SP: ‘Support for a EUFOR mission dominated by France makes no sense’

25 March 2008

SP: ‘Support for a EUFOR mission dominated by France makes no sense’

In Chad and the Central African Republic, the Netherlands would be better offering support to a neutral UN intervention than to a European mission, as long as the detrimental role played by the French in the region continues, SP Member of Parliament and development spokesman Ewout Irrgang will say in today's parliamentary debate on the proposed mission.

Irrgang will use this evening's debate to express his concerns over the lack of neutrality of the European Union's EUFOR military intervention in Chad and the Central African Republic. The mission's biggest problem, he argues, is the double role played by the French. French military forces are present in their own right in Chad in a mission known as ‘Epervier’, aimed at keeping the corrupt President Déby in power.

Rebels in ChadAt the same time the larger part of the EUFOR mission consists also of French troops, while many of the necessary helicopters and much of the logistical support, as well as the officers in command, are also supplied by the French. The operational command is based in France, too.

Soldiers who have previously served in Operation Epervier could now be recruited for the EUROR mission, so there is a real danger that exchange of information will take place which will play into Déby's hands. Irrgang argues that it would be much better to contribute to a truly neutral mission organised through the United Nations.

“The opposition, including the rebels, have as a result of the lack of neutrality already declared war on the French-dominated EUFOR mission," warns the SP development spokesman. "Everything therefore points to the fact that the EUFOR mission will contribute to a further escalation of the conflict, which should surely not be the intention."

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