UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on all parties to the conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) to join the ceasefire declared by the country’s president, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Saturday.
CAR President Faustin Archange Touadera declared on Friday unilateral ceasefire in order to facilitate citizens’ access to humanitarian assistance following months of conflict with rebels supporting the opposition.
“The Secretary-General calls on all the other parties to immediately respect this ceasefire and renew efforts to advance the implementation of the 2019 Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation,” Dujarric said in a statement.
The UN chief also called on all parties to the conflict “engage constructively through an inclusive political dialogue” to make tangible progress in the peace and reconciliation process in the country.
“The Secretary-General reiterates his commitment to continue mobilizing the international community to support the Government and people of the Central African Republic in their quest for peace, reconciliation, and development,” the statement read.
Violence broke out in the African nation in 2013 after then-President Francois Bozize was toppled by rebels, who also took over the CAR capital of Bangui. The city has since turned into a battlefield between militants of former Islamist movement Seleka and its Christian-majority antagonists, known as Anti-Balaka.
Next year, the UN deployed a contingent to the conflict-torn country to ensure the protection of civilians amid the bloody conflict.
In February 2019, Touadera and leaders of 14 rebel groups signed a peace agreement, envisaging calling an inclusive general election in a bid to ensure a peaceful transfer of power. However, the country has seen another outburst of violence in December 2020 during the general election, when Touadera’s opponents accused him of electoral fraud.