14 March 2014

Central African Republic: France Sounds Alarm Over EU - Central Africa Military Mission

Photo: Nicholas Long/IRIN
Bessan, a village in northwest CAR, suffered considerable destruction at the hands of Seleka rebels

The European Union's promised reinforcements to the Franco-African troops in the Central African Republic may not arrive on time because not enough countries are ready to send their soldiers, France warned on Friday.

The European Union operation was planned to start next week but negotiations about which countries will provide the 800-1,000 troops promised were still going on on Friday.

"If additional efforts are not made rapidly, it won't be possible to launch as planned this essential operation next week," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a joint statement.

Last month the EU pledged to send a contingent to assist the 8,000 French and African troops already sent to the CAR following an outbreak of sectarian violence after rebels from the mainly Muslim Séléka group seized power in a March 2013 coup.

"The European Union must assume its responsibilities where international security is concerned," the ministers said.

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