CAR

Central African Republic: Gabon contributes US $153,846 to national dialogue

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BANGUI, 7 February (IRIN) - President Omar Bongo of Gabon has offered 100 million francs CFA (US $153,846) to help the Central African Republic (CAR) government prepare for a national dialogue to resolve its political and security logjam, Abdel Beolo, the head of communications at the CAR presidency, said in a communique issued on Thursday.
The Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States has designated Bongo as mediator in a diplomatic standoff between the CAR and Chad over the latter's alleged support for CAR rebels trying to unseat President Ange-Felix Patasse. A Gabonese general commands the community's 303-man peacekeeping force in the CAR, to which his country contributed 146 soldiers, the Republic of Congo (ROC) 126, and Equatorial Guinea 31. The force's authorised strength is 350.

Meanwhile, Radio Centrafrique has announced that the national dialogue coordination team, headed by Bishop Paulin Pomodimo and former Prime Minister Henri Maidou, flew to Paris on Thursday. "We are going to meet CAR people who love their country, we are going to invite them to attend the national dialogue," Pomodimo told reporters before leaving.

The team had earlier been to the Gabonese capital, Libreville, to meet Bongo, and the ROC capital, Brazzaville to meet President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, for consultations.

The 750-million-franc CFA budget for the national dialogue was fixed in February, with one-fifth of cost to be met by the international community and friendly countries.

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