France debates CAR intervention

Feb. 25, 2014 at 9:52 AM

PARIS, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- French leaders said Tuesday intervening in the Central African Republic was the right move to make, but expressed frustration with the pace of development.

French forces were authorized by a U.N. Security Council mandate to deploy to CAR, a former French colony, to support an African Union peacekeeping mission.

Violence grew out of a 2013 government takeover by the Sunni rebel Seleka coalition. The International Criminal Court opened an investigation this month into the violence after the Christian anti-balaka militia started reprisal attacks against their Muslim rivals.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tuesday the intervention likely prevented genocide in CAR.

"The French were right to intervene," he was quoted by French broadcaster France 24 as saying.

Eric Woerth, a lawmaker from the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, said a massacre was avoided but "nothing has been resolved [and] the country is still on fire."

French President Francois Hollande in mid-February decided to add 400 troops to the French operation to raise the number of soldiers deployed to the Central African Republic to 2,000.

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