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CAR interim president to step down

Paul-Marin Ngoupana, John Irish, Ange Aboa

Michel Djotodia will step down at a summit of regional leaders amid frustration at his failure to quell religious violence in the country.

Central African Republic interim president and Seleka rebel leader Michel Djotodia. (AFP)

"It's finished for him now," said a source close to Central African Republic (CAR) interim president Michel Djotodia, who said he was due to step aside at a summit on Thursday in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena.

A senior French diplomatic source and political sources in the CAR capital of Bangui said central African leaders led by Chad's Idriss Deby had run out of patience with Djotodia, who seized power in March at the head of the Seleka rebels.

French and African troops deployed in the country have struggled to stop tit-for-tat violence between Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian militias. More than 1 000 people died in clashes in December.

Bloodshed
Djotodia, installed as interim president under a deal with regional African states, has been powerless to halt the bloodshed, which has displaced around a million people and stirred fears of a repeat of Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

"A political stabilisation of the country is imperative," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper on Wednesday.

He declined to answer when asked if Djotodia could stay on as president, saying: "It is envisaged that the countries of the region will meet on Thursday to take decisions."

Those present at the meeting will discuss the various options for continuing the transition. The presidents of Republic of Congo and Gabon, who are mediating in the crisis, will then convene a meeting in Bangui on January 11 to discuss the transition, said diplomatic sources. – Reuters

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