PARIS Dec 7 French President Francois Hollande
said on Saturday it would be difficult for the current head of
Central African Republic to stay in place because he let the
crisis there unfold.
France is deploying 1,600 troops to its former colony, where
at least 400 people have died in three days of violence between
the Seleka rebel group that seized power in March and Christian
self-defence militias, which has spilled over into religious
violence in the capital and beyond.
"I don't want to point fingers but we cannot keep in place a
president who was not able to do anything, or even worse, who
let things happen," Hollande said in an interview broadcast on
the France 24 TV channel.
He said elections should be held before 2015 when the
mandate of the interim president, Michel Djotodia, ends. "The
idea is to head as fast as possible towards elections," he said.
Of the French intervention, Hollande said: "Tonight there
will be 1,600 troops and there will not be more. It will be
He said the operation would be financed by European funds,
worth 50 million euros ($68.42 million), as well as by the
United Nations, which backed the operation on Thursday.
It comes just months after France deployed 4,000 troops to
oust al Qaeda-linked Islamist groups which had seized control of
northern Mali, at a cost of 400 to 500 million euros.
Hollande said he would raise the issue of financing for
military operations at the next European Council meeting, due to
take place on Dec. 19-20. "I will tell them that we need to
build a fund that would allow financing of those operations," he
said. "I would like them (EU nations) to be in a position to
contribute more, help more," he added.