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Central African Republic (Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - December 27 2012)

Q - The United States and the UN announced the temporary withdrawal of non-essential employees from the Central African Republic, and the Central African government has asked France for help. How will France protect its embassy, and do you expect an intervention or mediation?

Central Africa: How does France plan on guaranteeing its nationals’ security? Is it advising them to temporarily leave the country? Does it envisage an evacuation in conjunction with other countries? How is France responding to the government’s request for help? What will be the role of military personnel on the ground? Do you support the troop reinforcement in Bangui announced by FOMAC?

1 / With respect to protecting our citizens and diplomatic premises:

Yesterday, the President asked the Defense Minister to take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the diplomatic compound and to protect our nationals, in cooperation with the Central African authorities. French troops from the Operation Boali force deployed in the Central African Republic (CAR) have been temporarily assigned to protect our nationals and diplomatic premises in Bangui. These measures were implemented as swiftly as possible and will be adapted as necessary.

Yesterday, we advised our nationals in Bangui to stay home, avoid any gatherings and stay in touch with the embassy.

We are continuously monitoring developments in the situation on the ground and keeping them informed in real time via text and e-mail messages and through the Ariane System. Our diplomatic staff is fully mobilized.

Maintaining public order and notably protecting foreign communities is first and foremost the responsibility of the Central African authorities. Likewise, protecting diplomatic premises is their responsibility under the Geneva Convention on diplomatic relations. Our ambassador to the CAR underscored this point to the Central African authorities, and we expect them to do their part to help calm the atmosphere in the capital.

The CAR’s chargé d’affaires in Paris, who has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry this afternoon, will be firmly reminded of this message.

2 / With respect to the political situation:

France condemns the continuing hostilities in CAR by rebel movements. The members of the UN Security Council emphasized on December 19 that groups jeopardizing the country’s stability must be held accountable for their actions.

France fully supports the decisions announced by the heads of state and government of Central Africa meeting in Ndjamena on December 21. The crisis in the CAR must be solved through dialogue.

France urges all the Central African parties to participate in good faith in the upcoming negotiations in Libreville. These negotiations will be held under the auspices of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). They are to bring together the Central African government, rebel movements and the democratic opposition.

An ECCAS mission is arriving in Bangui today to promote a rapid ceasefire and lay the groundwork for the next steps.

France continues to resolutely support this process, in coordination with the UN, African Union, ECCAS, EU and all international partners committed to the CAR’s stability and development.



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