(Reuters) – The Ukraine crisis is hampering the European Union’s plans to send a peacekeeping force to Central African Republic because nervous eastern European countries want to keep their troops at home rather than send them to Africa, diplomats said on Friday.
The EU has drawn up plans to send 800 to 1,000 soldiers to Central African Republic to join 6,000 African and 2,000 French troops, who have struggled to stop the fighting that started when the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power a year ago in the majority Christian state.
But the plan has been jeopardized by the failure of European governments to provide key soldiers and equipment for the force, EU sources said on Thursday.
EU diplomats said that there was a link between the problems facing the Central African Republic force and the crisis in Ukraine, where Russian forces have occupied the Crimea region, raising tensions throughout the region.
“It is clear that the situation in Ukraine has impacted on the willingness of some of the likely contributors both in the EU and outside the EU to be necessarily ready to deploy to Central African Republic,” one diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“There are some potential troop contributors, both eastern European EU states and … partners of the EU, that were considering troop contributions (but) firming that up as a definite deployment hasn’t yet happened and one would assume it’s because it’s an unstable neighborhood,” he said…
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How far has Europe fallen since 1914.