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UN urges C.Africa rebels to engage in peace talks

AFP  |  United Nations 

The today urged armed groups in the to lay down their weapons and engage in peace talks following a series of attacks on peacekeepers and civilians.

In a unanimous statement drafted by France, the council threatened sanctions against those who undermine the stability of the

The council urged the armed groups to "cease all forms of violence, destabilizing activities and restrictions on freedom of movement of people, lay down their arms, immediately and unconditionally, and engage constructively in the peace process."

The has been leading a peace process in the but there has been little progress.

One of Africa's poorest countries, the CAR descended into violence in 2013 following the ouster of the majority-Christian country's president, Francois Bozize, by a coalition of Muslim-majority rebel groups called the Seleka.

In response, Christians, who account for about 80 percent of the population, organised vigilante units dubbed "anti-balaka."

intervened militarily to help force out the Seleka before handing on to a UN peacekeeping mission.

However, the central government remains very weak, with its authority largely confined to Bangui, and violence has led to thousands of deaths.

has recently offered to CAR's government to mediate talks with the armed rebels, but that offer was rejected, according to a in Bangui.

The council is concerned about the ongoing violence including attacks on peacekeepers that have left 31 dead since the mission was launched in 2014.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 13 2018. 20:55 IST