By James Tasamba
KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) - African leaders in the Great Lakes region called on the Central African Republic (CAR) Thursday to "urgently" declare a cease-fire to pave the way for peace in the country.
Meeting under the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in the Angolan capital Luanda, the meeting was convened by Angolan President Joao Lourenco as the current head of the regional grouping of 11 countries with a goal to discuss the security and political situation in CAR.
Heads of state and government “consider the cease-fire declaration an indispensable factor for the success of the whole process and the creation of a climate conducive to peace and national reconciliation,” said a communique issued after the meeting.
The meeting also urged the parties to the conflict to stick to the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation signed on Feb. 6 2019 in the capital Bangui, CAR following 10 days of peace talks in Khartoum, Sudan under the auspices of the African Union.
The peace accord, brokered with the backing of the United Nations, aimed “to promote dialogue between the government and armed groups, with a view to reaching a comprehensive consensual agreement to put a definitive end to the crisis.”
The leaders urged the need for continuous consultations with leaders of armed groups for a complete renunciation of violence.
Present were leaders from Congo, CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera and the President of African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.
The presidents of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Sudan and Rwanda were represented at the meeting.
In January, Luanda hosted the first mini-summit which discussed the political and security situation of the Central African Republic and a second meeting was also held in April in the same place.
The central African nation has been devastated by violence since 2013, when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted then-President Francois Bozize, prompting reprisals from mostly Christian militias.
Last year’s presidential election was the first following the signing of a peace agreement in February 2019 between the government and 14 armed groups.
However, the December election, which saw Touadera reelected, was followed by violence.
Rwanda last December under an existing agreement with CAR deployed force protection troops to the CAR in response to the targeting of its peacekeepers serving under the UN mission MINUSCA.