French President François Hollande isolated over conflict in Central African Republic
Mr Hollande has pleaded with other EU members to put more boots on the ground in the former African colony
French President François Hollande cuts an increasingly isolated figure in his mission to coax European allies into military intervention in the Central African Republic (CAR).
Mr Hollande, France's least popular president in polling history, pleaded last week with other EU members to put more boots on the ground in the former African colony, which is embroiled in a violent conflict between Muslim rebels and Christian militia. But other EU states are reluctant to follow France, which entered the CAR with 1,600 troops this month.
The French forces are operating under a UN mandate to stop massacres. Two French soldiers have already been killed, and the Red Cross estimates some 600 people have died in the CAR since fighting started, with 700,000 people displaced by the violence.
Belgium is the only country to have pledged military assistance to Mr Hollande after Germany dropped its proposal to send a medical evacuation plane. But the Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, said that France should expect "nothing else" aside from two transport planes. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, refused to send any soldiers to the CAR on Friday, while Britain and Poland have also ruled out providing troops, though Poland offered a transport plane with crew.
The Europeans' widespread refusal to enter the CAR comes as an embarrassing disappointment for the French government, whose Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, told the lower house of the French National Assembly earlier this week: "We will soon have troops on the ground provided by our European colleagues."
Dubbed "Operation Sangaris", the intervention's objective was not, according to Mr Hollande, to "source troops for military action" but to assist the CAR in specific areas including "airport protection and medical aid", the French newspaper Le Figaro reported. "I am not doing this for France, but for the interests of Europe," Mr Hollande said.
Operation Sangaris has already had one blow to its public relations, after Le Figaro published photographs yesterday of French soldiers from the 8th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment, currently in the CAR, bearing Nazi slogans on their uniform.
- 1 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
Germanwings plane crash: Andreas Lubitz 'had eyesight problems' and woke from nightmares 'screaming we’re going down'
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...