EU ministers expected to back sending troops to CAR

EU ministers expected to back sending troops to CAR

PanARMENIAN.Net - European Union foreign ministers are expected to agree on Monday, Jan 20, to send up to 1,000 soldiers to help stabilize Central African Republic, the EU's first major army operation in six years, EU officials said, according to Reuters.

The intervention by the 28-nation bloc comes after a senior UN official warned on Thursday of the risk of genocide in Central African Republic without a more robust international response to communal bloodshed.

Foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday are set to approve the broad outline of a plan to send EU peacekeeping troops. Detailed military planning and U.N. Security Council authorization will be needed before the troops are sent.

Diplomats said the EU force could start arriving in Central African Republic by the end of February. "The idea is to have deployment as rapidly as possible," one official said, according to Reuters.

The EU has 7,000 staff deployed around the world on 12 civilian missions and four military operations, including combating piracy off Somalia and training the Mali army.

But this will be the EU's first land operation since it sent a force to eastern Chad and northeastern Central African Republic in 2008 as part of regional efforts to deal with the Darfur crisis in Sudan, an EU official said.

Central African Republic descended into chaos after a mostly Muslim rebel coalition, Seleka, seized power in March, unleashing a wave of killings and looting that sparked revenge attacks by Christian militia.

More than a million people have been displaced by the violence since Seleka installed their leader Michel Djotodia as interim president. Djotodia resigned last week.

Over 1,000 people were killed last month alone in the capital Bangui.

France has sent 1,600 troops to its former colony, operating under a UN mandate to assist an African Union (AU) force that is due to be bolstered to 6,000 peacekeepers.

The EU intends its mission to be a bridging force which will hand over to the AU force in four to six months. The EU contingent is expected to be based around Bangui, including the airport, to protect civilians.

The European force is expected to be battalion-strength, roughly 700 to 1,000 soldiers, one official said. However, another diplomat said it may be smaller at 400 to 600 soldiers.

Once ministers have approved the outline of a mission, EU member states will be asked to pledge troops. Some of the EU's largest countries including Britain, Germany and Italy do not intend to send troops, diplomats say.

Belgium and Estonia have said they could send troops as part of an EU mission and Poland and Sweden could also possibly contribute, as well as France, EU diplomats said.

Related links:
 Top stories
Investigators will also need the other black box which records flight data, information that is essential for probing air accidents.
"It's going to take a new generation of courageous conservatives to help make America great again," Cruz said.
Netanyahu said he had already spoken to the leaders of other right-of-center parties about forming a new government "without delay".
"I've always said whatever comes out of these talks, we will want the same," said the prince, Saudi Arabia's former intelligence chief.
Partner news
Soghomon Tehlirian assassinated Talaat Pasha on March 15, 1921

Operation Nemesis was a covert operation by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation carried out from 1920 to 1922, during which a number of former Ottoman political and military figures were assassinated for their role in the Armenian Genocide.