UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations chief has condemned “appalling allegations” of child sexual abuse by French soldiers in Central African Republic.

The condemnation came during a meeting with worried countries, while the U.S. ambassador is welcoming a new external review into how the reports were handled. Ban Ki-moon spoke Friday with Australia, Japan, Finland and Guatemala, who did not comment afterward.

Confidential documents have shown that the U.N.’s top human rights officials did not follow up for more than half a year on allegations collected by their own staffers, while French authorities pressed for more information. France opened a formal judicial inquiry just last month.