WASHINGTON: The United States and France stand united on the fight against terrorism and nuclear proliferation, French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday at the White House.
US praised France’s “key” role in helping to quell unrest and unending violence in parts of Africa.
“The French role has been key to achieving success in Mali and the French role in trying to bring about security and peace in CAR are very, very important,” the US top diplomat for Africa, Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.
Washington was “very supportive of their efforts” in Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR), she said, as she denounced horrific reports of recent lynchings in the latter country plagued by Christian and Muslim revenge attacks.
Hollande arrived Tuesday at the White House for talks with US President Barack Obama.
He was greeted with a 21-gun salute and full military honors on the chilly South Lawn of the White House, before a day of talks on issues ranging from Iran to climate change, trade to combating terror threats.
Washington also supported fresh moves to increase the number of European and African forces working in Central Africa, the assistant secretary for Africa Thomas-Greenfield said.
The African peacekeeping-force MISCA has already sent some 5,400 of 6,000 planned troops, and some 1,600 French soldiers are on the ground in the CAR. The EU has promised to deploy 500 troops to Bangui at the beginning of March.
“We agree that the number of troops in CAR needs to be increased to address the very complex security situation that is existing in that country,” said Thomas-Greenfield, in an online discussion with reporters from around the continent.
More security forces and in particular “foreign police units” were need to help secure the capital Bangui, she said.
“We hope to continue to work with the troops contributing countries and will continue to work with the French government and partners in the European Union to ensure we bring about a level of support that will bring peace and security to CAR.”
While the United States has not provided any forces on the ground, it has helped airlift French troops both into Mali and the Central African Republic.
It has given some $100 million to support the military efforts to end the violence in CAR and also given some $45 million in humanitarian aid to the people.