Tents for displaced people are seen on the grounds of Saint Antoine de Padoue cathedral in Bossangoa, Central African Republic, in 2013. File picture: Joe Penney

New York -

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday threw its support behind a ceasefire deal reached by warring factions in the Central African Republic and said the agreement should be fully implemented.

Christian and Muslim rebel factions signed the accord following talks in Brazzaville on Wednesday in what was hailed as a first step to end the bloodshed in one of Africa's poorest countries.

In a statement, the Council said it welcomed the deal and “called on all parties to immediately and fully implement this agreement”.

It noted “the paramount importance of preserving the unity and territorial integrity” of the country after Muslim Seleka rebels dropped their demand for a partitioning of CAR to create a Muslim statelet in the north.

“This agreement is a first step in a wider political process in the Central African Republic,” said the Council, citing the need for political dialogue, disarmament of rebels including of child soldiers, and elections.

Thousands of people have died and nearly a quarter of the population has been driven from their homes in the chaos that followed a March 2013 coup against long-serving President Francois Bozize.

France has deployed about 2 000 troops to try to stop the killings, and the African Union has sent 5 800 forces who will be folded into a new UN peace mission for CAR to begin in September.

The outgoing head of mission for medical charity MSF (Doctors Without Borders) separately told a press briefing that CAR was in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

“The needs on the ground in CAR keep mounting and the provision of aid keeps falling short,” said Sylvain Groulx.

“If ever there was time to fulfil pledges to save a country, it is now.” - Sapa-AFP