NEW YORK, January 5 (RIA Novosti) – The UN Security Council has voiced concern over the continuing violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) and urged rebels to halt their military offensive.
The Security Council said the rebels "gravely undermine" the country's security and stability, "constitute a threat to the civilian population, and hinder the provision of humanitarian assistance."
Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed concern on Friday about a growing number of children being recruited by armed groups in Central African Republic.
UNICEF said it has received "credible reports that rebel groups and pro-government militias are increasingly recruiting and involving children in armed conflict."
The Central African Republic’s President Francois Bozize earlier this week reiterated his willingness to negotiate with the Seleka rebel alliance over forming a coalition government – but asked them to allow him to serve out the rest of his term.
Seleka accuse the president of rolling-back on a 2007 peace deal under which rebels who laid down their arms were to be paid and given jobs, and have voiced their doubts that he will step down at the end of his term in 2016.
Over the last month, Seleka fighters seized control of key towns in several areas as they moved towards the capital.
In response to the worsening situation in CAR, France sent additional troops to Bangui, while the United States deployed 50 servicemen to neighboring Chad.
Troops from Chad are currently deployed in the CAR under a Central African States’ multinational force joint mandate (FOMAC). Boizize thanked them in his New Year’s message “without the Chadian army we would no longer be here.”