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New Year Greetings

Published on February 27, 2008
Speech by M. Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, to the Press, (excerpts)

Paris, January 21, 2008

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DARFUR/HYBRID FORCE

The day before yesterday, in Darfur, 1,400 Egyptians arrived. 20,000 soldiers and 6,000 police officers had been scheduled to come. Deploying such a force won’t be easy and we know very well why: it’s Sudan – who accepted the United Nations resolution, [acting under] Chapter VII [of the United Nations Charter], which was passed unanimously, and in fact proposed thanks to the Paris conference and France’s efforts – who doesn’t agree with the deployment on her territory of what she was theoretically calling for. In the end, the French initiative in Chad and the Central African Republic will be operational before the force for Darfur, with the result that the people will still be hit by crossfire from the militia known as the Janjaweed. We have to deal with this even though it’s no joke. (…)

The African Union doesn’t want us to come to their assistance or at least provide help for Africa’s representatives, taking the view that this is their responsibility. I think that’s progress. The only problem is that they’re not doing it. So what do we do? We’re reverting (…) to the time where there were good and bad deaths. We thought we’d left that time and concept behind us. Soldiers from Europe or Asia aren’t accepted and since there won’t be 20,000 African soldiers, there won’t be sufficient forces. However, I may be wrong, everyone may be wrong. This is a new reality we have to face up to because that’s how it is and it’s very tough for those who are suffering. (…)./.

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