Great Lakes African Leaders Call for Central African Republic Ceasefire
Saturday, January 30, 2021
A Rwandan peace-keeper from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) patrols the road leading to Damara, where skirmishes took place during the week on January 23, 2021.
Florent Vergnes | AFP
African leaders from the Great Lakes region called on rebels in the conflict-riven Central African Republic to agree to a ceasefire on Friday.
Election-based violence in the country has displaced more than 200,000 in the past two months, the United Nations said.
Rebels controlling about two-thirds of the nation launched an offensive a week before contested presidential elections that returned Faustin Archange Touadera to power.
"The Heads of State and Government urge all rebel forces to observe a unilateral and immediate cease-fire," Angolan Foreign Minister Tete Antonio said at the end of a meeting of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in Luanda.
"We want a Great Lakes region without armed conflict, without death, or forced displacement of inhabitants," said the statement from African officials.
The mini-summit, which Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso and Rwandan Paul Kagame attended, also said it would support a CAR request to the UN Security Council to lift a heavy weapons embargo.
CAR said the lifting the embargo was needed in order to fight the rebels.
Landlocked CAR is one of the world's poorest nations and has seen a string of coups and wars since it gained independence from France in 1960.