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Central African Republic

Donors pledge funds to Central African Republic at AU meeting

At a donor's summit led by the African Union, 60 nations have come together to raise money for crisis-stricken Central African Republic. An estimated one million people have been displaced in CAR's internal conflict.

Saturday's donor summit came at the end of a week-long meeing of the African Union, which was held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. The African Union's top peace and security official, Smail Chergui, highlighted the urgency of the situation in remarks to the donors.

"Clearly the collapse of law and order is a threat to the very existence of the Central African state, it has the potential to seriously impact on regional security and stability," he said. "The security situation is of utmost concern, with continued attacks against civilians that in turn heighten religious and inter-communal tensions."

The Central African Republic was to receive a reported $315 million (233.5 million euros) from international donors, according to the news agency DPA. However, the sum pledged on Saturday still fell short of the $409-million budget needed to finance the AU peacekeepers in CAR.

The European Union had pledged $61 million, the largest sum. It has already given CAR $271 million since December.

"We are conscious of the urgent need to provide political and financial support to the new transitional government in Bangui," EU Africa director Nicholas Westcott said.

Since a coup toppled the government ten months ago, violence has erupted between Christians, who comprise the majority of the population in the Central African Republic, and the country's minority Muslims. An estimated one million of the countries 4.6 million citizens have been displaced as a result of the conflict.

Around 5,500 African Union troops taking part in the MISCA peacekeeping mission have been joined by 1,600 French soldiers in the Central African Republic capital, Bangui, where they have been confronted with mob violence.

"We urgently appeal to all of you to provide MISCA with the support required," said UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. "We have a collective responsibility towards the people of the Central African Republic to respond rapidly and robustly and now to prevent further atrocities."

mz/kms (AP, AFP, dpa)