AU urges dialogue in Central African Republic

AU urges dialogue in Central African Republic
# 30 December 2012 19:56 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Visiting African Union Chairman Thomas Yayi Boni, who is also president of Benin, on Sunday appealed to rebels in Central African Republic for dialogue instead of violence to end the ongoing political crisis, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Boni made the appeal after a two-hour meeting with President Francois Bozize at the airport of Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic.

In their talks, Bozize reassured that he is ready to go to Libreville, the capital of Gabon, "without conditions and without delay," for dialogue with the civil and armed opposition, Boni told reporters.

The AU chief arrived around 1:00 p.m. local time to promote dialogue over the crisis, in which a newly formed rebel coalition Seleka threatens to enter Bangui after taking a string of northern and central towns.

Seleka launched offensives on Dec. 10, citing the government's failure to honor peace accords since signing a cease-fire on April 13, 2007. Under agreements, rebels who have laid down arms should be integrated into the national army or reitergrated into society.

In another development on Sunday, Bozize announced that he would not be a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, while promising to form a government of national union.

Bozize, who was re-elected in January 2011, is facing the most serious situation since coming to power in 2003, with Seleka rebels advancing as near as 150 km from Bangui.

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