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Peace Deal Hailed In Central Africa

Michel Am-Nondokro Djotodia (L), leader of Central African Republic's (CAR) Seleka rebel alliance, stands beside CAR's President Francois Bozize (R) during peace talks.

The agreement ends the immediate threat of violence and promises the return to the rule of law.

The President of the Central African Republic and the coalition of rebels who sought to overthrow him have reached agreement on forming a unity government.

Peace Deal Hailed In Central Africa
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The deal, announced after several days of negotiations in Gabon led by the Economic Community of Central African States, or CEEAC as it is known by its French initials, ends more than a month of fighting that displaced thousands. The United States congratulates the parties and the CEEAC for its swift efforts to diffuse the crisis within the framework of the nation’s constitution.

The rebels, an alliance of four separate armed groups, swept through the north of the country and captured a dozen towns, calling for President Francois Bozize’s removal for failing to address a broad list of grievances. The CAR’s neighbors organized peace talks as the alliance began moving on the capital, Bangui.

Under the peace deal, the president will dissolve his government so that a national unity government can be formed, led by a prime minister chosen by the political opposition. President Bozize will remain in office until the end of his term in 2016, but neither he nor the prime minister would be eligible to take part in the next presidential election. New legislative elections will be organized in a year.

The agreement ends the immediate threat of violence and promises the return to the rule of law. Now it is important that all parties and fighters abide by it. We call on everyone to work cooperatively to finalize the details of the new political structure, and urge the Seleka alliance to withdraw all forces from the territories it seized. All political prisoners and prisoners of war must be released, and humanitarian access must be allowed to those affected by the fighting over the last month.

The United States stands ready to work with the international community to support the Central Africa Republic to implement the agreement peacefully, reestablish security and promote a stable and prosperous CAR.