France to launch military operation in CAR immediately: Hollande

PARIS Thu Dec 5, 2013 1:34pm EST

French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech during a meeting with African heads of states against trafficking and poaching of endangered species in Africa at the Hotel de la Marine in Paris December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech during a meeting with African heads of states against trafficking and poaching of endangered species in Africa at the Hotel de la Marine in Paris December 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Charles Platiau

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PARIS (Reuters) - President Francois Hollande said a French-led military operation to protect civilians in the Central African Republic would be launched immediately following authorization from the U.N. Security Council.

"I have decided to act immediately, in other words, this evening," Hollande told journalists.

He added that the number of French troops present in the poor landlocked nation, currently 600, would be doubled as early as this evening thanks to reinforcements from neighboring states.

(Reporting By Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by Daniel Flynn)

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