News / Africa

Hollande: France Will Help Fund CAR Government

French president Francois Hollande, second right, looks at interim Central African Republic President Catherine Samba-Panza, second left, in Bangui, Central African Republic, Feb. 28, 2014.
French president Francois Hollande, second right, looks at interim Central African Republic President Catherine Samba-Panza, second left, in Bangui, Central African Republic, Feb. 28, 2014.
Nick Long
French President Francois Hollande was in the Central African Republic Friday for the second time in just over three months.  He was visiting the French troops stationed in the country, as well as consulting with the new CAR government and with religious leaders.

Since December, when inter-religious violence flared in the CAR, France has had 1,600 troops in the country, who were reinforced with 400 new arrivals this week.  Last week, their mandate was extended by six months.

After visiting the soldiers of the French mission and thanking them for their work, the French president held talks with transitional President Catherine Samba Panza and with Catholic, Protestant and Muslim leaders.

Speaking to media, he compared what he had just seen in Bangui with what he saw during his last visit in December, when two French soldiers had just been killed, tens of thousands of people had fled to a camp at the airport to escape violence, and the rest of the city looked like a ghost town.

He said he has been on the streets of Bangui during the day - not everywhere but where was driven - and he has seen that life is getting back to normal, shops have reopened and commercial activity has restarted although there is a lot still to do.

Hollande attributed this progress to the French and African Union peacekeepers, and to the CAR government, which he said under its new president had restored international confidence.

Setting out the next steps, the French president said French troops would continue restoring order in towns in addition to the capital.

The objective, he says, is to free up main roads and to accompany the government toward areas of the country where certain people might think they are cut off from the rest of the nation.

This was a hint that French troops will deploy eastwards, toward areas currently controlled by the Seleka armed movement, which seized power in Bangui a year ago but has recently retreated from most of the western CAR.

There was still inter-religious violence although less than there was, Hollande said, adding that certain groups must be rendered harmless and there should be no impunity.

Finally Hollande made the major announcement of his visit - France and central African states have agreed to help fund the CAR government, which has virtually no funds at the moment, so that police and gendarmes, teachers and health workers can get back to work.

He thanked the regional heads of state for their understanding and said France would also play its part and everything would be done so that from next week the CAR president would have an administration that can work.  That was our obligation, he emphasized.

Leaving for the airport, Hollande encouraged the new administration to get to work and to break with bad practices of the past, such as corruption.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs