Minister: Libyan troops to pull out from Bangui
Libya said on Monday its troops would withdraw from the Central African Republic (CAR), where they have been protecting President Felix-Ange Patasse for the past 18 months, once a regional peacekeeping force is deployed there.
"We will leave" Bangui, the CAR capital, Libyan Minister for African Unity Ali Abdel Salam Triki told the radio network Radio France Internationale.
"There will be no reinforcement of the limited number of Libyan soldiers whose aim is to protect the regime" of Patasse, the minister expressed.
A force of some 200 Libyan soldiers has been in the city since a coup attempt against Patasse in May, 2001, blamed on his predecessor, Andre Kolingba.
Triki's declaration came in spite of a statement by Patasse on Saturday that the Libyan force will continue to remain in Bangui.
"I think the president (Patasse) has his opinion. But in any case we are going to consult with him and we are definitely going to leave," Triki told RFI, which was monitored in the Gabonese capital Libreville.
He said the timetable for the withdrawal depends on the deployment of a peacekeeping force of the Central African Economic Community (CEMAC), according to AFP.
"The CEMAC troops must arrive, and then, definitely, we will agree on a timetable," he made clear.
During a summit in Libreville in early October, CEMAC decided to send a peacekeeping force of 300 to 350 men to Bangui to replace the Libyan force and secure the tense CAR border with Chad. (Albawaba.com)
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