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Central African Republic: Peace Accord Signed with Rebels

(Jan. 16, 2013) On January 11, 2013, the President of the Central African Republic, Francois Bozize, signed a peace accord with the Seleka rebel alliance. The signing took place in Libreville, in the nearby country of Gabon, after three days of discussions, and was witnessed by representatives of the Economic Community of Central African States, a regional organization. (Central African Republic Peace Accord Signed, BBC NEWS (Jan. 11, 2013); Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), African Union website (last visited Jan. 14, 2013).)

The rebel forces in the Central African Republic had taken control of northern and eastern parts of the country in December 2012, reaching as close as 60 miles from the capital, Bangui. Following the signing of the peace accord, Bozize invited all parties to return to the capital to implement the plan outlined in the ceasefire deal. Eric Massi, a spokesman for the rebels, said that the accord was “a good deal to bring peace,” but added that “the ceasefire is contingent on several of our demands being met and we will judge Mr. Bozize’s sincerity in the coming days.” (Central African Republic Peace Accord Signed, supra.)

The terms of the agreement include the dissolution of the present National Assembly, the appointment of a prime minister from the opposition, and legislative elections in one year. In addition, the agreement specifies that Bozize will remain in office until 2016 and that for a period of 12 months, which is renewable, an inclusive “national unity” government will be in power. (Id.)

The tasks of the new government of national unity will be to:

  • restore peace and security;
  • organize new legislative elections;
  • reorganize the security forces;
  • reorganize the Ministry of Territorial Administration and expand government authority;
  • reform the judicial system;
  • demobilize the rebel forces with assistance from the international community; and
  • reform the economic and social sectors. (Id.)

Previously the rebels had sought the President’s resignation, the release of political prisoners, and the departure of troops from South Africa and Angola that had come to the country to assist the government. They now will accept the formation of the unity government in place of a presidential resignation and will retreat from their military positions when that and the other two conditions are met. (Id.; Eleni Stamatoukou, EU Welcomes Truce in Central African Republic, NEW EUROPE (Jan. 14, 2013).)