Central African Republic Rebels Halt Advance, Agree to Peace Talks

Gabon Talks Will Avoid AU Invasion to Prop Up Regime

by Jason Ditz, January 02, 2013

Rebel fighters in the Central African Republic halted their march on the capital city of Bangui this evening, announcing that they have agreed to start peace talks aimed at a negotiated settlement with the Bozize regime.

The talks are going to take place in Gabon, and are aimed at some sort of political solution to end the civil war, with rebels saying it would likely be a transition without President Bozize, who they accuse of reneging on their past peace deal.

President Bozize, for his part, has announced the firing of Army Chief Gen. Guillaume Lapo as well as his Defense Minister, his own son Francis Bozize. He is reportedly angry at the army for failing to defeat the rebels and ensure his continued grip on power.

Bozize took power in a 2003 coup and negotiated a settlement with various rebel groups opposed to the coup. It is many of the same groups that make up the current rebels, and while they appear to have been able to oust Bozize through force of arms, the African Union had threatened an invasion to ensure the survival of the existing regime.

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