France Wants EU Member States to Fund African Army

Written by | Monday, December 9th, 2013

France wants to persuade EU member states to help fund and provide equipment for a future pan-African military force because, as French president Francois Hollande stressed, “For Europe to ensure its own defence, Africa must be able to ensure its own. Our interests are linked.” A two-day summit attended by French and African leaders concluded on Saturday (7 December) with French President Francois Hollande pledging to help the African Union to establish a rapid reaction force, agreed in principle earlier this year, by 2015. France already committed itself to helping assemble and fund a pan-African military force capable of intervening in crises like the current conflict in the Central African Republic.
According to French president, “We all agreed on the fundamental principle that it is up to Africa to ensure its own security.” While Paris has offered to provide equipment, logistical support and advice on coordination for the force, it will also seek to persuade Germany, Britain and other EU partners to help fund the purchase of equipment and arms. “For Europe to ensure its own defence, Africa must be able to ensure its own. Our interests are linked. Terrorism knows no borders,” pointed out Hollande. In its final communiqué, the summit held also called for a “major international mobilization to increase the level and predictability of financing for African peacekeeping operations”.
France has already deployed 1,600 troops in Central African Republic (CAR), where sectarian violence has recently left hundreds dead. UN chief Ban Ki-moon praised France for being prepared to act in its former colony. The CAR mission is France’s second military operation in Africa this year. In January, Hollande sent more than 4,000 troops to Mali, where Islamist groups had seized control of much of the north of the country and had threatened to advance on the capital Bamako.

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