JOHANNESBURG (AP) — French President Francois Hollande said Monday that an African security summit in Paris in December will promote the formation of African peacekeeping forces that can intervene in regional conflicts.
Hollande also said during a visit to South Africa that France will support a regional force that will try to bring stability to Central African Republic, which has been in turmoil since rebels overthrew the president there in March. France has said it might increase its troop presence in Central African Republic to back an African Union force, with France's military mission going beyond protecting French interests in the country
"France's role is not to substitute (an African force), but to assist, support, and train," Hollande said during a news conference with South African President Jacob Zuma. Many African leaders are expected to attend the security summit in Paris on Dec. 6-7.
"The idea is to promote the creation of regional African forces having the ability to intervene at the right time, with the decisions to be taken at the AU and U.N.," Hollande said. The goal, he said, is "to avoid new tragedies."
Hollande praised South Africa for contributing troops to a United Nations mission with a mandate to help fight rebels in eastern Congo. He also commented on South Africa's role in regional efforts to ensure peaceful elections later this month in Madagascar, as well as South Africa's political support for France's intervention in Mali earlier this year to fight Islamic militants.
Associated Press Writer Sylvie Corbet contributed to this report from Paris.