World News

France says it's discussing new Central African U.N. sanctions list

PARIS (Reuters) - France said on Thursday it was working with partners at the United Nations Security Council to impose new sanctions on individuals threatening peace and blocking political transition in the Central African Republic (CAR).

A man gestures in front of a burning barricade during a protest against French soldiers in Bambari May 22, 2014. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

CAR has been in turmoil since Seleka Muslim fighters briefly seized power in the majority Christian country in 2013. They later handed power to an interim government but still control swathes of the north.

Elections are scheduled for Oct. 18 but are expected to be postponed for technical and security reasons.

Armed groups and politicians on Wednesday boycotted the start of a political forum in the former French colony. There has been a surge in violence in the capital, Bangui, since late September, sparked by the murder of a Muslim man, which has seen 77 people killed and 400 injured.

“We are favorable to the adoption of new U.N. Security Council sanctions on those who threaten peace and stability and prevent the political transition process,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal told reporters in a daily briefing.

“We are working in this direction with our partners on the Security Council.”

Nadal declined to give further details.

A French diplomatic source refused to give any prospective names, but said the sanctions would cover travel bans and the freezing of assets.

So far, five individuals have been placed under U.N. sanctions, including former president Francois Bozize and Seleka leader Noureddine Adam in 2014. The Belgian branch of the CAR’s diamond trading company, Kardiam, and three other people linked to the three-year-old conflict were added in August.

A 10,500-strong U.N. mission in the CAR, known as MINUSCA, was deployed to shore up the precarious stability established under a transitional government after France intervened in December 2013.

Paris still has 900 troops on the ground used as a rapid reaction force in support of MINUSCA.

Reporting by John Irish; editing by Andrew Roche