Peace talks in the Central African Republic (CAR), where civil war has raged since 2013, have concluded without any concrete progress.
The talks, which had ended on Sunday, resumed on Monday – but no rebel groups were invited and the opposition equally boycotted them.
In late 2020, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra promised to hold a national reconciliation dialogue, following his controversial re-election.
It was then a big surprise when he announced on March 15 that talks would begin with the opposition and civil society on March 21.
But the agenda for the talks remained vague and lacked concrete aims.
Regional experts say the dialogue forum looked increasingly like an attempt to pacify the international community, which has put CAR, one of the world’s poorest nations, on a drip-feed.
There were tense moments during talks this week held at the National Assembly in Bangui, especially when a constitutional change allowing a head of state to stand for a third term was raised at initial discussions.
The proposal was later withdrawn.
During a closing ceremony, chair of the dialogue Richard Filkota announced 600 recommendations had been made.
One of the proposals was an end to the weapons embargo, imposed by the United Nations in 2013 after a coalition of armed groups overthrew Francois Bozize’s regime and plunged the country into civil war.
“The president has always said he would bring peace to this country with dialogue, all the recommendations are necessary,” a spokesman for the presidency, Albert Yaloke Mokpeme, told the AFP news agency.
But Thierry Vircoulon, a Central Africa specialist at the French Institute of International Relations, said the recommendations “will not be implemented”.
“Even if the government wanted to implement them, it doesn’t have the time or the money,” he added.