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CAR parliament summoned for talks in Chad

All members of CAR legislature travel to Chad to discuss fate of President Michel Djotodia and future of peace talks.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2014 01:23
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CAR President Michel Djotodia (left) is under fire for failing to prevent sectarian violence in his country. [AFP]

Central African Republic's entire parliament has flown to Chad after being summoned by African leaders holding a special summit aimed at restoring peace in the restive country.

All 135 members gathered on Thursday in the Chadian capital N'Djamena, where they are expected to discuss the fate of rebel-turned-president Michel Djotodia, who is under fire for failing to prevent sectarian violence in the CAR.

African leaders meeting on the crisis suspended the talks earlier on Thursday as they awaited the arrival of the politicians, whose vote is crucial for any change in the institutions of CAR's transitional government.

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As discussions resumed, regional leaders met the politicians while Djotodia left the room to hold talks with allies from his former Seleka rebel alliance, which seized power in March last year, plunging his country into crisis.

Allami Ahmat, the secretary-general of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) earlier said talks had been dominated by discussions over the fate of CAR's interim authorities.

The African leaders' principal concern is the Bangui government's failure to stem the widespread bloodshed that has broken out between mainly Muslim former rebels and self-defence militias formed by the Christian majority.

"The solution must come from the Central Africans themselves," Ahmat said. "Neither ECCAS nor the international community have come to change the regime.

"It is up to those responsible [in CAR] to decide the fate of their country."

Power broker

Chad's President Idriss Deby, a powerful influence over events in the CAR, opened the meeting with a call for "concrete and decisive action" to halt the sectarian violence that has killed more than 1,000 people in the past month.

Deby, who chairs the 10-nation ECCAS, said the regional grouping had a duty "to show solidarity and determination to pull Central Africa back from the abyss".

France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said African leaders would be taking "decisions" on the future of Djotodia, a foe of toppled president Francois Bozize, whose overthrow in a coup last March sparked the current unrest.

"There are certainly decisions to be made, with regard to the political transition and the fact the state is paralysed," Fabius said. "We shall see what our African friends decide."

He said ot is not France's place to dictate decisions about the future of CAR.

Last month, France had deployed 1,600 troops alongside an African force in its former colony.

The European Union is also reportedly considering sending more troops to reinforce the French deployment.

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Source:
Agencies
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