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Central African Republic Peace Talks End Without Concrete Progress

Central African Republic
Central African Republic
Peace talks in the Central African Republic, where civil war has raged since 2013, concluded Sunday without any concrete progress.

The talks kicked off Monday — but no rebel groups were invited, and the opposition is boycotting the forum.

President Faustin Archange Touadera promised in late 2020, following his controversial reelection, to hold the so-called Republican Dialogue for reconciliation.

It was then a major surprise when he announced March 15 that talks would begin with the opposition and civil society March 21.

But the agenda for the talks remained vague and lacked concrete aims.

Regional experts say the dialogue forum looked increasingly like an attempt to pacify the international community, which has put the Central African Republic, one of the world's poorest nations, on a drip feed.

There were tense moments during talks this week held at the National Assembly in Bangui, especially when a constitutional change allowing a head of state to stand for a third term was raised at initial discussions.

The proposal was later withdrawn.

During a closing ceremony, chair of the dialogue Richard Filkota announced 600 recommendations had been made.

One of the proposals was an end to the weapons embargo, imposed by the United Nations in 2013 after a coalition of armed groups overthrew Francois Bozize's regime and plunged the country into civil war. The president has always said he would bring peace to this country with dialogue, all the recommendations are necessary," a spokesman for the presidency, Albert Yaloke Mokpeme, told AFP.

But Thierry Vircoulon, a specialist in Central Africa at the French Institute of International Relations, said the recommendations "will not be implemented.”

"Even if the government wanted to implement them, it doesn't have the time or the money," he added.