The Security Council has demanded that armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) immediately cease hostilities, following attacks on several towns in recent days, and called on all parties to seek a peaceful solution to the current crisis.
In a statement issued to the press, the 15-member body condemned "the continued attacks on several towns perpetrated by the 'Seleka' coalition of armed groups which gravely undermine the Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement and threaten the civilian population as well as the stability of the Central African Republic."
The 2008 Libreville Agreement helped bring a degree of stability to CAR, which has a history of political instability and recurring armed conflict. Earlier this week, rebels reportedly captured the northern city of Bambari as well as the area around Bria.
"The members of the Security Council reiterate their demand that the armed groups immediately cease hostilities, withdraw from captured cities and cease any further advance towards the city of Bangui," the statement added, referring to the capital of CAR.
"They call on all parties to refrain from any acts of violence against civilians and to respect human rights and emphasize that those responsible for violations should be held accountable. They call again on all parties to seek a peaceful solution by engaging constructively in an appropriate political dialogue."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday condemned the rebel attacks and urged all parties to abide by the decisions of the Summit of the Heads of State of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), held in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena on 21 December, which provide a basis for a peaceful resolution of the dispute.
Mr. Ban's Special Representative and Head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the CAR (BINUCA), Margaret Vogt, continues to engage the Government and the rebel leaders with a view to ensuring a ceasefire and initiating dialogue.
Meanwhile, the UN is temporarily relocating dependents and non-essential staff amid the latest violence.