CAR rebels to honor peace deal

March 25, 2013 at 12:22 PM
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BANGUI, Central African Republic, March 25 (UPI) -- Rebel commitments to a peace deal secured in January in Gabon bodes well for the Central African Republic, an International Crisis Group director said.

CAR President Francois Bozize fled to Cameroon after the rebel coalition Seleka seized the capital city last weekend.

Seleka agreed to uphold the terms of a peace deal signed in Gabon. That deal calls for elections within three years and the continued tenure of opposition Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye.

Central Africa director for the International Crisis Group Thierry Vircoulon told Voice of America the measure signed last month in the Gabonese capital was the only formal basis for a new government in CAR.

"The fact that (Seleka leader Michel Djotodia) is saying he wants to respect the framework of the Libreville agreement is definitely something positive," Vircoulon said.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Sunday, as Seleka forces seized the capital, the Libreville agreement and respect for human rights must endure in CAR.

"We are very concerned by the worsening humanitarian situation in CAR and credible, widespread reports of human rights abuses by both national security forces and Seleka fighters," she said in a statement. "Perpetrators of such abuses must be held accountable."

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