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Rebels leading an insurgency in Central African Republic say are now prepared to begin peace talks with the government.

Seleka Coalition fighters had accused President Francois Bozize of reneging on an earlier peace deal. But they now say they’ll halt their current offensive.

Rebels are within striking distance of the capital Bangui after capturing several towns in central and eastern parts in recent weeks.

Bozize, who’s been president for 10 years, has offered to stand down in 2016, when his current term ends.

Neighbours Gabon, the Republic of Congo and Cameroon have sent more than 300 soldiers to bolster a 500-strong regional peacekeeping force.

Leaders have been trying to organise peace talks in Gabon on January 10, which now look likely to go ahead.

The former French colony, is one of the world’s poorest nations despite its rich deposits of uranium, gold and diamonds.

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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