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On CAR, France Wants Weaker UNSC Press Statement Than Rwanda or AU

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 25, updated -- While the UN Security Council met Monday about the Central African Republic, coming out of the Council to make phone calls about draft press statement were diplomats including France's Deputy Permanent Representative Martin Briens, his counterpart from the UN Jeffrey DeLaurentis and Rwanda's Olivier Nduhungirehe.

  When the meeting ended at 7 pm, it was said that there would be no UN Television stakeout, that a press statement would be e-mailed to journalists later.

  So what happened?

  Olivier Nduhungirehe told Inner City Press that Rwanda, “for the African Union,” pushed for a stronger press statement, for example to support the AU's March 25 Communique imposing a travel ban and asset freeze on seven Seleka and CPJP leaders -- including Seleka's Paris based spokesman Eric N. Massi.

  This was telling: France which drafted the press statement did not want to go as far as the African Union and Rwanda wanted it to go.

  By then, the new number one French spokesman was gone (seemingly to the farewell for the former number one, whose departure we've already noted); and there was no one to read the “weak” press statement out. And so it goes at the UN.

Update: here's the e-mailed out Press Statement:


The members of the Security Council heard a report by M. Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on the situation in the Central African Republic.

The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the recent attacks and the seizure of power by force in the Central African Republic on 24 March 2013 by the Seleka coalition, as well as the ensuing violence and looting. They also condemned the use of force, causing inter alia the deaths of and injuries to soldiers from the South Africa training contingent deployed in the Central African Republic at the request of the government.

The members of the Security Council noted the decision of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council dated March 25 to suspend the participation of the Central African Republic in all the activities of the African Union and the decision taken by this organisation against the Seleka leaders whose action violated the Libreville agreements and jeopardized the precarious stability in the Central African Republic.

The members of the Security Council called on all parties to refrain from any acts of violence against civilians, including foreign communities, to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access consistent with international law, and to fully respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law. They emphasised that those responsible for violations and abuses of international humanitarian and human rights law including violence against civilians, sexual and gender based violence and recruitment and use of children in armed conflict must be held accountable. They recalled that such violations of international humanitarian law may amount to crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, to which the Central African Republic is a State party. They called on all parties to exercise the utmost restraint and called for respect for persons and property.

The members of the Security Council called for the restoration of the rule of law, constitutional order, and the implementation of the Libreville agreements, as they represent the framework for political transition and the basis for a peaceful solution. They recalled that according to the Political agreement signed in Libreville, the government of National unity is in charge of holding legislative elections. They reaffirmed the important role of the Economic Community of the Central African States in facilitating the implementation of the Libreville agreements with the support of the African Union.

The members of the Security Council expressed their intention to monitor closely the situation and, if required, to consider further steps.

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