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Friday, 20 September, 2002, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Bangui denies Libya deal
Central African Republic landscape
CAR ranks among the world's poorest countries
The Central African Republic (CAR) has denied signing a 99-year treaty giving Libya the right to exploit its oil, uranium and other mineral resources, local media reports.

According to CentrAfrique-Presse, the government said it had never made such a deal with Libya or any other foreign country.

Earlier Reuters had quoted CAR mines minister Andre Nalke Dorogo saying the deal was signed in June and covered all mineral resources.

CAR has oil gold, diamond, uranium and other mineral deposits which are largely unexploited.

The landlocked country ranks among the world's poorest, with an average gross domestic product per capita of $287 (184) last year.

Oil confusion

The original story seems to have stemmed from a number of oil-related developments in the central African region, including a controversial World Bank-backed pipeline to the Cameroon coast, which is expected to bring the country substantial earnings.

And there are close ties between CAR and Libya.

Libyan troops helped to stop an army revolt against President Ange Felix Patasse last year and hundreds of Libyan troops remain in CAR to provide the president with security.

Traditionally France has dominated development in its former colony, with many contracts dating back to independence in 1960.

See also:

07 Aug 02 | Business
08 Jul 02 | Business
03 Sep 01 | Business
05 Jul 02 | Country profiles
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