Residents in the capital have been reassured by the presence of regional troops from Gabon, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, and Chad to help stabilize the country. South Africa also has said it is sending 400 soldiers to help support national forces here.
"The military aid provided by the (10-nation) Economic Community of Central African States reassures us that the rebels are not going to continue their advance in the direction of Bangui," said Patrick Bangui, a 27-year-old student.
The shaky rebel alliance, Seleka, is made up of four rebel groups all known by their French acronyms — UFDR, FDPC and CPSK and a faction of CPJP.
The rebels "are going to have zero confidence in many promises that Bozize makes," said Jennifer Cooke, director of the Africa program at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. Still, she had a scrap of optimism.
"There's a possibility of an agreement — the question is building confidence on both sides, particularly the rebel side, and maintaining it going forward," Cooke said.
Associated Press writers Louis Okamba in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo; Sarah DiLorenzo in Paris; Hippolyte Marboua in Bangui, Central African Republic; and Yves Laurent Goma in Libreville, Gabon, contributed to this report.