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Central African Republic President Djotodia and prime minister resign

Central African Republic President Michel Djotodia and Prime Minister Nicolas Tiengaye have both resigned, according to the regional body hosting talks seeking to stop religious violence in the country.

The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) issued a statement on Friday saying that its leaders had "noted the resignation" of the president and prime minister of the Central African Republic.

President Michel Djotodia (pictured)

was under pressure ahead of the talks in Chad,

prompted by

largely sectarian violence between Muslim and Christian communities

in the country. Officials from the CAR, however, had disputed reports that the interim leaders would agree to step down at the two-day summit.

All 135 members of the country's parliament traveled to Chad's capital, N'Djamena, for the talks.

Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno had found sharp words for the CAR's first Muslim president, in power on an interim basis, when opening the talks. He called for "concrete and decisive action" to stop fighting that has claimed more than 1,000 lives in the past month.

Djotodia came to power last March following a coup led by the Seleka rebel group. The alliance between Djotodia and Seleka frayed once the politician was in power, though. Djotodia sought to disband the group, but was unable to check continued Seleka violence against some members of the majority-Christian population. Fighting flared late in November and early in December, amid more reports of armed Christian groups wading into the conflict, prompting the international community to respond.

France has deployed 1,600 peacekeeping troops to the country and is urging other European Union nations to send more, an issue that was scheduled for discussion on Friday.

Similarly, the 10-nation ECCAS body had set up the emergency summit in neighboring Chad to seek an end to fighting that is thought to have displaced almost 1 million people.

msh/pfd (AFP, Reuters)

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