South Africa Says it Backs Central African Republic

South Africa gave its support to a transitional administration in the Central African Republic following a meeting between President Jacob Zuma and that nation’s Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye.

Yesterday’s talks in South Africa came after the Seleka rebel alliance, which toppled President Francois Bozize in Central African Republic on March 24, agreed to demands from regional leaders to form a transitional government and hold elections within 18 months. South Africa withdrew its troops stationed in the crisis-ridden country after 13 soldiers were killed in clashes with rebels last month.

“South Africa welcomes the efforts of the transitional government in the Central African Republic to comply with the decisions” of regional leaders, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said today in an e-mailed statement.

Zuma, who has faced criticism from opposition political parties following the soldiers’ deaths, said in an interview last week he is ready to deploy new troops to Central African Republic as part of a multinational peacekeeping force.

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