French troops withdraw from Central Africa

BBC World Service, Saturday 6 December 1997, 19:33 GMT

France has signed an agreement detailing its partial withdrawal of troops based in the Central African Republic.

Four hundred of the one-thousand-four-hundred French troops in the western part of the country should pull out by mid December.

The departure of the rest of the force from the capital Bangui, should be completed by the fifteenth of April.

The accord provides for the handover to the Central African army of barracks and equipment no longer required by the French.

Eight thousand French troops are currently deployed in six African countries, but the French Defence ministry says the strength of its Africa force will be reduced by two thousand by the year two thousand.