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Central African Republic rebels demand peace talks

Rebel forces were set to enter the capital, Bangui, as early as last night or this morning if President François Bozizé refused their conditions for peace talks, a rebel spokesman said.

The three-week-old rebellion has advanced to within 45 miles of Bangui, posing the most serious threat yet to Mr Bozizé's nearly 10 years in charge of the turbulent and resource-rich former French colony.

Thomas Yayi Boni, the chairman of the African Union, was due to meet Mr Bozizé yesterday to lay the groundwork for peace talks in Gabon with Seleka, an alliance of three armed groups that accuses Mr Bozizé of failing to honour a 2007 deal under which members would lay down their guns in exchange for payment.