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25 September 2013 – Central African Republic – Remarks to the press by Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Unofficial translation

Last year we raised the alarm about Mali. This time the situation is different but we are raising the alarm – or rather, expressing our anger – about the Central African Republic. The Central African Republic has become a non-existent state, where the devastating impact of the atrocities is growing. We must therefore take urgent action on the humanitarian front, we must take action in the area of security – because without security nothing is possible – and at the political level.

I was pleased to see that many countries were represented. In concrete terms, at the humanitarian level, this means providing funding for organizations. France, for its part, decided to contribute €10 million. In an unprecedented move, all international organizations, funds and banks that are able to assist will provide a shipment to Bangui in October. The humanitarian situation is extremely urgent. And so is the security situation. We are working to ensure that a resolution is adopted here at the UN in order to lend support to the efforts on the ground in Africa, through AFISM-CAR. Several countries that border the Central African Republic have agreed to increase their troops, bringing the total to 3,500 men. That’s a good thing. But all this requires the support of an international resolution. We hope to get it adopted in October, even if there’s a second additional resolution.

We must also take action at the political level. The prime minister of the Central African Republic was there. But the transitional authorities must fulfill the mandate given to them at the previous meetings, notably in Libreville.

For its part, France has a contingent on the ground which essentially protects the airport, but which is fully prepared to increase its capacity in order to help the Africans, since we must first go through the Africans and the African Union.

Finally, we have to look at what happened yesterday and the day before yesterday in Kenya, in Nairobi. I talked about a non-existent state. As I said to the bishops who are here, nature abhors a vacuum. And all kinds of atrocities are attracted to a vacuum. The Seleka group is stepping up its acts of violence, and there are other groups. It’s imperative that we put an end to this three-fold tragedy: at the humanitarian level, in terms of the security situation, which hasn’t been fully addressed, and at the political level. We are working with the international community to that end.

The resolution should have been adopted a few weeks ago already. Who is blocking it now? Do you have funding? Are the Americans with you? It seems like you’re a bit isolated.

I discussed this issue with John Kerry this morning. It’s not because the Americans could block it that we’re isolated. You have to be careful, it doesn’t work like that. I think the vast majority of Security Council members support it; we just need to explain the arrangements. But France is working on that and I have no doubt that we will resolve the issue. There might be two stages: on the one hand a resolution could be adopted as swiftly as possible in order to lend support to AFISM-CAR. And lastly, a second resolution could be adopted in order to establish the framework for a peacekeeping operation [inaudible] because if we don’t do anything about this lawless area, then it could become a point of reference for all terrorists.

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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