UN chief wants more troops for Central African Republic

Updated: 2014-02-21 11:03


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French UN Ambassador Gerard Araud said French and African forces had started to stabilize the situation.

"The priority today: what we are going to do in the coming months to try to alleviate the suffering of the Central African people?" he said. "The secretary-general made some proposals. The Security Council is going to have a look at them."

The European Union is already deploying 1,000 soldiers to join 6,000 African and 2,000 French troops, who have struggled to stop the fighting sparked when the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power a year ago in the majority Christian state.

"I am grateful for these commitments. But more are needed, quickly, and the wider international community must share the burden," said Ban, who also proposed that the international troops all be brought under a coordinated command.

Ban also proposed that the African Union force be provided with logistical and financial support, including rations, water and fuel, estimating that such a "bare essentials" package would cost $38 million for six months.

African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui welcomed the call for financial support for African troops.

Ban said urgent financial support was also needed to help the Central African Republic government "get police back on the streets, judges back in the courtrooms, and prison guards back on the job." He said Denmark and Norway had already pledged money for this aspect of his initiative.

"We have the power to stop the killing and save the Central African Republic from its current nightmare," Ban said.

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