BRUSSELS, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Sending European troops to the Central African Republic is important for security, though long-term financial support is needed, EU lawmakers said Thursday.
French Maj. Gen. Philippe Ponties was appointed by the European Union to lead a unit authorized by a U.N. Security Council resolution to use force in CAR to help restore order.
Louis Michel, chairman of an EU assembly on African affairs, said Thursday deploying EU forces to support African Union peacekeepers was vital to helping bring stability to CAR.
"Longer term financial and human resources will be required to establish and maintain a sustainable solution to the benefit of the beleaguered people of the Central African Republic and to contribute to security in the region as a whole," the Belgian member of the European Parliament said in a statement.
Michael Gahler, the German chairman of a pan-African committee, said a comprehensive approach is needed to help address the wide range of problems troubling the war-torn African nation, one of the poorest in the world.
Catherine Samba-Panza was selected as the interim CAR president to help lead the country out of the crisis. She took over from Michel Djotodia, who agreed to resign earlier this month.
Djotodia's rebel Seleka coalition toppled the CAR government in March, though he quickly lost control of the rebel force. Conflict has approached the brink of civil war since the Christian anti-balaka militia took up arms against Sunni fighters loyal to Seleka.