UN warns of ‘serious threat’ to CAR's stability

Updated 18 August 2013
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UN warns of ‘serious threat’ to CAR's stability

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council warned on Wednesday that turmoil in the Central African Republic poses a “serious threat” to the country and the region, and urged new measures to restore stability.
A unanimous declaration of the 15 council members did not specify what these new options could be, but a recent report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recommended sanctions against officials from the Seleka coalition suspected of committing atrocities.
According to UN Special Representative Babacar Gaye, the threat of sanctions is a form of pressure to improve the human rights situation in the Central African Republic.
The Central African Republic has been sliding into chaos since Seleka rebels took over in March, with reports of executions, looting and epidemics.
After ousting Francois Bozize from power, the international community granted the Seleka rebel alliance de facto recognition and a shot at steering the nation through a transition period leading to fresh polls.
But on Wednesday Security Council members “expressed deep concern at the security situation in CAR, characterized by a total breakdown in law and order, and the absence of the rule of law.”
“They stressed that the armed conflict and crisis in CAR pose a serious threat to the stability of the CAR and the region,” it said, highlighting “grave concern” about a deterioration in the humanitarian situation.
It cited “reports of widespread human rights violations, notably by Seleka elements, including those involving arbitrary arrests and detention, sexual violence against women and children, torture, rape, extrajudicial killings, recruitment and use of children and attacks against civilians.”
Top UN officials earlier called on the international community to act to keep the crisis-torn Central African Republic from becoming a “failed state.”
“The Central African Republic is not yet a failed state but has the potential to become one if swift action is not taken,” UN under-secretary-general and emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos said.
According to the United Nations, 1.6 million people in the Central African Republic are in need of urgent help. The crisis has forced 60,000 people to flee to neighboring countries and has displaced 206,000.
Amos called for the Security Council to support the new International Support Mission to Central Africa (MISCA). The 3,600-strong force, under the auspices of the African Union, is tasked with helping the government secure its territory.
She also called on the international community to provide “funds and logistical support” for the country, noting that only 32 percent of $195 million requested by the United Nations has been provided thus far.
The International Federation for Human Rights said last month it had documented at least 400 murders by Seleka-affiliated groups since March. Barring a few arrests in Bangui, all those killings have gone unpunished.


India’s Modi faces calls for resignation over French jet deal

Updated 22 September 2018
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India’s Modi faces calls for resignation over French jet deal

  • Indian political parties have been gunning for Modi over the 2016 purchase of 36 Rafale planes from Dassault Aviation estimated to be worth $8.7 billion, saying he had overpaid for the planes and had not been transparent.
  • Political analysts say that the BJP is “losing in the perception war.”

DELHI: India’s prime minister was under fire over allegations of corruption in a military jet deal with France after comments by former French President François Hollande. Hollande was quoted as saying Narendra Modi’s government had influenced the choice of a local partner.
Indian political parties have been gunning for Modi over the 2016 purchase of 36 Rafale planes from Dassault Aviation estimated to be worth $8.7 billion, saying he had overpaid for the planes and had not been transparent.
The opposition, led by Congress President Rahul Gandhi, spent the past year alleging that the deal is a scam, in which India is overpaying for jets and the government is allowing a private company — billionaire Indian businessman Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defense — to benefit instead of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
On Friday, Hollande, who cleared the intergovernmental deal when he was in office, was quoted as saying New Delhi had put pressure on Dassault to choose Reliance.
“We had no choice. We took the interlocutor that was given to us,” he was reported as telling the French news service Mediapart, fueling a political storm in India.
The Indian government, however, has insisted all along that it had nothing to do with Dassault’s decision to work with Reliance Defense.
Under Indian defense procurement rules, a foreign firm must invest at least 30 percent of the contract in India to help to build up its manufacturing base and wean off imports.
HAL was the sole contender for being the local partner of Dassault Aviation, but when the deal was sealed in 2015 during Modi’s Paris trip the Reliance Defense procured the contract .
“The PM personally negotiated and changed the Rafale deal behind closed doors. Thanks to François Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to ...Anil Ambani,” said Mr. Gandhi in a tweet.
Gandhi further tweeted: “The PM and Anil Ambani jointly carried out a ... SURGICAL STRIKE on the Indian Defense forces. Modi Ji you dishonored the blood of our martyred soldiers. Shame on you. You betrayed India’s soul.”
Gandhi repeated the charge in a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday.
The BJP, however, says that there is no corruption.
“The fact that two sovereign heads of States negotiated a deal means that there is no room for corruption,” said Sudesh Verma, BJP spokesperson.
Talking to Arab News Verma emphasized that “the highest integrity was maintained in the deal. Now the Congress is not talking of corruption but favoritism. Merely by saying that Reliance Defense was favored by us would not cut any ice. These are insinuations and are irresponsible.”
Political analysts say that the BJP is “losing in the perception war.”
“No matter what the indian government says that perception is that the Indian government gave the offset contract to Anil Ambani, a guy who has no history of producing defense equipment,” says Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a New Delhi based political analyst.
He added: “The halo around Modi has been severely diminished after the recent revelations. This is something which it would be very difficult to live it down now.”