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Two CAR armed groups pull out of Khartoum peace process

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Fighters from the Christian anti-balaka militia stand at their headquarters in the northern Bangui suburb of Boeing, an area near the Mpoko International Airport of Bangui on Feb 22, 2014 (Photo Reuters)
October 22, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Two armed groups pulled out of the Khartoum brokered talks for peace in the Central African Republic (CAR) after accusing the government of hijacking the process.

Two of the five signatory groups of Khartoum Declaration: the National Defence and Security Council (CNDS) of Abdoulaye Hissène and the Unity for Peace in Central Africa (UPC) led by Ali Darassa distanced themselves from the agreement in two separate statements issued on 19 October.

The CNDS and UPC which had been part of the Seleka coalition of Muslim groups said the government hijacked the deal to deploy its forces throughout the troubled country.

"(We deplore) the low-level political instrumentalization of the Khartoum Declaration of Entente of August 28th which has been diverted to the sole benefit of the deployment of the FACA (Central African Armed Forces), a revanchist army ready to return to a fratricidal armed struggle," said the UPC.

The CNDS in its statement used similar terms to explain why they pulled out of the declaration.

The Khartoum declaration involved five groups including the Popular Front for the Renaissance of the Central African Republic (FPRC) the main faction of the Seleka led by Nouredine Adam, the anti Balaka , alliance of Christian militias led by Maxime Mokom, Patriotic Movement for the Central African Republic (MPC) a former member of the Seleka of the Fulani ethnic group chaired by Mahamat Al-Katim in addition to the two factions that declared their withdrawal of the accord.

The FPRC and the Anti Balaka are the main armed groups in the CAR. Both are still committed to the Khartoum process.

Last Saturday, Sudanese Foreign Minister El-Dirdeiry Ahmed said they are conducting intensive consultations and meetings to convince the remaining group to join the process, which starts in Khartoum in mid-November.

"The main armed groups have committed themselves to negotiate with the Central African government to achieve peace and security," he further said.

The CNDS and UPC said they support any effort to achieve a genuine and lasting peace and national reconciliation in the Central African Republic.

Also, they said they consider "the efforts of the African initiative for peace with the support of the European Union as the only solution for the CAR".

Sudan says the Khartoum process has been recently integrated into the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in CAR during a meeting held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. However, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union did not yet endorse it formally.

(ST)

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