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Mali/Central African Republic

Published on January 15, 2014
Statements made by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, at his press conference (excerpts)

Paris, January 14, 2014

(…)

The Republic’s values are France’s values at international level. This is why it intervenes in the world and wants to maintain its position and play its full role.

MALI

In Mali, a year ago almost to the day, I decided on a military intervention with the Africans in the framework of the United Nations. The results speak for themselves. The jihadists have been repelled, defeated. Mali has regained its territorial integrity. Presidential and general elections have taken place. The state is putting itself back together.

Development assistance can finally be made available. Moreover, this is [already] the case since €800 million of the €3 billion raised at international level is already being used, completely transparently, for the Malians.

There are times when we must hail victories. This is one of them. A victory against terrorism, a victory for democracy, a victory for development. I want to pay tribute to our soldiers, who have fought under extremely difficult conditions, in intense heat no one here can imagine. But the operation is going to come to an end. It will have only 1,600 soldiers in February and 1,000 at the end of the spring. This has been a useful intervention, where France has played its role.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

France was called on in the Central African Republic. Not by a dictator or a head of state in danger, but by the international community, through a Security Council resolution, with the Africans, to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe which had already, sadly, been sufficiently proven, because there had been so many atrocities and acts of violence that we had no doubts, no hesitation about being able to intervene! Not everything is sorted out. I know some people who would like it to be over in a month’s time. (…) Let me reiterate here: we haven’t finished the job, we’re going to continue it, but in different circumstances obviously.

Firstly, because Europe is on its way. On 20 January, operations will be decided on both the security and humanitarian fronts. Secondly, a peacekeeping force will, at some point, be decided on and will go and take over. Finally, political initiatives have been taken. It isn’t right for us to choose the Central African Republic’s leaders. France is assisting, not taking anyone’s place. That time is gone, over. So we’re hoping that things will gradually calm down, that the disarmament can take place and the political transition too. Today there are 1,600 French soldiers alongside 4,000 Africans. There too, when the mission has been as successful as expected, these forces will return home. (…)./.

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