After weeks of clashes the government of the Central African Republic and rebels have agreed to hold talks.
The move follows an initiative by regional African leaders to try to stabilise the country. Rapid gains by insurgents had raised fears that CAR’s capital Bangui might fall within days.
Officials from regional blocs meeting in neighbouring Gabon have at the same time agreed to send in more troops.
Seleka rebels who have threatened to depose CAR’s President Francois Bozize have have already taken several towns including the diamond rich area near Bria and the town of Bambari.
The current rebellion poses the biggest threat yet to Bozize’s 10 years in power. The rebels accuse the president of failing to honour a 2007 peace deal under which fighters who laid down their arms were meant to be paid.