Bangui - Central Africa's leading opposition figure Martin Ziguele voiced scepticism on Monday about promises from the president to hold talks to end the country's mounting crisis, as rebels renewed their threat to enter the capital Bangui.
After meeting with President Francois Bozize on Sunday, African Union chief Thomas Boni Yayi said Bozize was ready to take part in talks to end the crisis, form a national unity government, and that he would not run for president in 2016.
The reported offer came as armed rebels from an opposition coalition, which suspects the president of wanting to modify the constitution to enable a third term in office, moved within striking distance of the capital Bangui.
The rebels meanwhile renewed their threat to enter the capital, accusing the Bozize government of abuses against the population and those close to the rebels.
"We call on the African peacekeeping forces to intervene immediately in the capital to stop the abuses and murders of prisoners, or [ensure] that they don't prevent us from doing so," rebel spokesperson Eric Massi said by telephone from Gabon's capital Libreville.
Ziguele, a former prime minister and presidential candidate, said he had little trust in Bozize.
No point in talks
"The problem is Mr Bozize's promises. He makes promises and doesn't keep them," Ziguele said, accusing the president of having a "credibility problem".
"What concession has he made? Not to run in 2016? The constitution clearly says he doesn't have the right to do so!"
Ziguele said there was no point in holding talks on a national unity government.
"This is not the debate," he said. "This is not the time for a redistribution of posts. We should review the structures of government, we need structural solutions to the major problems of governance. There should be dialogue."
A government minister meanwhile warned that unilateral pressure on Bozize was counter-productive and could lead to a destabilising coup.
"The president has made concessions, he has given every guarantee, but the pressure must not be unilateral," territorial administration minister Jose Binoua said.
"Unilateral pressure will create a hardening among people in the regime... This could lead to a palace revolution."