EU Set to Dispatch Forces to Central African Republic

Written by | Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
@Eubulletin

Foreign ministers from EU member states meeting in Brussels on Monday (20 January) are expected to agree to dispatch up to 1,000 soldiers to Central African Republic (CAR) to help to stabilize the war-torn African country. If the vote is successful, it will be the EU’s first major army operation in six years. The intervention by the 28-nation bloc would comes after UN officials warned of the increasing risk of genocide in CAR if Western powers fail to provide a more robust and effective response to communal bloodshed.
The 28 European foreign ministers are expected to approve the broad outline of a plan to send EU peacekeeping troops, but still a detailed military planning and UN Security Council authorisation will be needed before the troops are dispatched to the troubled territory. If everything goes well as planned, the EU force could start arriving in CAR by the end of February. They will complement the 7,000 EU staff already deployed around the world on 12 civilian missions and four military operations, including one whose key objective is to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia and another one that aims at providing training to the Mali army.
This will be the EU’s first land operation since it dispatched a force to Chad and north-eastern Central African Republic in 2008 as part of regional efforts to deal with the crisis in Darfur, Sudan. CAR was engulfed in chaos after a mostly Muslim rebel coalition, Séléka, seized power in March, setting of a wave of killings and pillaging that immediately triggered revenge attacks by Christian militias. More than a million people have been displaced by the violence since Michel Djotodia, Séléka’s former leader, was installed as interim president. Djotodia resigned last week. The EU mission is designed to be a bridging force which will hand over to the Africa Union force in four to six months. The EU contingent is expected to be based around Bangui to protect civilians.

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