France, Germany unveil new partnership at EU-Africa summit

Anindita BANERJEE - 08/04/14

 African and European leaders held crisis talks on the "terrifying" violence in the Central African Republic, where peacekeepers have been unable to stop a deadly spiral of Christian-Muslim strife.
As some 80 leaders from the two continents kicked off a mammoth summit that locked down parts of Brussels, France and Germany announced a new partnership for Africa aimed at promoting peace and development as well as combatting the effects of climate change.
"We want to deploy our friendship on the ground," said French President Francois Hollande, adding that it was thanks to Germany that the European Union finally had been able to announce the launch of a delayed military mission to send 800 troops to CAR.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Berlin and Paris "are seeking to be a motor" in Africa’s development as well as its security.Germany, long reticent to take part in military missions, was on "a new path", Merkel said.
Delayed due to insufficient troop and aircraft commitments from member states, the launch of the EU operation in CAR was announced on the eve of the EU-Africa summit, which winds up tomorrow.
Germany has contributed air transport, with Georgia, Spain, France, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Poland and Portugal providing troops and Britain, Luxembourg and Sweden logistical support.
As chaos worsens in CAR, a score of leaders from the 54-member African Union and 28-nation EU gathered with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the crisis.
"We are deeply concerned of the desperate plight of the people of the CAR," said Ban, who is seeking Security Council endorsement for a 12,000-strong peacekeeping force to take over from the 8,000 African and French troops there.
Ban has warned the situation could spiral into genocide amid reports by the UN of child decapitations, cannibalism and widespread lynchings. Around a million people, a quarter of the population, have been displaced.
Britain announced a further 7.2 million euros in aid for CAR at the summit, bringing its contribution to 27.8 million euros, but there were no other immediate announcements from the EU, which has already contributed some 350 million euros.
As delegations got down to the business of addressing illegal migration, trade and security problems elsewhere on the continent, EU leaders insisted they were seeking a partnership of equals. (AFP)

Source: PTI


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