Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fighting subsides in Central African Republic, but no date for talks

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central african republic

A government minister denies that a date has been fixed for talks.

Rebels and the Central African Republic government troops have suspended hostilities for successive days running now, after both sides agreed to resume negotiation.

But the country’s Territorial Administration Minister, Josue Binoua, on Thursday said no official date had been set for the beginning of talks to end the country’s crisis.

The minister reaction came as the government and the rebels prepare for the talks scheduled to take place in Libreville, the capital of Gabon.

Reacting to reports that the talks will begin on January 8 between the government and the Seleka coalition of rebels seeking to overthrow President Francois Bozize, Mr. Binoua said that this was just an “indicative date”, but not an official one.

“I think that between now and Thursday evening we shall have fixed the date,” he said.

In another development, Colonel Ben Agourou, who is the deputy chief of the Peace Consolidation Mission in the Central African Republic, is expected in Bangui on Thursday to discuss preparation for the talks.

Fighting has ceased recently between rebels and the government forces being backed by the Chadian army.

For more than a week, Seleka fighters have occupied the town of Sibut, which is 160 Km from the capital Bangui.

The rebel movement launched the southward push on December 10, taking 10 northern and central towns in swift advances.

On Tuesday, Mr. Bozize fired his son as the country’s defence minister for his failure to halt the rebels’ advances. The president has now taken over the role personally.

While threatening to enter Bangui if Mr. Bozize refuses to step down, the rebels accepted proposed talks amid international calls for dialogue.

Mr. Bozize has promised to form a government of national unity with his adversaries.

 

Xinhua/NAN

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