Foreign Minister updates MPs on Central African Republic
Central African Republic – Hearing of M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, before the National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee (excerpts)
Paris, 15 April 2014
You’ve highlighted the good news concerning the CAR. The first is the unanimous adoption – which was not at all straightforward – of the United Nations Security Council resolution drawn up by France, creating a peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. It provided an opportunity for a very forceful speech by the UN Secretary-General. I’m glad we secured financing for the interim period, which runs until the force’s arrival on the ground in September. Moreover, even if the number of soldiers engaged in the European mission is lower than initially envisaged, what matters is for the European Union to be there, and its troops have already started being deployed in the east of the country.
The Chadians, who are very good fighters, became involved in the CAR as they did in Mali, but the Central African people accused them of being partisan, being interested only in the Muslims and being very harsh on the anti-balakas. President Idriss Déby, irritated by those accusations, decided to move the Chadian contingent engaged in MISCA [AFISM-CAR] up to the north and announced its complete withdrawal. On the military level, measures are being taken to make up for this absence, but I hope the choice isn’t definitive. Diplomacy is at work. The situation is extremely difficult, the Chadian forces are a useful contribution, but the forces engaged in MISCA must be impartial.
I was asked about the transitional authorities. President Catherine Samba-Panza is doing a complicated job bravely, and we’re helping her as best we can. We’ve got civil servants’ salaries and pensions to be paid, but the UN will have to focus on putting the country back on its feet and preparing elections. The transitional authority must, of course, be supported. (…)./.