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EU turns to money and troops to tackle CAR conflict

EU turns to money and troops to tackle CAR conflict
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The EU will spend 90 million euros on efforts to stop the violence in the Central African Republic.

There are already 1,600 French troops and 5,000 African Union peacekeepers in the country, which descended into chaos after mostly Muslim rebel coalition Séléka seized power in March. Over 1,000 people were killed in the capital Bangui last month.

After a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday morning, it was decided that EU force of up to 1,000 soldiers will be sent to the Central African Republic. However, it will take at least a month to work out which member countries are taking part in the mission. The UK and Italy have said they will not be sending troops.

Speaking from outside the meeting of donors, euronews correspondent Audrey Tilve said: “A term that often comes up here is the need for the EU to have an overall approach to the crisis, working on all fronts – security, humanitarian aid, reconstruction and reconciliation That’s is why a meeting of financial donors was held in parallel to one with EU foreign ministers.”

Various NGOs and 40 countries took part in the donor meeting to work out how to help the nearly one million refugees – around 20 percent of the Central African Republic’s population.

“Our main concerns is a country that has never had inter-religious violence, now face a situation where christians are killing muslims, muslims are killing christians. A genie has come out of the bottle we need to put it back,” EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Kristalina Georgieva told euronews.

The international community has pledged 365 million euros to help deal with the situation in the Central African Republic. That money will cover the first three months of the emergency plan and 90 percent of what is needed for humanitarian aid.

Explaining how the money will be spent, Nancy Lindborg of the U.S. Agency for International Development said: “These funds will be for a whole host of humanitarian urgent needs, food, medical care, protection. We are especially concerned about women and children who are vulnerable in this crisis. It also includes money for community-based reconciliation and peace building programs.”