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C. Africa peace talks suspended

Friday February 1 2019


French Sangaris forces patrolling in the Muslim PK 5 district in Bangui as people go to the polls to take part second round of the presidential and legislative elections in the Central African Republic on February 14, 2016. The African Union is sponsoring the country's latest round of peace talks. PHOTO | ISSOUF SANOGO | AFP 

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Peace negotiations between armed militias and the government of Central African Republic have been suspended, mainly over the issue of amnesty, a governmental source told AFP Friday.

The latest round of peace talks sponsored by the African Union had opened in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on January 24.

"There has been a suspension of negotiations as the parties wanted to consult and agree among themselves on questions related to amnesty, which shouldn't be part of the discussions, and on the question of power-sharing," the source said.

Under pressure from Western allies, Bangui has always refused amnesty for warlords, several of whom are under UN sanctions or cited for human rights violations in UN reports.

The talks in Khartoum aim to reach an accord and put in place a follow-up committee to try to establish peace in CAR, a country ravaged by war since 2012.

On Thursday the UN Security Council agreed to a possible easing of an arms embargo on CAR to allow weapons supplies for government forces fighting the militias, who control much of the country.

A UN sanctions committee has already granted several exemptions to allow shipments of weapons to the poorly-equipped army.

Thousands of people have been killed during violence in CAR, one of Africa's poorest countries, where a quarter of the 4.5 million people have fled their homes because of the unrest.