Central African assembly summoned to Chad to decide leader's fate

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Regional leaders summoned members of Central African Republic’s transitional assembly on Thursday to a summit in Chad to decide the fate of
interim President Michel Djotodia following his failure to end inter-religious violence.

entral African leaders, led by Chad’s Idriss Deby, have run out of patience with Djotodia after months of looting and killing in the poor, landlocked nation since his Muslim Seleka
rebels seized power in March. Nearly 1 million people have been displaced by clashes between Seleka and the mostly Christian anti-balaka militia, according to the United Nations, threatening a humanitarian crisis. French and African Union peacekeepers have struggled to restore order in a country the size of France.

Ahmat Allami, the secretary-general of the 10-nation Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), said the members of the Central African Republic’s National Transitional Council (CNT) had been flown in at short notice to the Chadian capital N’Djamena to decide the leadership of their nation.

“No-one can speak on behalf of the Central Africans. That’s why we have asked the CNT and representatives of political parties to come to N’Djamena to decide on the future of the transitional institutions,” Allami said. The closed-door summit talks were suspended pending their arrival and would restart on Friday, he said.

A majority of the CNT’s 135 members arrived in N’Djamena on a Chadian government aircraft late on Thursday, together with leading members of the opposition.

Under an agreement brokered by regional powers last year, the CNT is charged with choosing a transitional leader to take Central African Republic to elections, due at the end of this
year. It formally elected Djotodia to his position as interim president in April.

A senior political source in Bangui said the CNT had been summoned to formalise Djotodia’s departure on Friday. A spokesman for Djotodia on Wednesday denied reports that Djotodia would resign at the summit or shortly afterwards on his return to Bangui. He was not immediately available to comment on the latest developments.

Opening Thursday’s summit, Chad’s Deby had appealed to the international community for help in tackling a crisis which threatened to engulf the whole region. He said Chad had already
been forced to evacuate 18,000 of its citizens. France, which deployed 1,600 troops to its former colony in early December under a U.N. mandate to help restore order, sent observers to the summit.
Asked on Thursday if Djotodia’s resignation would facilitate peace, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France 2 TV:“As far as the political transition goes and the fact the state
is paralysed, there are certainly decisions to be taken and we shall see what our Africa friends decide.”

“It is not France’s place to dictate decisions. We’re here to give support,” he added.

REUTERS

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