Central African Republic: France adds 4 million euro to post-conflict recovery

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
AMSTERDAM, 1 Aug 2005 (IRIN) - The French government added four million euro (US $4.85) to its aid package for Central African Republic (CAR) on Monday following a meeting in Paris between CAR President Francois Bozize and his French counterpart, Jacques Chirac.

The money will support the ongoing recovery process in the public finances and good governance, Laurence Auer, the deputy spokeswoman of the French president's office said from Paris on Monday.

Two months ago France granted one million euro (US $1.2 million) to its former colony to pay the salaries of its servants who are owed more than 40 months of unpaid wages.

In July, the EU agreed to resume in full its 100-million-euro ($121.3 million) aid programme that it partially suspended in 2003 after Bozize overthrew the elected president, Ange-Felix Patassé.

The aid is now resuming following elections in May in which Bozize was elected president.

Last week France initiated a meeting with the EU, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. They agreed to re-launch bilateral and multilateral investments in the CAR on the condition that efforts are made in good governance and recovery measures, Auer said.

"President [Chirac] has also promised to support the admission of the CAR into the HIPC [heavily indebted poor countries] initiative," he said.

Bozize, who arrived in Paris on Sunday and is leaving on Tuesday, will meet other French officials including Brigitte Girardin, a minister of state in charge of cooperation, Auer said

France has maintained a close relationship with the country since its independence in 1960. Officially there are 200 French troops in the CAR to train the country's military and assist the 350-member regional peace force of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States.

The French troops will stay in CAR for at least another six months to support the regional force, Auer said.


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