CAR rebels ready for peace talks Jan. 10

Jan. 4, 2013 at 9:32 AM

BANGUI, Central African Republic, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- A rebel coalition in the Central African Republic is ready to join peace talks with the central government in nearby Gabon, a government spokesman said.

The Seleka rebel coalition started an anti-government campaign last month, accusing the government of CAR President Francois Bozize of reneging on a 2008 peace deal. The rebel coalition halted its push toward Bangui and is ready to take part in peace talks next Thursday.

"The Seleka rebel coalition, which has ceased hostilities and any further advances toward Bangui, is now ready to join peace talks in Gabon," CAR Foreign Ministry spokesman Samuel Mve told Bloomberg News.

Bozize's government has called for direct support from the United States and France, the former colonial power. Gabon, which hosts next week's peace talks, sent around 100 troops to CAR to support an Economic Community of Central African States peace mission. France has around 400 troops in the country.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the chairwoman of the African Union Commission, told Bloomberg News that a "cycle of violence" in CAR was a threat to regional security.

The United States withdrew its diplomatic staff from the CAR capital in late December.

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