LIBREVILLE, Gabon — Central African Republic President Francois Bozize and the rebels who sought to overthrow him have reached a deal that will allow him to stay in office until his term ends in 2016, officials said Friday.
The announcement came after several days of peace talks in Gabon, organized after an alliance of rebels groups swept through the north of the country and seized control of a dozen towns.
On Friday, Bozize publicly shook hands with the rebel representatives — whom he had denounced as terrorists just two days before — and other political opponents to seal the deal that spares his ouster. The rebel offensive stopped short of the capital of Bangui but posed the gravest threat to Bozize during his nearly 10 years in power.
‘‘The president, backed into a corner, was forced to make a number of concessions and to make true of his promise to encourage a government of national unity,’’ said Margaret Vogt, UN special envoy to Central African Republic.