France's Hollande urges Africa to take control of its own security
PARIS (REUTERS) - French President Francois Hollande urged African leaders on Friday to take a grip on their continent's security by creating a long-delayed regional force, after Paris was forced into its second military operation this year.
Paris deployed troops to Central African Republic on Friday after it won UN backing for a mission to quell mounting religious violence in the nation of 4.6 million people. That followed a massive French operation to dislodge Al-Qaeda-linked fighters from the deserts of northern Mali this year.
Mr Hollande told some 40 African leaders, gathered at a two-day summit in Paris to discuss security, that the crisis in Central African Republic showed the urgent need to press ahead with the African Standby Force (ASF).
"Africa must be the master of its own destiny and that means mastering its own security," he said, after a moment of silence for anti-Apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday.