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to neighboring Chad? Regarding Darfur and Sudan, France wanted to be a major player in ending and mediating the conflict in the region. In an effort to show its desire to be an important humanitarian power, France appointed Bernard Kouchner - founder of Doctors without Borders (MSF), as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Although France refused to label the events in Darfur as genocide, it lobbied for a UN-mandated European peacekeeping force to be established in eastern Chad. In October 2007, the EU approved the European Union Force Chad/Central African Republic (EUFOR Chad/CAR). Troops in the EUFOR numbered at about 3,500. In 2008, France deployed 2,000 out of the 3,500. France utilized the EUFOR as a means of cutting its existing military presence in Chad whilst getting international recognition for military engagement by labeling its forces as humanitarian peacekeepers. In 2009, the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) replaced the EUFOR. It was conceived that MINURCAT would consist of 5,000 troops. In the end, approximately 2,000 troops from EUFOR remained under MINURCAT – most were French (Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre). Chad is a former French colony and France has a reputation of trying to maintain a presence and some control of former colonies. Traditionally, France has used military power as its central tool in maintaining the French influence in former colonies. Because the same tools as before cannot maintain previous influence, France attempts to present its military presence as contributing to African development and peace building rather than serving French interests. Labeling troops as humanitarian peacekeepers is an attempt by France to limit the negative reactions and consequences for its reputation. French businesses have been operating for a long time in Africa. France imports 5 percent from the continent. There are about 240,000 French nationals living in the region and Africa is a supplier of oil and metals to France. French officials stress the importance of regional stability and development, and democratic governments. “The African continent is our neighbor, and when it’s shaken by conflict, we’re shaken as well,” said André Dulait, a French parliamentarian during a debate on Africa (Council on
diamonds. he acknowledged France’s assistance during the attempted coup in February. To prevent Déby from being ousted on several occasions France provided him with military support – 2008 was the most recent time. France may also be interested in Chad for its natural resources. France is one of Chad’s most important trading partners and the possibility of developing further economic interests may also play a part in France’s interest in Chad (Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre). France also has important intelligence assets and capabilities in Chad that that were used in the US-led “war on terror”. . France has about 1200 troops in Chad. Uranium has been discovered in Northern Chad and data has suggested that bauxite. and thereby helped to achieve stability and progress for Chad” (Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre). Andrew Hansen. Chad’s relations with Libya. Ketil Fred Hansen. supported us continuously and in many different ways.peacebuilding. saying that “[o]ur special friend France has. This is one of France’s political objectives in Chad – it is to keep Déby in power.Foreign Affairs). Having a military presence there enables France to protect its’ citizens and economic interests in Chad and neighboring countries in event of a crisis. 15 April 2011 http://www. In a statement made by President Déby on 31 December 2008. French soldiers destined for Afghanistan is trained in Chad.no/Regions/Africa/Publications/Chad-s-relations-with-Libya-SudanFrance-and-the-US (accessed 20 May. security issues are at the top of the French agenda in Chad (Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre). and France. Therefore. Sudan. Council on Foreign Relations. He received support from Libya. Sudan. The French Military in Africa http://www. 2012). gold and other minerals are contained within the soil. 2012). Chad’s President Idriss Déby came to power following a military coup in December 1990. during this year also. NOREF Report. Reference Dr. France and the US.org/france/french-military-africa/p12578 (accessed 20 May.cfr. France is interested in Chad as a military training ground.
why? France has refused to label the events in Darfur as genocide. 19). . which has been explained by the International Crisis Group (ICG) through the French economic interests attached to the Sudanese oil production (ICG 2006. Reference International Crisis Group (ICG).org/refworld/docid/44c77d614.Has France ever described the events in Darfur as genocide? If not.html (accessed 21 May 2012). http://www. Tchad: Vers le Retour de la Guerre?. Rapport Afrique N°111.unhcr. 1 June 2006. France was always reluctant to label the conflict as genocide or participate in intervention in Darfur.