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(Defense Ministry.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–President Margvelashvili has asked parliament for approval to again send soldiers to the Central African Republic, after the EU extended its mission there for another four months.

The president’s order was signed on December 2, and has been received by the parliament. It involves sending two platoons to take part in the EU’s EUFOR RCA mission in the Central African Republic, and serve there until the end of March. The president’s order will enter into force upon approval by parliament.

Georgia first sent soldiers to the 700 strong mission last summer. EUFOR RCA was supposed to have ended by November, as a much larger UN Security Council sanctioned force began working in mid September. But the EU decided to extended its mission until March 15, 2015, to ‘effect the handover of tasks’ to the UN-mission MINUSCA.

David Smith, head of Okapi Consulting, told Deutsche Welle that there is no functioning national army in the Central African Republic. “The national army is either confined to its base or will remain within [the capital] Bangui, or has disappeared in the bush and in some cases taken up arms with the various rebel movements,” Smith told the news service.

The violence between Christians and Muslims began two years ago. The UN has warned that the situation may spiral into genocide. The African Union had a force of several thousand early on. France sent a unilateral force of 1,600 soldiers one year ago, Sangaris, which like the EU mission was meant to be temporary but is still there.