South African troops will pull out of the Central African Republic, President Jacob Zuma told a regional summit on the post-coup crisis on Wednesday.
"President Zuma has decided to withdraw the South African forces which are deployed in Bangui," Chadian President Idriss Deby said, adding that Zuma was ready to provide troops in the future if necessary.
Zuma had faced prickly questions over the presence of his troops, 13 of whom were killed in the bloody battle for the capital, Bangui.
"We have taken a decision to withdraw our soldiers," Zuma was later quoted as saying by the public broadcaster SABC.
"We were in CAR on the basis of the agreement between the two countries," he said at the end of the summit, which ended late on Wednesday.
"Our mission was to help train the soldiers... since the coup and the self-appointment of rebels, it was clear that the government is no longer there," Zuma told SABC in the Chadian capital Ndjamena.
Meanwhile, African leaders said they would not recognise CAR's new self-proclaimed leader.
A transitional president should be elected in place of Seleka rebel leader Michel Djotodia, Deby told journalists at a meeting of the Economic Community Of Central African States (ECCAS).
"As things stand now, it is impossible to recognise a self-proclaimed president," he said.
"A committee selected by national figures must lead the transition. This body will have the executive role and must vote for a transitional president" who would serve for not more than 18 months, he said.
Djotodia grabbed power on 24 March after a rapid assault on the capital Bangui in revenge for unfulfilled promises in a January peace deal with the government.
He has retained Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye in his post and says he will hold elections by 2016, a promise the international community is keen for him to keep.
Deby said a legislative body would be created to take on the role of a parliament and a mission of ministers from ECCAS, the African Union and the European Union, among others, dispatched to the Central African capital Bangui on Thursday "to take the message to Central Africans".
Chad, the region's dominant military power, hosted the ECCAS meeting as a way to give the rebel Seleka coalition regime in Central Africa a semblance of legitimacy, according to a diplomatic source.