Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, September 26, 2013)

Arms Trade Treaty (September 25, 2013)
Central African Republic/ International mobilization – Speech delivered by Mr. Laurent Fabius at the UN General Assembly – September 25, 2013

Arms Trade Treaty (September 25, 2013)

Yesterday, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, around 20 additional countries signed the Arms Trade Treaty, including the United States, the world’s leading arms exporter. One hundred and seven countries have now signed this treaty.

France welcomes this significant progress. The French authorities remain committed to ensuring that the key players in the global arms market accede to the treaty so that it can enter into force as swiftly as possible.

From a national perspective, Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, wanted France to be one of the first major countries to ratify this treaty. The bill to ratify the treaty will be put to Parliament in October.

Central African Republic/ International mobilization – Speech delivered by Mr. Laurent Fabius at the UN General Assembly – September 25, 2013

The Central African Republic has in the past faced some very serious situations. But the Central African Republic has never faced such a tragic situation. […] Today, an entire population is at risk. Today, an entire population is afraid and is subject to systematic human rights violations: widespread abuse, villages burned, assassinations, rape, forced marriages, with, in addition, an increasingly sectarian and religious dimension.

The fate of women in the Central African Republic, as in the Kivus (in the DRC) and Darfur, is tragic.

We have no right to ignore the Central African Republic. We must respond […] as we responded when basic rights were violated in northern Mali, with the outcome you’re familiar with.

The situation in the Central African Republic also threatens regional peace and security. As a gray zone, a stateless zone, a zone without a backbone, the Central African Republic already attracts all kinds of dangerous groups: the LRA that arrived from Uganda, the Janjaweed that came from Darfur, perhaps already groups from the Mali/ Sahel region, via southern Libya and Darfur, and perhaps already Boko Haram, which is growing in Nigeria, in very close proximity. The Central African Republic is undoubtedly one of the weakest links in a line that starts in Nouakchott and ends in Mogadishu. The implosion of the Central African Republic, the Somalization of the Central African Republic cannot fail to have an impact on the two most fragile regions of the continent, the Great Lakes region and the two Sudans.

[…] We can take action together. The international community must mobilize its efforts.

1. We must first of all take action to establish security in the country.

It is with this in mind that France welcomes the resolute action of the Central African Republic’s neighbors, the member countries of ECCAS, which have recognized the seriousness of the situation. France also commends the African Union, which has taken up the matter, and which, in collaboration with ECCAS, has decided to move forward by deploying the International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (AFISM-CAR). 1,400 men have already been deployed on the ground, where they are starting to make a difference, notably in Bangui. Additional reinforcements are needed in order to reach the target of 3,500 soldiers, which would enable AFISM-CAR to leave Bangui, in order to establish security within the country which has been left to its own devices to fend off looters and killers.

In order to fulfill its mission, this force must have the international community’s support: political, logistical and financial support.

France is present on the ground, with 450 troops, tasked yesterday with supporting the African force, MICOPAX, and today, at the request of the African Union Peace and Security Council, with supporting AFISM-CAR. But that’s not enough.

We have to go further, and find, notably in Brussels, the resources to finance AFISM-CAR, as the EU has done, and continue to do so in order to support another AU operation, AMISOM, in Somalia. The UN Security Council, which has already taken up the matter, will also have to decide on how the UN can lend support to AFISM-CAR. France would like to move forward as swiftly as possible. The situation on the ground warrants this.

2. We must also take political action 

In accordance with the Libreville Agreement, the N'Djamena Declaration and the Brazzaville Appeal, achieved thanks to the efforts of ECCAS, whose mediator I salute, and by the African Union. The process must lead to the holding of free, fair and transparent elections. This is a key responsibility of the transition authorities, i.e. primarily of Mr. Djotodia. […]

3. Lastly, we must take action on humanitarian issues

In order to help a population that is lacking everything, that is living in fear and utter destitution. In this respect I want to thank both the United Nations and the EU for their very strong mobilization. […] France will provide €10 million for humanitarian projects that will have a direct impact on the people. I hope that many partners will mobilize their efforts in order to respond to the urgent needs of the population.