Central Southern Africa

A small pebble… British for the Central African Republic?

PointQuestionRed(BRUSSELS2 – exclusive) According to information collected by B2, the establishment of a EUFOR Bangui operation in the Central African Republic does not achieve as perfect a consensus as desired. The opposite would have been surprising.

On the one hand, the first meeting of the Political and Security Committee (PSC) was not as decision-making as announced. The “green light” given was a green light in principle. “ There was no in-depth discussion about either option. We simply asked the services to continue the preparation and planning work says a participant in the meeting. This is the planned procedure with two PSC meetings.

The “real” discussion will take place, in fact, during the ambassadors’ meeting this Wednesday (January 15). With several questions: What exactly will be the objectives and outlines of this mission (security or humanitarian)? What will be the rules of engagement? How long will it last? Who will take over from this “bridging” mission: the African Union or the UN, some countries are for one (Germany), others for the UN (*)? What will the ministers decide on? The idea of ​​deciding between now and Monday on a decision – a former joint action – appears to be a real… challenge. Will there even be a decision in the formal sense. “ We are a little stuck by the mandate of the European Council “says a diplomat from the seraglio.

However, a certain uncertainty remains at the European level, a “small” concern called: United Kingdom. The British are wondering and want to consult their Parliament before any decision. A diplomat of His Majesty also expressly doubted the possibility that the 28 could take any decision on a possible mission or operation of the CSDP in the Central African Republic, next Monday, and speaking more of humanitarian action.

NB: Those who follow European defense issues will not really be surprised. The British have always been very skeptical of CSDP operations. We only have to remember the blocking of the anti-piracy operation at its beginnings (The maritime operation in Somalia blocked… by the United Kingdom) or their reluctance about engagement in Somalia (The British unknown on the Eusec Somalia/Uganda operation), two operations which proved to be a success – and even the success story of the CSDP in recent years – without forgetting their veto of an intervention project at the start of the ex-Yugoslavia war (1990s: ex-Yugoslavia, Europe's ten missteps).

(*) In Paris, Minister Laurent Fabius met on Tuesday with Hervé Ladsous, the head of UN peacekeeping missions. And in New York, “ the debate continues within the Security Council » for a new resolution specified the spokesperson for the Quai d'Orsay. “ The Secretary General of the United Nations must specify the needs and prospects for stabilization in the Central African Republic”

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).