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France warns EU military mission to C. Africa in jeopardy


A French soldier of the Sangaris military operation mans a check-point on March 1, 2014 in Bangui (AFP Photo/Sia Kambou)

Paris (AFP) - France warned on Friday that the launch of a much-needed EU military operation in conflict-ridden Central African Republic planned for next week may not take place for lack of troops.

"If additional efforts are not made rapidly, it won't be possible to launch as planned this essential operation next week," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a joint statement.

The European Union committed last month to deploying a military operation to assist the 8,000 French and African troops already on the ground.

The former French colony was thrown into turmoil after rebels from the mainly Muslim Seleka group seized power in a March 2013 coup, triggering Muslim-Christian violence that has left thousands dead and prompted fears of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

The EU has pledged to contribute between 800 to 1,000 troops but negotiations on which countries will provide them are still going on.

"The European Union must assume its responsibilities where international security is concerned," the ministers said.

Original Article: Yahoo News