The head of the African Union arrived in the Central African Republic today to lead crisis talks between the president and rebel fighters.
Rebels have steadily continued their advance over the last week and hold 10 cities across the country, including a number of key regional hubs.
But they have promised to halt their attacks as they await the outcome of talks with President Francois Bozize, who they are urging to implement the terms of a 2007 truce.
Mr Bozize, who came to power in a 2003 coup but has since been elected twice, called on the his neighbours and former colonial power France to come to his aid.
France brought its total military strength in the country to 600 today but insisted troops were only there to secure the security of French citizens.
A 2,000-strong force sent from Chad to bolster the CAR army has failed to stem the rebel advances.
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