, Western countries are hindering the reestablishment of the combat-ready power structures in the CAR and the restoration of the authority of a legitimate government across the country," Kemarsky concluded.

    There are no discussions currently underway on creating Russian military bases in African states, Kemarsky said.

    "Armies of many African states were created according to Soviet standards and equipped with Russian weapons. Naturally, they are interested in maintaining such cooperation," the diplomat explained.

    The Central African Republic has been destabilized by a violent conflict between Christian anti-Balaka militia, Seleka faction and the government since 2012. Since 2014, the country has been divided between the three groups. In late August, Seleka and anti-Balaka militia signed a Declaration of Understanding after a Russia-brokered peace meeting in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.


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