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US 'deeply concerned' over CAR

01 January 2013, 15:00

Washington - The United States on Monday voiced deep concern over "the deteriorating security situation in the Central African Republic" and urged rebels to halt their move on the capital, Bangui.

"We call on the rebel alliance to cease hostilities and movements towards the capital. We also call on the rebels to ensure the safety of the civilian population," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

Rebels in the Central African Republic (CAR) vowed on Monday to take the last key town before the capital and renewed their call for the president to stand down, voicing scepticism over his pledge to make concessions.

Rebel coalition Seleka, which has seized much of the country in a three-week advance to within 160km of Bangui, said its renewed call for President Francois Bozize to leave power was in response to an advance by government troops toward rebel positions.

Nuland said Washington was calling on the CAR government to ensure its security forces respect human rights, adding the United States was also concerned by the "arrests and disappearances of hundreds of individuals who are members of ethnic groups with ties to the Seleka rebel alliance".

There were also fears about regional stability and Washington "encourages all parties in the CAR to participate in the dialogue convoked by the Economic Community of Central African States".

"We urge the parties to seek a political resolution to this crisis that is comprehensive, inclusive, and consistent with the CAR constitution," Nuland added.



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