EU Commissioner warns over Central African Republic violence

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All state authorities in the Central African Republic (CAR) have "evaporated", the EU's Development Commissioner has warned.

Leading a debate on the EU's response to the crisis on 20 January 2014, Kristalina Georgieva said she welcomed the fact that "the world is finally paying attention".

Nearly a million people have been forced from their homes - 20% of the population - by the ongoing conflict between Muslims and Christians.

The country's interim parliament is meeting today to elect a new president, amid continuing violence.

Ex-leader Michel Djotodia resigned last month over his failure to end religious conflict that hit CAR since he seized power in a rebellion last March.

The Central African Republic has been unstable since its independence from France in 1960 and is one of the least-developed countries in the world.

The United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Baroness Amos, warned that "security services have disintegrated and public services have ceased functioning".

Meanwhile Nick Westcott, the Managing Director for Africa at the European External Action Service said that "the social fabric is starting to come apart at the seams."

He called for the establishment of a space "where people can sort their difference through talking rather than fighting".

Ministers at the EU's Foreign Affairs Council are meeting today to discuss whether to send troops to the country. The force, expected to have between 500 and 1,000 troops, will join French soldiers and and African Union mission based in the capital, Bangui.

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