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EDITIONS
Friday, 13 September, 2002, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Libya wins Central African resource deal
Central African Republic landscape
Libya will pay royalties to CAR
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 Reuters 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.

Libyan help

The government hopes that with Libyan help it might unlock some of 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.

French snub?

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.

Land-locked CAR ranks among the world's poorest countries with an average gross domestic product per capita of $287 (184) last year.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Jon Marks, editor of African Energy
"African power politics are being played out and Africa's natural resources as ever... are being used as the bargaining tools"
See also:

07 Aug 02 | Business
08 Jul 02 | Business
03 Sep 01 | Business
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