WASHINGTON, Jan 22 (KUNA) -- US Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the
new interim president of the Central African Republic (C.A.R) - and the first
female - who is now expected to lead the severely fractured nation to
elections in just over a year.
Catherine Samba-Panza replaced Michel Djotodia, who stepped down on January
10 after international pressure to resign.
Djotodia, backed by Muslim rebels, took over the presidency after a coup in
March, an event that unfurled a string of revenge attacks by Christian
The violence has taken a brutal turn in recent months as the bloodshed
between the two sides caused some 2,000 deaths, according to the United
"The United States has been deeply engaged in the work to help pull C.A.R
back from the brink, including the pivotal visits of Ambassador Samantha Power
and Assistant Secretary Linda Thomas-Greenfield less than a month ago," said
Kerry in a statement, late on Tuesday.
"The United States, along with regional leaders of the Economic Community
of Central African States (ECCAS), the African Union, and other members of the
international community, hopes to support President Samba-Panza and call on
the people of CAR to work constructively with her, participate in the
political process, and avoid any resurgence in violence," he added.
Kerry praised the Transitional National Council "for conducting the
selection process in a deliberate, open, and transparent manner that ensured
the airing of a full range of views from C.A.R's civil society."
"As C.A.R's first woman head of state since the country's independence, and
with her special background in human rights work and mediation, she has a
unique opportunity to advance the political transition process, bring all the
parties together to end the violence, and move her country toward elections
not later than February 2015," he said. (end)
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