Central African Republic reaches peace deal with armed groups: UN

The agreement reached in Sudan is seen as a step towards ending years of fighting that has killed thousands.

    The talks in Khartoum aimed to reach an accord and put in place a follow-up committee to try to establish peace in CAR [File: Reuters]
    The talks in Khartoum aimed to reach an accord and put in place a follow-up committee to try to establish peace in CAR [File: Reuters]

    The Central African Republic (CAR) and 14 armed groups have reached a peace deal during talks in Sudan's capital on Saturday, the CAR government and the United Nations have said.

    The renewed peace negotiations between the armed militias and the CAR government have been going on in Khartoum since January 24.

    The government also confirmed the agreement on Twitter, saying: "A peace agreement has been reached ... This agreement should be initialled tomorrow (Sunday) and its signature will take place in Bangui in a few days."

    The talks were deadlocked over disagreements on amnesty issues earlier in the week, according to the AFP news agency.

    Under pressure from Western allies, the Bangui government has always refused amnesty for warlords, several of whom are under UN sanctions or cited for human rights violations in UN reports.

    The talks in Khartoum aimed to reach an accord and put in place a follow-up committee to try to establish peace in CAR, a country ravaged by war since 2012.

    Arms embargo

    On Thursday, the UN Security Council agreed to a possible easing of an arms embargo on CAR to allow weapons supplies for government forces fighting the militias, who control much of the country.

    A UN sanctions committee has already granted several exemptions to allow shipments of weapons to the poorly equipped army.

    The UN arms embargo was imposed in 2013 when the country descended into bloodletting after President Francois Bozize, a Christian, was overthrown by mainly Muslim Seleka rebels.

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    Former colonial ruler France intervened militarily under a UN mandate, pushing the Seleka from power, and a UN peacekeeping mission, known as MINUSCA, was established to help restore stability.

    With most regions outside the capital still overrun by armed militias, the government in Bangui has repeatedly called for the restrictions to be lifted to allow arms deliveries to shore up its security forces.

    Thousands of people have been killed during violence in CAR, one of Africa's poorest countries, where a quarter of the 4.5 million people have fled their homes because of the unrest.

    SOURCE: News agencies