In Washington, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland expressed concern ‘‘about the deteriorating security situation in the Central African Republic’’ and called on the rebel alliance ‘‘to cease hostilities and movements towards the capital.’’
At the same time, she urged the government to respect human rights, saying the U.S. is ‘‘concerned by allegations of arrests and disappearances of hundreds of individuals who are members of ethnic groups with ties to the rebel alliance.’’
She urged both sides to work with the Central African economic community ‘‘to seek a political resolution to this crisis.’’
China announced Monday that it is evacuating its 300 citizens from CAR, although its embassy staff will stay.
French diplomats have remained in Bangui, despite a violent demonstration outside its embassy last week. Dozens of protesters, angry at France’s lack of help against rebel forces, threw rocks at the French Embassy in Bangui and stole a French flag.
CAR, a landlocked nation of 4.4 million people, is one of the poorest countries in the world. The current president himself came to power nearly a decade ago in the wake of a rebellion in this resource-rich yet deeply poor country. Despite Central African Republic’s wealth of gold, diamonds, timber and uranium, the government remains perpetually cash-strapped.
Associated Press writer Kirubel Tadesse contributed to this report from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.