A Tentative Ceasefire In CAR
By IRIN | www.irinnews.org
While the ceasefire signed in Brazzaville on July 23 by the two principal armed factions in the Central African Republic (CAR) – the ex- Seleka and anti-Balaka – was widely greeted as a positive step forward, analysts are sceptical it can lead to lasting peace.
The agreement negotiated during a three-day Forum for National Reconciliation in CAR and mediated by Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou N’guesso, involved CAR religious groups, trade unions, civil society, the National Transitional Council and government officials.
The agreement stipulates that all parties will abstain from all forms of violence, including summary executions, torture, harassment, arson, looting, arbitrary detention and execution, the recruitment and use of child soldiers and civilians, and sexual violence.
Gen Mohamed Moussa Dhaffane signed the agreement on behalf of the (predominantly Muslim) ex-Seleka, and Patrice Edouard Ngaïssona on behalf of the (predominantly Christian) anti-Balaka.
“Before the world we take a firm, final and irreversible cessation of hostilities for the engagement,” said Gen Dhaffane. “No one has the right to take up arms to terrorise and terrify an entire people.”
Archbishop of Bangui Dieudonné Nzapalainga and Imam Kobiné Layama, who have been strong proponents of peace throughout the crisis, also signed, as did the president of the transitional parliament, Alexander Ferdinand Nguendet. Catherine Samba Panza, president of the CAR transitional government, took part in the forum, which brought together some 300 participants.
The agreement, however, fell short of what the mediators had anticipated. The parties failed to sign a political commitment to support the transition to the next election, the date of which has yet to be set.
There was also hope that a demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration (DDR) plan would be agreed upon, but ultimately it was not discussed at the meeting.
The talks in Brazzaville had been marred by bitter disputes, and there was fear they may scupper any deal. The ex- Seleka boycotted the meeting for the first two days, demanding that CAR be