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EU nations to consider joint military operation to Central African Republic

The Department of Defence said that any decision to send Irish troops to CAR would be a decision “made by government ultimately”.

French troops secure the area at the entrance to Mpoko Airport.
French troops secure the area at the entrance to Mpoko Airport.
Image: Press Association Images

IT IS TOO EARLY to speculate whether Irish troops will be sent to the Central African Republic (CAR) as part of a proposed European-wide joint military action plan, said the Department of Defence today.

European Union nations are due to consider plans for a joint military operation in the Central African Republic as worsening sectarian strife there raises fears of large-scale civilian massacres.

Ambassadors to the EU will be asked at a meeting Friday whether to approve the rapid deployment of a European military force that could include hundreds of troops to help African and French peacekeepers already on the ground to restore security, said an EU official speaking on condition of anonymity.

Irish Defence Forces

The Department of Defence said any decision to send Irish troops to CAR would be a decision “made by government ultimately”.

They added: “If and when the EU make a decision then the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Defence would be approached.” They reiterated that it was too early to make any sort of speculation as to whether Ireland would be involved in the proposed mission.

An EU official said: “The question (to ambassadors) will be ‘Do you think the situation in the Central African Republic merits European involvement?’

“If they agree, detailed options will be put on the table Monday or Tuesday,” the official said.

Decision

A final decision would be taken by the bloc’s 28 foreign ministers at talks in Brussels on January 20.

Some 1,600 French troops and 4,000 UN-mandated African peacekeepers have deployed across the impoverished state in recent weeks to end violence between Christian militias and ex-rebels who installed the country’s first Muslim leader in a coup in March.

The violence is believed to have killed more than 1,000 people last month alone with almost one million people driven from their homes, including half of the residents of the capital, Bangui.

With the CAR’s institutions in disarray, the force could take on policing duties in the capital while protecting refugees and aid workers and possibly safeguarding the airport, taking over there from French troops.

Additional reporting - © AFP, 2014

Read: At least two children beheaded among 16 dead in Central African Republic – UNICEF>

Read: Ireland pledges €2 million in aid to Central African Republic>

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