US praises French 'leadership' in C. Africa conflict
Washington praised French military forces Friday for beginning the tough task of helping restore security to the strife-torn Central African Republic.
"We believe that France's strong leadership in committing 800 additional troops and their support to the African Union-led stabilization mission in the CAR (MISCA) sends a forceful message to all parties that the violence must end," deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
France deployed its troops on Friday as part of a UN-backed operation to quell violence between Christians and Muslims in its former colony.
"We are deeply concerned by the worsening violence in the CAR, which has resulted in a growing humanitarian crisis and increased the risk of mass atrocities," Harf said in a statement.
The United States has pledged some $40 million in equipment, training and logistical support to the French-African force known as MISCA.
Germany said it was ready to offer transport and refueling aircraft to the French operation, but Harf told journalists she was not aware of any specific requests for US military help.
"Obviously, we would consider them if they came in," she said.
© 2013 AFP