President Hollande in Bangui in Peace Mission
The French President was to visit the Central African Republic (CAR)May 18th, 2016
Holland’s visit to Bangui on May 18th, 2016 is his third trip to the capital of the Central Africa Republic. His last trip, in 2014, came shortly after the French military force, Sangaris, had been deployed in response to the country's civil war.
The French operation included 2,000 soldiers at one point; now it is down to 650 and should have merged with the international and European forces in the country by the end of the year. Officials told the AFP news agency that France's work in CAR was changing from peacekeeping to helping with the reconstruction process.
Hollande met President Faustin Archange Touadéra, who was elected in February, and visit a Muslim neighborhood in Bangui that at one point was the center of militia violence but whose inhabitants have started returning. His visit to the CAR takes place with several legal investigations open in Paris over allegations of sexual abuse by French and UN soldiers. And this week the family of the French photojournalist Camille Lepage, who was killed in the CAR two years ago, appealed to Hollande to push for more to be done to establish the circumstances of her death.
The call was supported by press freedom campaign Reporters without Borders. Hollande was to go on to Nigeria, ahead of a security summit on Saturday with West African and central African leaders. The visit to Nigeria follows a deal agreed two weeks ago between France and Nigeria to increase the military cooperation in fighting Boko Haram, which now declares itself to be the West African arm of the Islamic State armed group, and in improving maritime security off the Nigerian coast.
Cultural Diplomacy News
Maurycy Barański, CD News