Central Southern Africa

Central African Republic. Is a European initiative possible? (Shift)

The 420 French soldiers of Operation BOALI provide logistical, administrative and technical support for the military component of the International Support Mission for the Central African Republic (MISCA) (Credits: Ministry of Defense)
The 420 French soldiers of Operation BOALI provide logistical, administrative and technical support for the military component of the International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) (Credits: Ministry of Defense)

(BRUSSELS2, exclusive) Preparations for a military mission in the Central African Republic (CAR), to support MISCA, are accelerating at all levels. In Brussels as in Paris or New York (where the Security Council will meet on Monday), a military intervention is necessary in the face of the situation getting out of hand. The Security Council meets on Monday to make a decision based on Ban Ki Moon's report (Ban Ki Moon's 5 options for the Central African Republic)

Sense of urgency, on the European side?

On the European side, without using the term “pre-genocide”, we emphasize that there is an emergency. “ It is now necessary to act without delay to prevent the situation from degenerating further.. The conditions are indeed met for the situation to spiral out of control and turn into a civil war. » specifies a spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs in response to a question from B2 (*).

Funding of MISCA

The European Union reiterates its desire to support the deployment of MISCA, first of all in terms of finances and mission planning. “ The EU has already agreed in principle to support MISCA financially. We are working closely with the African Union to define MISCA's funding needs and how a contribution from the African Peace Facility could fit into the mission's budget. ". According to our information, the European contribution could be 50 million euros (to be added to the American contribution and the French contribution in logistics).

The option of a battlegroup considered

Crisis management structures are preparing other European initiatives to support the rapid deployment of the African force. “ The EU is actively exploring options to deepen its action in support of stabilization and the continuation of the political process in the CAR, in close coordination with initiatives taken by other partners” confirms the spokesperson. The option of deploying a battlegroup is considered “ cautiously ».

In London to play

Dedicated to this type of function, this battle group under British command, with Dutch and Baltic elements, could be deployed outside Bangui, in addition to French action, and not under its direction. It is still necessary that London and the main stakeholders agree and that the “27” then give the green light. This will be a real test for European defense.

Logistic needs

Several countries were also “surveyed” by Paris, according to our information, in order to find out what support they could provide. Support especially in terms of equipment, logistical elements, transport planes, refueling tankers, radio communications but not in men, according to sources at the French Ministry of Defense... The objective is to avoid repeating the situation of Operation Serval in Mali, where France seemed somewhat alone on the ground for a few weeks. The logistical transport power of EATC in Eindhoven (which brings together the Benelux and Germany) could also be called upon.

Political support

Some governments are aware of the seriousness of the events. In Rome, for example, during the Franco-Italian summit, the leaders of the peninsula " encourage (the European Union) to strengthen its involvement (in CAR) ". If we find the European “summa division” between eyes turned towards the east on one side, towards the south on the other, what happened in Mali served as a warning. And European capitals could very quickly provide their support to France if it intervenes in support of the African force or the UN.

France as a vanguard force

France says it is ready to do everything to support the African force being deployed and provide it with the international support it needs. » With 450 men already on site, several options are open by the Minister of Defense, Jean-Yves Drian. Sending 700-1400 additional troops seems possible. From Guinea, where he was traveling, the French president confirmed on Thursday his desire “ to increase significantly » the number of soldiers deployed in CAR. Men from the Parachute Commando Group of the 11th Parachute Brigade have already been sent to Bangui (according to our colleagues from La Croix) to prepare for the arrival of additional French troops in the CAR and their deployment in the country.

Americans in support

Concern is also present on the other side of the Atlantic. In a press release released last night, John Kerry, the American Secretary of State, announced the sending of assistance to MISCA, “ to help protect civilians and provide security across the country ". We are talking about " logistical support, shipment of non-lethal material, training and planning assistance ". That's an amount of $40 million in aid to MISCA. The situation is beyond the control of the State.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde with Leonor Hubaut)

(*) Asked Thursday noon about the European position in relation to recent French and American declarations describing the situation in the Central African Republic as pre-genocidal, 24 hours were needed to get a response, the High Representative of the EU being focused on the negotiations on Iranian nuclear power in Geneva.

(Shift) Option present contrary to what we had mentioned in a first version

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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