Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:38AM
People walk past a poster of Central Africa Republic President Francois Bozize in Bangui on December 28, 2012.

People walk past a poster of Central Africa Republic President Francois Bozize in Bangui on December 28, 2012.

The government of the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Seleka rebels have agreed to hold unconditional talks in order to end the conflict in the country. Guy-Pierre Garcia, the deputy head of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), announced on Friday that the talks would be held in the Gabonese capital Libreville. However, no date was set for the talks. Government forces have been battling to recapture the rebel-held city of Bambari, which was seized on Sunday by the Seleka coalition. Seleka, which means alliance in the Sango language, regroups three rebel movements. It has so far taken four regional capitals, including the garrison town Birao, which is also a key diamond mining hub. The alliance expects the government to comply with peace pacts signed in 2007 and 2001. The latest violence broke out as the rebels’ advance toward Bangui compelled the Central African Republic's neighbors to finally begin moving to deal with the crisis. The Economic Community of Central African States gave the go-ahead for the deployment of more troops from the Central African Multinational Force (FOMAC) in the Central African Republic. Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat said, “Five hundred and sixty men are already on the ground, and we agreed to a request by the ECCAS general secretariat to increase their numbers and allow them to accomplish their mission as a rapid deployment force.” However, France and the United States have ignored CAR President Francois Bozize's appeals for help. KA/HGL
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