Central Africa Republic’s interim President Michel Djotodia has resigned at a regional summit aimed at ending violence that has engulfed the country.
CAR’s entire transitional assembly is attending the meeting in Chad organised by regional leaders.
Mr Djotodia, CAR’s first Muslim leader, had been resisting pressure to go.
Becomes first Muslim leader of an overwhelmingly Christian country after seizing power from Francois Bozize in March 2013
Has led several rebel groups
Served as both defence minister and diplomat under previous peace deals
Said to have used diplomatic posting in Sudan’s Darfur region to forge alliance with Janjaweed militia and fighters from Chad, who played a key role in his seizure of power
Officially disbanded his Seleka rebel group but they continue to kill and loot
The UN has warned of an impending humanitarian disaster.
Since December and the arrival of more regional peacekeepers and French troops, 1,000 people have died in sectarian clashes.
Many villages are deserted and in the last month the number of those who have fled their homes has doubled – including almost half of those living in the capital city, Bangui.
Mr Djotodia’s resignation was made in a statement by the 10-nation Economic Community of Central African States (Eccas).
His prime minister Nicolas Tiengaye, with whom he had a fractious relationship, has also resigned, the AFP news agency reports.
Earlier Eccas Secretary-General Ahmat Allami said members of CAR’s National Transitional Council (CNT) had been flown in at short notice to decide the leadership of their nation.
The lawmakers met regional leaders while Mr Djotodia held separate talks with allies from his former Seleka rebel alliance, AFP reported.
The BBC’s Paul Wood reports on the growing humanitarian crisis in CAR
Under a deal brokered by regional powers last year, the CNT was charged with choosing a transitional leader to take CAR to elections due at the end of 2014. It formally elected Mr Djotodia to his position as interim president last April.
Earlier on Friday, thousands of people in Bangui took to the streets demanding the resignation of Mr Djotodia, a former Soviet-trained civil servant.
His Seleka rebel alliance seized power last March overthrowing in the then-President Francois Bozize, from CAR’s majority Christian population.
Although Mr Djotodia officially disbanded the Seleka rebels, he has proved unable to keep them in check.
Their actions have prompted Christians to form vigilante groups, sparking a deadly cycle of revenge attacks.
The African Union now has some 4,000 peacekeepers in the country and France has deployed 1,600 troops to try and restore peace.