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On CAR, France To Pen Statement, Defers to Libreville Process, Unlike #Kampala

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 3 -- While the UN Security Council held closed door consultations on the Central African Republic on Thursday afternoon, sources in the meeting told Inner City Press that the position of the "pen-holder France" was that "if the African members want the Council to do something, France will take up the pen."

  After the meeting, Inner City Press asked Ambassador Eugene-Richard Gasana of new Council member Rwanda about it. He said the Council should support the regional and sub-regional efforts and the African Union, and that yes, there would be a Security Council press statement.

  Moments later France's Gerard Araud confimed this, saying that France would circulate a statement Thursday night and that "I hope it will be issued tomorrow, I think there is unity of the Council, I guess there won't be any problem."

  Inner City Press asked Araud, what about the Bozize government's arrest of people perceived to support the Seleka rebels?

  Araud replied, "That would be one of the messages of the Council. I think it will also be important to say humanitarian and even human rights issues. The goal is to have a political agreement in Libreville [on January 8, then] a national unity government. Bozize has said he won't run again in 2016, we hope he implements previous agreements."

  To some, France's deference on CAR stands in contrast to its active stance on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it has called the M23 mutineers outlaws, was critical of UN official Susana Malcorra meeting with them, and has not deferred to the Kampala process.

  What's so different about the Libreville "process"? Well, the president of Francophone Republic of Congo Denis Sassou-Nguesso will be chairing it. Watch this site.

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