World / Africa

US suspends embassy in Central African Republic

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-12-28 13:38

WASHINGTON - The United States on Thursday suspended the operations of its embassy in the Central African Republic (CAR) due to security concerns, said the State Department.

US Ambassador Lawrence D. Wohlers and the rest of the diplomatic stuff left the capital city of Bangui earlier in the day along with several private US citizens, said Patrick Ventrell, acting deputy spokesperson of the State Department.

"The decision is solely due to concerns about the security of our personnel and has no relation to our continuing and long-standing diplomatic relations with the CAR," said Ventrell.

As rebels move swiftly in its southward push and are about to approach Bangui, the resource-rich but impoverished country is facing the biggest security challenge since forming a government in January 2009 after an inclusive political dialogue.

A UN mission has been working in the country to help the government overcome more than a decade of strife. UN chief Ban Ki-moon has recently condemned the rebel attacks.

In the statement, Ventrell also urged all parties in the country to participate in the dialogue sponsored by the Economic Community of Central African States in order to forge a comprehensive peace agreement.

On Wednesday, hundreds of protesters gathered around the French embassy to vent anger at the lack of support by the former colonial power in fighting the advancing "SELEKA" rebel coalition.

The protest came one day after the government lost the central town of Kaga Bandoro to northern rebels, the latest in a series taken by Seleka fighters in the past weeks.

The loss of Kaga Bandoro exposed Bangui closer to rebels, who had previously captured such towns as Ndele and Bria, without much resistance from ill-equipped government forces.

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