French force in C. Africa will total 1,200 troops: minister
France said Thursday around 1,200 French troops would be deployed to try and help restore order in the Central African Republic, as part of a wider force due to be authorised by the UN Security Council.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told BFMTV that "around 1,200" soldiers would be deployed in the anarchy-stricken former French colony, adding that the intervention would kick off "in the coming days" after a UN Security Council vote due later Thursday.
The council will vote on a measure authorising thousands of African and French troops into the Central African Republic, where massacres have led to warnings of genocide-style strife.
The resolution, which envoys say is certain to be passed unanimously, also orders an arms embargo against the impoverished nation where chaos has reigned since rebels forced the president to flee in March.
Fabius's comments come one day ahead of a major summit in Paris that will gather together some 40 African leaders and is expected to be dominated by the crisis in Central Africa.
He said a meeting about the crisis was due to take place on Saturday afternoon, and emphasised that French forces would be there as "support" for the African troops, due to total around 3,600.
The aim of the intervention is "to avoid appalling humanitarian tragedies and to restore security," he said.
"Then it will be to facilitate a democratic transition because elections will need to be organised", he added.
© 2013 AFP