Peaceful talks on ending chronic violence in the Central African Republic began in Khartoum on Thursday, attended by government representatives and 14 armed groups, the UN peacekeeping mission in the CAR has said.
The summit, organized by the African Union after 18 months of exploratory work, will be the eighth bid for nearly six years to achieve peace.
Since 2013, thousands have been killed and a quarter of the 4.5 million people have fled their homes.
The commanders will conduct a direct dialogue with the senior envoys of the Government of Bangui, including the ministers and head of the headquarters of President Faustin-Arbanc Tuadera.
Negotiations aimed at reaching an agreement and setting up a follow-up commission could last up to three weeks, according to the authorities of Sudan.
Touadera controls only a small part of the state, despite the support of more than 13,000 soldiers and police in the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSCA.
The rest are held by militias who usually represent themselves as advocates of a community or religious group but often struggle for mineral treasures – a treasure that includes gold, uranium and diamonds – or livestock.
The conflict began in 2013, when a major Muslim insurgency called Seleucas overthrew President Francois God, a Christian movement that triggered the rise of a predominantly Christian militia called the anti-Balkan.
Fearing of a Rwandan-style genocide, former colonial ruler France intervened under a UN mandate.
Seleucus was forced by power, and Tuaregera was elected president in February 2016.
Over the years, seven peace agreements have been signed between the government and the armed groups, but no one has continued.
The last attempt in 2017 was forged with the help of the Catholic Church, but the struggle resumed within one day, leaving 100 dead.
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