Central African Republic signs treaty with Libya

Sep 13, 2002 02:00 AM

The Central African Republic (CAR) has signed a 99-year treaty giving Libya the right to exploit its oil, uranium and other mineral resources. CAR mines minister Andre Nalke Dorogo told that the deal was signed in June and covered all mineral resources. It's a matter of us trying together to profit from Libya's experience
Andre Nalke Dorogo Mines Minister "It's a normal accord between one sovereign country and another. The agreement concerns all resources, notably diamonds, gold, copper, iron and -- if possible -- oil," Mr Dorogo said. "It covers the entire country," he added.

The deal comes a year after Libyan troops helped to stop an army revolt against President Ange Felix Patasse.
"This is strictly an economic agreement, if the Central African Republic wants to sign an agreement with Libya, as it is a sovereign country it has every right to do so, but in this accord there is no link with military assistance," he said.

The government hopes that with Libyan help it might unlock someof it suspected oil riches. Its northern neighbour discovered oil just over the border and a controversial World Bank-backed pipeline to the Cameroon coast is expected to bring substantial earnings.
"It's a matter of us trying together to profit from Libya's experience," Mr Dorogo said. "We need to undertake a study to value our oil reserves in view of future exploitation," he said. The CAR government is expected to receive royalties from the Societe Africaine Libyenne d'Investissement (LAICO), the Libyan development agency.

Traditionally France has dominated development in its former colony, with many contracts dating back to independence in 1960. France withdrew its troops from CAR in 1998.
Opposition leader Paul Bellet has criticised Libya's influence in the country and questioned why the deal had not gone before parliament. "The people's representatives must be allowed to study this contract and see that it is in the national interest," he said.

The land-locked Central African Republic ranksamong the world's poorest countries with an average gross domestic product per capita of $ 287 (£ 184) last year.

Source: BBC
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