MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) — The European Union will extend its military operation in the Central African Republic until 2015, following a request from the country's authorities, the European Commission said Friday.
"The Council today extended the European Union military operation in the Central African Republic (EUFOR RCA) until 15 March 2015. This follows a request by the authorities of the Central African Republic (CAR) and a renewed mandate from the UN Security Council. The prolongation is intended to ensure an effective transition to the UN-led peace operation MINUSCA," the Commission said in a statement.
The European Union established its UN-approved military operation to contribute to international efforts in the republic in February.
The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA) took over peacekeeping duties in the Central African Republic on September 15. The mission is largely made up from the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA), which was previously responsible for peacekeeping in the region.
"As a bridging operation facilitating the smooth build-up of MINUSCA, it contributes to helping ensure a secure environment in the Central African Republic. The operation successfully assumed responsibility for the security of M'Poko Airport and the 3rd and 5th districts of Bangui. The operation will continue most of these activities in 3rd and 5th districts during the extended mandate, whereas the responsibility for M'Poko Airport will be handed over to MINUSCA at the end of this year," the statement reads.
Since 2013, the European Union has committed more than 360 million euros ($447 million) to crisis response efforts in the Central African Republic. The shared cost of the prolonged operation will amount to 5.7 million euro between December 16, 2014, and March 15, 2015, the Commission said.
Violence in the African republic escalated in December 2013, when clashes between Islamist militants from the Seleka rebel group and Christian activists confronting them swept Bangui.