UNITED NATIONS Jan 4 The U.N. Security Council
voiced alarm on Friday at an advance by rebels in Central
African Republic that has brought them within striking distance
of the mineral-rich nation's capital, and renewed its call for a
negotiated solution to the crisis.
Central African Republic President Francois Bozize will
refuse to leave power during talks with the Seleka rebel
alliance, his spokesman said on Thursday, rejecting the
insurgents' main demand and raising the prospect of a return to
The rebel alliance, which has accused Bozize of reneging on
a past peace deal, closed in on the capital Bangui this week
before bowing to international pressure to start negotiations.
"The members of the Security Council expressed their concern
regarding the 'Seleka' coalition's advance toward Bangui since
... December 27," the council said in a statement.
The 15-nation body also urged "an end to Seleka's military
offensive, and said the current situation in CAR cannot be
"They called again on all parties to seek a peaceful
solution by engaging constructively, without preconditions, and
in good faith in the negotiations to be held in Libreville
beginning January 8 under the auspices of the Economic Community
of the Central African States (ECCAS)," the council said.
The advance by Seleka, an alliance of five armed groups, was
the latest in a series of revolts in a country at the heart of
one of Africa's most turbulent regions. The country remains
plagued by poverty and underdevelopment despite its reserves of
diamonds, gold and other minerals.
The council also repeated its previous demands that Seleka
"cease all hostilities, withdraw from seized cities, and cease
attempts to advance further."
It voiced concern about "reports of the targeting of ethnic
minorities, arrests, detentions, looting, as well as recruitment
and use of children in armed conflict in CAR."
The Security Council urged "all parties to refrain from any
acts of violence against civilians and to respect human rights,
and emphasized that those responsible for such violations should
be held accountable," according to the statement.