Ref: Central African Republic leader Francois Bozize has said he is ready to form a national unity government with rebels, as they continue their advance towards the capital Bangui.
Mr Bozize`s remarks came after a meeting with African Union chairman Thomas Boni Yayi.He said he would hold peace talks with rebels in Gabon, and would step down when his term ended in 2016.
The rebels told the BBC they would consider the president`s offer.
They had pledged to depose Mr Bozize unless he negotiated with them, but have also said that it is not their aim to enter government themselves.
Government troops have reportedly pulled back to Damara, 75km from the capital, in the face of a rebel advance, but rebel spokesman Eric Massi told the BBC they would not march on Bangui itself before seeing the outcome of the talks.
BBC Africa editor Mary Harper says they are insisting that they do not want to take over, but rather are seeking a peaceful democratic transition.
But such a transition is unlikely, and meanwhile President Bozize is growing weaker both politically and militarily by the minute, our editor adds.
“I am ready to form a government of national unity with Seleka to run the country together, because I am a democrat,” Mr Bozize said at a news conference after his meeting with Mr Boni Yayi, quoted by Reuters.
He said he was ready to attend the Gabon talks “without condition and without delay”.