SA, France agree on Central African Republic
14 October 2013, 17:14
Johannesburg - South Africa and France agree that
intervention is needed in the Central African Republic (CAR) to help stabilise
the country, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.
"The foreign minister of France gave a report...
that the problem [in the country] is getting worse. Even the question of
religion among the people is beginning to set in," Zuma told reporters at
the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
"We [South Africa] agreed that we need to do
something and act quickly. We have committed... that we are going to be ready
to be part of the solution to help the Central African Republic come back to
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with French President
Francois Hollande, Zuma did not specify the role South Africa would play in the
Zuma said an interim government had been given 18 months
to hold elections after a coup.
"It is clear that the work towards elections cannot
happen because of the situation. It, therefore, needs urgent
He said any intervention needed to be done within the
frameworks of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).
Fifteen South African soldiers died in March after
clashing with a group of Seleka rebels in Bangui, CAR.
Speaking in French, Hollande said there needed to be more
intervention by African countries in conflicts on their own continent.
African countries were beginning to have the capacity to
deal with these conflicts themselves.
Hollande said the situation in CAR was urgent.
"We thought it necessary to mobilise the AU and the
UN security council to... [have] a force to help the Central African Republic
Zuma and Hollande also discussed trade and co-operation
between South Africa and France.
Zuma said France was a reliable development partner for
"Since our democracy in 1994, France has extensively
supported our reconstruction and development efforts. We appreciate the ongoing
Hollande said France had stood by the South Africans
oppressed under apartheid and it still stood by the country "in its years
He said a transport agreement was reached to supply the
Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) with more than 3 000 train carriages.
"This is so that we can share technology, share
jobs, and share the same ambition for transport."
He said the relationship between the two countries was
not just about trade, but also about French companies setting up in South
"It is about young South Africans being hired by
Two agreements were signed by ministers from both
One was a declaration of intent for co-operation within
the context of a G20 action plan on agriculture and the other on an
agricultural education project.