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UN Council Hails C. Africa Peace Deal As Important Step

By AFP
Central African Republic president Faustin-Archange Touadera signs a peace agreement reached in Khartoum earlier this month with armed groups controlling most of the country's territory.  By ASHRAF SHAZLY (AFP/File)
Central African Republic president Faustin-Archange Touadera signs a peace agreement reached in Khartoum earlier this month with armed groups controlling most of the country's territory. By ASHRAF SHAZLY (AFP/File)

A deal agreed between the Central African Republic's government and armed groups is an important step toward lasting peace and restoring state authority across the country, the United Nations Security Council said Wednesday.

The accord was reached in Sudan earlier this month between the Bangui government and 14 armed groups controlling most of the territory in the strife-scarred country.

In a unanimous statement, the council welcomed the deal, urged all sides to implement it "in good faith and without delay" and called on neighboring countries, regional organizations and international partners to support it.

Council members consider "the signing of this peace agreement as an important step toward lasting peace and stability in the CAR and the full restoration of state authority throughout the country."

The agreement calls for a series of confidence-building measures, such as establishing joint patrols and the creation of a truth and justice commission within 90 days.

The pact is the eighth since 2012 in the mineral-rich country.

The Central African Republic (CAR) has been struggling to recover from the bloodletting that erupted when President Francois Bozize, a Christian, was overthrown in 2013 by mainly Muslim Seleka rebels.

Former colonial ruler France intervened militarily under a UN mandate, pushing the Seleka from power, and a 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping mission, known as MINUSCA, was established to help restore stability.

Despite elections in 2016, the country is still engulfed in regular clashes. The armed groups control about 80 percent of the CAR.

France has bristled at Russia's role in CAR, where it has sent military trainers for the armed forces and a national security advisor to support President Faustin Archange Touadera.

The conflict has left thousands dead and forced a quarter of the population of 4.5 million from their homes.

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