Wednesday

1st Dec 2021

EU countries provisionally agree African mission

  • Refugees at Bangui airport: The EU agreement is a political victory for France's Hollande (Photo: UNHCR Photo Download)

EU countries have provisionally agreed to send troops to Bangui airport to protect civilians and distribute aid.

An EU source told EUobserver that member states' ambassadors on the Political and Security Committee "unanimously" endorsed the proposal at a meeting in Brussels on Friday (10 January).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The final decision is to be taken by foreign ministers on 20 January.

Details on the composition and mandate of the "battalion"-sized force will be worked out in the next few weeks.

Another EU diplomat told this website the ambassadors voiced "overwhelming support" for the need to intervene in the "awful" sectarian conflict and to "show solidarity" with France, the former colonial power in the Central African Republic (CAR), which has already deployed troops under a UN Security Council mandate.

Some 100,000 refugees are currently taking shelter at Bangui airport under French protection.

The initial proposals included an alternative option - to send the EU force to patrol roads from CAR to neighbouring Cameroon.

But French President Francois Hollande voiced preference for the airport mission at the last EU summit in December.

A third EU contact said the airport operation is considered to be "safer" and "more easy to execute successfully" than setting up roving patrols on the Cameroon access points.

The conflict erupted in 2012, but escalated last year when rebels entered the capital.

Christian-Muslim clashes are said to have claimed more than 1,000 lives and displaced almost 1 million people in the past few months alone.

CAR is a mineral-rich state, which hosts uranium mining investments by French firm Areva.

News in Brief

  1. Poland curtails media access to Belarus border
  2. Report: Germany's Scholz 'backs compulsory Covid jabs'
  3. Omicron 'present in Europe at least 10 days ago'
  4. German court finds ex-Islamic State member guilty of genocide
  5. Report: Shell is considering return to Libya
  6. Report: EU to reveal €300bn infrastructure plan
  7. Barbados becomes world's newest republic
  8. Far-right Zemmour will run for French presidency

Opinion

Why Russia politics threaten European security

Russia could expand hostile operations, such as poisonings, including beyond its borders, if it feels an "existential" threat and there is no European pushback.

Analysis

Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity

Investing in the Arab world, in a smart way, is also investing in the European Union's future itself. Let's hope that the disasters of the last decade help to shape the neighbourhood policy of the next 10 years.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. No obligation to defend Ukraine from Russia, Nato chief says
  2. EU agency: 'Omicron vaccine' approval to take 3-4 months
  3. Ombudsman launches probe into Commission tobacco lobbying
  4. Lead MEP wants 'mandatory relocation' in EU asylum law
  5. The EU's 'global gateway' - an answer to China, or a dead-end?
  6. Osman Kavala in a Turkish jail - taking injustice personally
  7. Frontex implicated 'to some extent' in violations, says officer
  8. Omicron shows need for pandemic global pact, WHO says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us