France underestimated the level of hatred between Christian and Muslim communities in the conflict-riven Central African Republic, its ambassador to the UN has said.
Gerard Araud told a UN meeting on Wednesday that African Union and French forces were confronting a "nearly impossible" situation.
They were between "two communities who want to kill each other", he said.
Mr Araud said that calls to end the fighting were being ignored.
France, the former colonial power, has deployed 1,600 troops to try to restore peace, along with an African Union force of some 5,000.