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Central African parties finalize peace agreement in Khartoum

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AU Commissioner Smail Chergui talks to the CAR parties in a meeting held in Khartoum on 26 January 2019 (Photo African Union)
February 3, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Central African parties have reached a peace agreement that will be initialled in Khartoum before the final signing ceremony that will be held in Bangui next Wednesday.

The peace process brokered by the African Union and the Sudanese government with the support of the United Nations includes the government and 14 armed groups mainly Christian anti-Balaka and Muslim Seleka militias which are waging war against each other for more than six years.

"The parties agreed to the draft agreement presented by the African Union after considerable contacts with the President of the Central African Republic and leaders of the armed movements," said the Sudanese negotiator Atta al-Manan Bakheit in a statement to the official news agency SUNA, on Saturday.

He added that President Omer al-Bashir made great efforts to persuade the Central African President Faustin-Archange Touadéra to approve the proposed deal, given that the main demands of the armed groups were amnesty. and the sharing of power.

The security arrangements include the cessation of hostilities, disarmament and a national reconciliation process.

The draft agreement will be initialled in Khartoum on Sunday evening in presence of Presidents al-Bashir and Touadéra. While the final ceremony will take place in Bangui next Wednesday with the participation of regional leaders and African Union and United Nations officials.

The leaders of the armed groups personally participated in the discussions for the first time since the beginning of the Central African crisis in 2012. Sources say Russian support to the process was determinant due to its contacts with the rebel leaders.

The warring groups in CAR signed the Khartoum Declaration of Entente on 28 August 2018 where they accept to negotiate a peaceful settlement for the civil war.

The Central African Republic has been grappling with violence since fighting between the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militia and the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition broke out in December 2012.

(ST)

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