CAR assembly flies to Chad summit to discuss Djotodia

French soldiers at makeshift camp for displaced people, at Mpoko Airport, in Bangui, Central African Republic, 9 Jan 2014 Image copyright AP
Image caption French troops are patrolling a refugee camp in the CAR capital Bangui

The entire transitional assembly of the Central African Republic (CAR) has flown to Chad to attend a summit aimed at restoring peace in the country.

The 135 members have the power to sack interim President Michel Djotodia, also in Chad, who is under pressure to quit.

His seizure of power last year has led to 20% of the population fleeing their homes amid fighting between Christian and Muslim militias.

However, his spokesman has insisted he will not resign.

Leaders from the 10-nation Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) suspended their talks on Thursday as they awaited the arrival of the lawmakers in the Chadian capital N'Djamena.

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Media captionThe BBC's Paul Wood reports on the growing humanitarian crisis in CAR

ECCAS Secretary-General Ahmat Allami said members of the National Transitional Council (CNT) had been flown in at short notice to decide the leadership of their nation.

"No-one can speak on behalf of the Central Africans," he said.

"That's why we have asked the CNT and representatives of political parties to come to N'Djamena to decide on the future of the transitional institutions."

Mr Allami said earlier that "regime change" was not the goal of the meeting.

The lawmakers met regional leaders while Mr Djotodia held separate talks with allies from his former Seleka rebel alliance, AFP news agency reported.

Under a deal brokered by regional powers last year, the CNT is charged with choosing a transitional leader to take CAR to elections due at the end of 2014. It formally elected Mr Djotodia to his position as interim president last April.

Chadian President Idriss Deby opened the meeting with a call for "concrete and decisive action" to stop the violence that has killed more than 1,000 people in the past month.

The talks are expected to continue on Friday, Chadian sources said.

Seleka rebels in CAR staged a coup last March, installing Mr Djotodia as the country's first Muslim leader.

The then-President Francois Bozize, from CAR's majority Christian population, was forced into exile and the country has since descended into chaos.

More than a million of the CAR's 4.6 million people have fled their homes.

The UN has warned of an impending humanitarian disaster.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Chad's President Idriss Deby, right, called for decisive action to end the violence

Although Mr Djotodia has officially disbanded the Seleka rebels, he has proved unable to keep them in check.

Their actions have prompted Christians to form vigilante groups, sparking a deadly cycle of revenge attacks.

The AU has some 4,000 peacekeepers in the country and France has deployed 1,600 troops to try to end the violence.

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