Russia and Sudan hosted talks to broker peace between some of the Central African Republic’s rivals, Seleka and Anti-Balaka militia groups.
CAR officials said on Wednesday, August 29 showed documents that the militia groups had inked a preliminary agreement to converge towards realizing peace.
The meetings in the Sudanese capital Khartoum began on Monday, August 27 and unfolded in parallel to with another being held in Bouar, western CAR mediated between the armed groups and the government led by the African Union.
In their declaration of understanding signed on Tuesday, August 28, rival ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka armed groups agreed to chart a common framework in an effort to realize a lasting peace in Central African Republic.
In July, Russia attempted to broker a meeting in Sudan to mediate between the government and the militias, but had to halt the initiative to give the African Union a chance to carry on with the process.
In spite of reserves of diamonds, gold, uranium, copper and iron, CAR remains one of the poorest countries in the world.
The majority-Christian country plunged into violence following the 2013 overthrowing of President Francois Bozize in 2013 by the Seleka, a faction of mainly Muslim rebel groups.
Seleka was officially disbanded within months, but many fighters refused to disarm, becoming known as ex-Seleka.
Many others joined the mainly Christian anti-Balaka militia to fight the Seleka, leading to a spiral of violence between groups along both religious and ethnic lines.
CAR was de facto partitioned; anti-Balaka in the southwest and ex-Seleka in the northeast by the end of 2014,
Violence by ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka militias has seen thousands killed and nearly 700,000 displaced. About 570,000 have fled the country and 2.5 million left in need humanitarian aid, according to the United Nations.
Russia has twice tried to mediate among the two militia groups in the past two months, but without success.
Seven peace agreements have been signed in the CAR over the past six years but none has had a lasting effect.