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January 06, 2013

South Africa Deploys Troops to Central African Republic

by VOA News

The South African government has authorized the deployment of some 400 troops to the Central African Republic.

A statement issued by the office of President Jacob Zuma Sunday says the deployment is part of its international obligation to the country.

It says the soldiers will assist with the capacity building of the CAR Defense Force, as well as, the planning and implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and re-integration processes.

The statement says the deployment, scheduled through March 31, is one of several efforts that South Africa is making to bring peace and stability to the region.

The South African troops join a contingent of Chadian troops already in the country.

CAR rebels are expected to begin peace talks with government officials and opposition leaders Tuesday in Libreville, Gabon.

On Friday the U.N. Security Council called on the rebels advancing on the Central African Republic's capital to stop their campaign and join negotiations to find a political solution to the impoverished country's problems.

The rebel coalition known as Seleka unites fighters from as many as four insurgent groups from the north that say the government went back on 2007 and 2008 peace accords that were supposed to pay rebels to disarm or integrate them into the national army.

Seleka says President Francois Bozize must step down.

Bozize says he is willing to form a coalition government but will finish out his second elected term, which ends in 2016.