Libya offers aid to Ivory Coast

By Time of article published Apr 19, 2000

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Abidjan - Libya has offered Ivory Coast diplomatic and financial help to ensure a successful post-coup return to civilian rule, an Ivorian Foreign Ministry official said on Wednesday.

The official said that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had promised the help during a visit to Libya by military ruler Robert Guei on Monday and Tuesday.

"The Libyan president promised financial and diplomatic help for Ivory Coast during this transition," he said.

Soldiers who toppled President Henri Konan Bedie in December had named Guei as head of state.

The new authorities, who have repeatedly said that they found the government coffers empty, need cash for a referendum on a new constitution, civilian-rule elections and even day-to-day operational costs.

An official communique issued after the talks in Sirte said that Guei thanked Gaddafi for "the inestimable support that he unceasingly gives to Ivory Coast in connection with its transition to ensure a rapid return to constitutional normality".

On the diplomatic front, the Organisation of African Unity, which holds its annual summit in Togo in July, vowed at its 1999 summit in Algiers to ostracise any new administration taking power by force.

The official said that Ivory Coast hoped that Libya would be able to use its influence to help its government attend this year's summit.

Guei, who has pledged a return to civilian rule by October 31, was to meet political leaders later on Wednesday to discuss the timing of the constitutional referendum and other issues. April 30 has been mentioned as a possible date for this. - Reuters

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