Peace talks for rebels, C African Republic delayed

Associated Press
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Several hundred protesting merchants, one holding a placard using the french acronym of the country's name, hold a demonstration calling for peace as negotiators prepare for talks with rebels from the north, in downtown Bangui, Central African Republic Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. The U.N. Security Council urged rebels in the Central African Republic on Friday to halt their military offensive, withdraw from cities they have seized, and take part in negotiations to find a political solution to the impoverished country's longstanding problems. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo (AP) — The president of Republic of Congo says peace talks between rebels and the government of Central African Republic are being delayed for three days.

President Denis Sassou-Nguesso made the announcement late Monday after meeting with the embattled president of Central African Republic, Francois Bozize.

The talks due in Gabon on Tuesday will now begin Friday. The announcement of the delay came as a plane full of delegates failed to leave the Central African Republic capital of Bangui.

A coalition of rebel groups began seizing towns across the north one month ago, posing the greatest threat to Bozize's government since he himself seized power in 2003.

The rebels agreed to halt their advance pending the peace talks, and some fear violence could re-erupt if the talks are not successful.