BERLIN, Germany, March 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — To contribute to the success of today’s (28 March) force generation conference in Brussels for the European Union military bridging operation in the Central African Republic (EUFOR CAR), Germany will additionally make available strategic air transport to the country’s capital, Bangui. This key enabler will help the European partners participating in the EU military operation to rapidly move personnel and materiel to the area of operations. Recently, the operation in this civil-war-torn country threatened to fail, due to a lack of such a capability for strategic deployment, that is, airlifting large and heavy cargo over long distances.
Federal Minister von der Leyen:
The humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic is alarming. This makes it all the more important for the EU military operation to strengthen stability and security, so as to prevent violent conflict in the country from taking root and spreading. Rapid airlift of materiel and personnel is a key enabler. A lack thereof has so far prevented establishment of an EU military operation for the Central African Republic. I am very pleased that Germany can help solve this problem, without overstraining the Federal Armed Forces’ airlift capabilities in other operational areas, such as in connection with Afghanistan redeployment.
Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier:
We are prepared to support the planned EU military bridging operation in the Central African Republic. France, among others, has requested temporary assistance from European partners, so as to prevent state structures in the Central African Republic from collapsing entirely, and to achieve initial stabilisation. It is our shared European responsibility to pool all of the capabilities that are required for this. That is why Germany will make available more air transport. This will not require any additional German personnel to be deployed to the area of operations.
For these transport flights to Bangui, the Federal Armed Forces will use Antonov An-124-100 aircraft leased from the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS). Since 2006, Germany has been a party to the contract between the NATO Support Agency (NSPA) and RUSLAN SALIS GmbH, which is headquartered in Leipzig. This will put at the full disposal of the 14 participating nations two aircraft, each with a maximum payload of 150 tons. Germany is currently employing this capability intensively, primarily for follow-on supply to, and redeployment of, the German ISAF contingent in Afghanistan. This cooperation has proven its worth over a long period of time.
Germany remains willing to participate in the EU military bridging operation in the Central African Republic by making available strategic MEDEVAC capabilities, and by providing personnel for the Operation Headquarters (OHQ) in Larissa, as well as for the Force Headquarters (FHQ) in Bangui.
Beyond the air transport that Germany is providing within the framework of the ISAF mission, Germany is already making such a capability available to the UN’s MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in Mali, as well as, on a bilateral level, to France for its national SANGARIS operation in the Central African Republic.
On 10 February 2014, European Union Foreign Ministers decided to establish an EU military bridging operation in the Central African Republic (EUFOR CAR). The aim, in coordination with international organisations (United Nations, African Union) and other actors, is to mitigate the threat posed by armed groups to the civilian population, and to ease civilian suffering, as well as to help the Central African Republic return to constitutional order. The EUFOR CAR operation plan and rules of engagement were approved on 17 March 2014.