Twitter Facebook Flickr Youtube RSS Share

25 November 2013 - Central African Republic - Remarks to the press by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(In French and in English)

Vous vous rappelez la déclaration du Président de la République française à l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies. Il avait attiré l’attention de la communauté internationale sur la crise centrafricaine. Aujourd’hui le Conseil de sécurité a confirmé ce que nous savons hélas depuis un certain temps : un constat alarmant, unanime, une situation humanitaire en RCA qui est catastrophique. L’ensemble de la population est touchée, c’est-à-dire plus de 4 millions et demi d’habitants. La population est terrorisée, la situation sécuritaire continue de se dégrader, l’Etat n’existe plus ou presque et n’est pas en mesure de protéger sa population, le pays menace de s’enfoncer dans une violence de nature interconfessionnelle entre Chrétiens et Musulmans. Le constat du secrétariat et des ONG est le même : le risque d’atrocités de masse est là.

Le Conseil de sécurité doit agir, il doit agir en urgence et il doit agir en apportant son soutien immédiat à la force africaine, la MISCA. La RCA était jusque-là une crise un peu oubliée, de celles dont les médias ne parlent pas beaucoup. La France prendra ses responsabilités, elle le fera en diffusant dès ce soir un projet de résolution. Compte tenu de l’urgence nous espérons son adoption dès la semaine prochaine.

I think you remember the declaration of the President of the French Republic in front of the General Assembly. He wanted to draw the attention of the international community to the tragedy of the Central African Republic.

Today, what we heard from the Secretariat is, as confirmed, what we were fearing. The facts on the ground are alarming. The humanitarian situation in the CAR is horrendous. The entire population of nearly four millions people is affected by the crisis. The population is terrorized, while the security situation continues to deteriorate. The State no longer exists; it can’t protect its own population. The country could drift into sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims. In this context, the Security Council has the responsibility to act urgently to restore security and to do so by providing immediate support to the African force, the MISCA. CAR is a forgotten crisis, a crisis the media has given a very little attention to so far. France will take the lead in circulating a draft resolution tonight. We hope for its adoption by next week.

Q: M. l’Ambassadeur, on a appris aujourd’hui que la France allait déployer 800 soldats supplémentaires; est- ce qu’on s’oriente vers un scenario d’intervention à la « malienne » ?

Non, la France a déjà 450 soldats sur le terrain, elle va renforcer son contingent pour soutenir la MISCA dès lors qu’un mandat du Conseil de sécurité lui aura été confié.

Q : Concernant l’accueil que vous avez reçu de la part des quatorze autres membres, est-ce que vous sentez qu’il y a des résistances, on avait parlé d’un pays en particulier…

Non il n’y a aucune résistance, tous les pays du Conseil de sécurité partagent la même préoccupation sur la situation sécuritaire en République centrafricaine et tous apportent leur soutien à la fois aux efforts de la France mais également aux efforts des pays africains.

Q: Will the resolution that you’re preparing specifically call for a UN peacekeeping forces recommended by the Secretariat?

The draft that we are going to circulate will focus on supporting the African force. An African force of around 3000 troops is on the ground. It is expected to increase its presence to 3600. The second priority is to support the political transition which has been endorsed by the Libreville agreement and which should lead to elections in 2015. There will be also a part on the Human Rights situation. We will also ask the Secretary-General to report on the possible transformation of the African force into a peacekeeping operation. As you know we cannot create a peacekeeping operation without a specific report of the Secretary-General. In technical terms we could not create a peacekeeping operation in this resolution. So we are asking for a report of the Secretary-General for a possible transformation of the African force. This report will be due no later than three months after the adoption of this resolution.

Q: Talking about the government not being able to control forces, there is a very detailed Human Right Watch report about this guy, Abdallah Hamat. What do you think of the Government’s role? Are you considering an ICC referral in resolution?

This guy is a thug. It is very clear that we have a transitional authority which is very weak, which is divided. We do consider that the Prime Minister is full of good will but doesn’t have much power. There is no police, there is no gendarmerie, so it’s very difficult to think or to refer to an acting government. We have this transitional authority which we have to work with. But it is very clear that we are in a process of political transition. We need to transfer the authorities from this transitional government to a real acting government. According to the transition process which was agreed in Libreville, the Prime Minister and the Head of the transitional authority won’t present themselves to the elections. Another credible authority will have to emerge after the election of February 2015.

Q: Can you confirm the report from CAR that France is going to send 800 more troops and what are they going to do?

We are going to reinforce our presence in Central African Republic once the Security Council provides us a mandate. This force will be there to support the African force.

Q: Qui va faire la protection des civils, est-ce que la MISCA va avoir les moyens de faire ce genre de choses, est-ce que les Français vont faire la protection des civils ?

Dans un premier temps les forces françaises assumeront un rôle de soutien à la MISCA en matière de protection des civils. Today, nothing is possible in Central African Republic without restoring law and order. Nothing: humanitarian aid or political process, nothing. This is an absolute priority. We will help the African force to do the job.

Q: About ICC, I just wanted to know the vote that took place on Kenya was kind ether of disruptive. Would you have considered trying to refer CAR to the ICC?

We don’t have to do it. The Central African Republic is party to the Rome Statute. So by definition it is under the potential jurisdiction of the ICC. We don’t have to do it. If the ICC prosecutor considers that it is necessary, he will open an investigation. We are not going to interfere with what is a judicial process. There is no need for a decision by the Security Council since the CAR is party to the Rome Statute

Q: What is sort of the time frame would you envision for a UN peacekeeping mission?

We have requested the Secretary-General to present a report. In no later than three months, there will be a report presented by the Secretary-General about the possible transformation of the African force into a peacekeeping operation. It will depend on the situation on the ground, whether the African force is doing the job or whether we consider that the situation is so serious that we need to expend the African force and to transform it into a peacekeeping operation.

Q: So you wouldn’t consider a peacekeeping operation until at least March, is that the idea of that?

Even if we created a peacekeeping operation today, it would take at least between four and six months, before the effective deployment of a peacekeeping operation. So now, it is urgent to do the job as quickly as possible on the ground. We have the African force. The African countries are committed to act. So the emergency commends that we support the African force. But we don’t exclude the peacekeeping operation down the road. We look forward to the report by the Secretary-General.

Q: La France interviendra quand cette résolution sera votée ou quand le concept d’opération sera entre vos mains ?

La France interviendra lorsque la résolution sera votée, sur la base du mandat que le Conseil de sécurité lui aura confié.


Learn more on Central African Republic.



Bookmark and Share
Bookmark and Share
Rss
Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU