French troops to protect its nationals, not CAR govt-Hollande

PARIS Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:24am EST

PARIS Dec 27 (Reuters) - France maintains a presence in the Central African Republic to protect its interests and French citizens, not the government of President Francois Bozize, French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday.

"If we have a presence, it's not to protect a regime, it's to protect our nationals and our interests and in no way to intervene in the internal business of a country, in this case the Central African Republic," Hollande said.

"Those days are over," Hollande added, speaking on the sidelines of a visit to a wholesale food market outside Paris.