Central African Republic ex-leaders 'ready to join' peace process

Central African Republic ex-presidents Francois Bozize (R) and Michel Djotodia (L), seen here in 2013, have backed a 2014 deal on the "cessation of hostilities", sources say (AFP Photo/Steve Jordan) (AFP/File)

Nairobi (AFP) - Two ex-presidents of Central African Republic accused of underminding the democratic transition in the war-torn country are ready to join the reconciliation process, sources close to negotiations said Wednesday.

CAR is struggling to recover from the coup that ousted president Francois Bozize in March 2013 and triggered a wave of deadly sectarian violence between the country's Christian and Muslim populations.

Bozize and his successor Michel Djotodia -- who stepped down in January 2014 under strong international pressure over his failure to rein in rogue ex-rebels -- have initialled a deal expressing their support for a 2014 agreement on the "cessation of hostilities", the sources said.

Top representatives of the mainly Christian anti-balaka militia and the ex-Seleka fighters close to Djotodia have been meeting in the Kenyan capital since December, without CAR government involvement.

In January the two sides agreed a new ceasefire deal in Nairobi, which was rejected by the interim government in Bangui.

The deal is expected to be formally signed at a ceremony attended by Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who is mediating in the crisis. Bozize and Djotodia are expected to urge their followers to support the peace efforts.