EU to decide on sending troops to Central African Republic

Tánaiste to meet other foreign affairs ministers in Brussels today to discuss military mission

The European Union will decide today on whether to send up to 1,000 troops to the Central African Republic, in what would be the first new military mission by the bloc in more than five years.

Foreign affairs ministers, including Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, meet in Brussels today to discuss the deteriorating situation in the Central African Republic, with France, which has committed troops to the area, calling for support.

Ireland is unlikely to send troops, according to sources, given its commitment in the Lebanon. Britain has already ruled out participating in any EU-led mission, although it has stressed it will lend support in other ways. While the EU has an emergency-response unit, this has never been used and is unlikely to be deployed in this case, officials say.

Instead, countries will choose whether to participate in the mission, with a decision in principle due today.


Known as a “bridging operation”, it is expected to last between four and six months, when it will be replaced by an African Union-led mission. The operation will need a UN security council resolution.

The deteriorating situation in the area has left more than 850,000 internally displaced people. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Joe Costello will attend a separate meeting to discuss the humanitarian situation.

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch, a former Irish Times journalist, was Washington correspondent and, before that, Europe correspondent