UN envoy confident Central African Republic will reverse ban on refugees voting in election

The U.N. envoy for the volatile Central African Republic says he is confident the country's Transitional National Council will reverse its decision to ban 400,000 predominantly Muslim refugees who fled ethnic unrest from voting in elections in October.

The Security Council said in a press statement Wednesday that the "absolute priority" in Central African Republic must be organizing inclusive elections.

Babacar Gaye, the U.N. special representative, told the council that the transitional government's recent decision to deprive the refugees of their right to vote "represents an alarming step back and a reminder that more effort should be focused on reconciliation."

But he told reporters afterward that the constitutional court has twice said refugees should participate in the Oct. 18 election, and he is confident they will be allowed to vote.