France condemns violence in CAR

Paris- France (PANA) -- France has condemned the attempted coup in the Central African Republic where at least 20 people were reportedly killed when dissident soldiers attacked President Ange Felix Patasse's residence early Monday.
In a statement issued in Paris, French foreign ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau said: "We appeal to a return to calm and (constitutional) legality and we will continue to pay particular attention to the evolution of the situation.
" Tension has been high in the CAR in recent months amid protests and strikes by civil servants demanding to be paid two years of salary arrears and Patasse's resignation.
According to reports reaching Paris, authorities in Bangui suspect the former military ruler, Gen.
Andre Kolingba, was behind the coup attempt.
Kolingba, who hails from the south had ruled the CAR from 1981 to 1993 when international pressure forced him to introduce multiparty democracy.
Patasse won the 1993 multiparty elections as well as in 1999.
In January this year, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had warned that protracted demonstrations by civil servants and students threatened peace in the Central African Republic.
President Patasse appealed for international financial assistance to address the critical financial situation.

30 may 2001 14:18:00

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