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Amid spasm of violence, US diplomat in Central African Republic

Associated Press

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BANGUI, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: The American ambassador to the United Nations delivered a stern message on Thursday to the leaders of the strife-torn Central African Republic to stop the cycle of violence.

On her first official overseas trip, Samantha Power finds herself in an uncomfortable position: Before becoming a diplomat, she made her name as a vocal critic of Washington’s response to past atrocities. Now, she is trying to spotlight the horror here, at the same time that she represents a government which has declined to join France in sending troops to quell the conflict.

Instead, the United States will spend $100 million to equip and train the African troops sent in to stabilize the country.

The ambassador met with President Michel Djotodia, who swept to power with his mainly Muslim Seleka rebels in March and is now battling Christian militias around the country, some made up of soldiers from the former regime. All sides are accused of attacking civilians, at least 500 of which died in violence in Bangui itself over the past week.

The president has agreed to organize new elections, as early as the end of next year according to Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangay, and then he is expected to step down — a promise Power said the United States would hold him to.


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