Central African Republic ex-presidents sign peace deal

Former presidents of the Central African Republic Michel Djotodia (R) and François Bozize shake hands, on April 14, 2015 in Nairobi, after signing a ceasefire deal after months of negotiations mediated by Kenya (AFP Photo/Simon Maina)

Nairobi (AFP) - Two Central African Republic ex-presidents, Francois Bozize and Michel Djotodia, inked a deal Tuesday committing them to the reconciliation process in their war-torn nation.

Exact details of the deal, which is the latest in a series of negotiation efforts mediated by Kenya, were not made public.

Bozize told AFP the text signed Tuesday contained no commitment by either former leader not to run again in the next presidential election. Negotiations on this issue "were unsuccessful," he said.

Both men have been accused of undermining peace efforts, but in a speech after the signing of the deal Bozize said he was committed to "real peace through reconciliation".

Djotodia said it was an "historic turning point... to find a solution to the Central African crisis."

It follows a ceasefire deal signed on April 8 between representatives from the mainly Christian "anti-balaka" militia and Djotodia's predominantly Muslim ex-Seleka rebel movement.

The Central African Republic is struggling to recover from a 2013 coup that ousted Bozize and plunged the poor, landlocked country into a spiral of violence pitting the country's Christian and Muslim populations against each other.

The Seleka rebels seized power in March 2013 and put Djotodia in power, making him the first Muslim president of the predominantly Christian country.

Djotodia stepped down in January 2014 under strong international pressure over his failure to rein in rogue rebels, who rampaged through villages, murdering, raping and stealing, despite him ordering them to disband.

In response, numerous communities formed "anti-balaka" -- or anti-machete -- vigilante forces, who hunted down Muslims in revenge attacks.

The deal was signed Tuesday at a ceremony in Nairobi attended by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, but without the key presence of representatives from the transitional government in Bangui.

"The African of today understands that instability in your neighbour's country is instability in your country," Kenyatta said.

Many critics have viewed the Nairobi talks with scepticism and questioned the ability of the groups to enforce any deal on the ground.