African Union/Mali/Central African Republic
Paris, October 6, 2014
This is the third time I’ve had a meeting with Ms Dlamini-Zuma in Paris.
That shows the importance we attach to the African Union. Ms Dlamini-Zuma is the Chairperson of the African Union Commission. Last week I had a meeting [in Paris] with the Chairperson of the African Union, a rotating chair currently occupied by the Mauritanian President. Relations between France and the African Union have been considerably strengthened in recent months, particularly because conflicts have prompted us to react together – I’m thinking especially of Mali and the Central African Republic. (…)
On Mali, the situation has improved considerably thanks to the intervention carried out by the Africans, France, Europe and now the UN. But in northern Mali we still have insecurity and jihadist hotbeds.
We place great value on the negotiations under way in Algiers to ensure a political solution is found. We – both the African Union and France – will continue to make active efforts at the political and military levels to ensure there is no resurgence of terrorism. (…)
In the Central African Republic, too, nothing would have been possible without the intervention of France and the African Union. We managed to prevent the worst. There too, the security situation has improved: there’s a very sharp reduction in violence in Bangui; a certain degree of calm has returned. There are still a few regions affected by a number of conflicts, but we think that – thanks now to the UN’s intervention – we can bring to an end this situation, which at one point could have degenerated into a massacre and no doubt a genocide.
On 15 September, the African Union and France handed over to the United Nations mission. So in the coming months France is going to reduce the number of troops deployed in the Central African Republic.
The disengagement has already begun, because a unit that was in the Central African Republic has been transported to Chad. Our strategy is gradually to hand over, while keeping a minimum number of troops.
We also have the responsibility, along with the African Union and the United Nations, of preparing the elections. It won’t be possible to organize them in a short time, but a date will have to be set next year. (…)./.