- Title: CONGO: FRANCE IS PULLING ITS TROOPS OUT OF THE CONGO REPUBLIC CAPITAL
- Date: 16th June 1997
- Summary: BRAZZAVILLE, CONGO (JUNE 16, 1997) (RTV ACCESS ALL) 1. LV/SLV BRAZZAVILLE AIRPORT/FRENCH TROOPS AT AIRPORT (3 SHOTS) 0.09 2. LV/SLV FRENCH SOLDIERS PREPARING TO LEAVE (2 SHOTS) 0.15 3. LV/SLV SOLDIERS GOING TO AND GETTING INTO PLANE (7 SHOTS) 0.43 4. SLV/SV IN AIRPORT GROUNDS CONGOLESE SOLDIERS COLLECTING MEDICAL SUPPLIES (8 SHOTS) 1.12 5. SV/CU MEDICAL SUPPLIES CARRIED BY FRENCH TROOPS FOR CONGOLESE ARMY (3 SHOTS) 1.23 6. SLV CONGOLESE ARMY TRANSPORTER / TRANSPORTER FULL OF MEDICAL SUPPLIES FOR CONGOLESE ARMY 1.28 7. SLV CONGOLESE ARMY LEAVING WITH SUPPLIES 1.42 8. CAMERA TRAVELLING ON FRENCH ARMY VEHICLE PAB ON THE WAY TO AIRPORT 1.58 9. SV CONGOLESE ARMY CAR ALMOST COLLIDES WITH PAB 2.10 10. CAMERA TRAVELLING ON FRENCH ARMY VEHICLE PAB ENTERING AIRPORT, FRENCH ARMY MORTARS, LAST FRENCH TROOPS LEAVING 2.32 11. SLV FRENCH BASE AT AIRPORT SETTING UP SANDBAGS 2.38 12. CU MILAN ANTI MISSILE LAUNCHER 2.42 13. LV ARTILLERY FIGHTING AROUND THE AIRPORT 2.50 14. LV FRENCH TANK MOVING AND ROCKET FIRING (2 SHOTS) 3.04 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Embargoed: 1st July 1997 13:00
- Location: BRAZZAVILLE, CONGO
- Country: Congo, Democratic Republic of
- Reuters ID: LVAE3PJ24CJVOIKHO9HITTINIJO
- Story Text: France has begun pulling its troops out of the Congo Republic capital, after evacuating more than 5,000 foreign nationals caught up in a bloody political and ethnic dispute in its former colony.
A first contingent of several dozen French soldiers climbed abroad a military transport plane with their rifles and full kit and left for Chad on Monday (June 16). Others followed on later planes.
With the diplomatic focus shifting to peace talks hosted by neighbour and fellow oil-producer Gabon, Brazzaville enjoyed a relative lull in fighting on Monday, despite occasional bursts of shooting which has been part of life in the city since June 5.
France is pressing ahead with the withdrawal despite an appeal from Congo President Pascal Lissouba that it leave troops in the city as a buffer force between the army and militiamen loyal to former military leader Denis Sassou Nguesso.
France is, however, keeping its embassy open.
The conflict began when the army surrounded Sassou Nguesso's home in a crackdown on private militias and unauthorised arms in the run-up to a presidential election scheduled for July 27.
France called on Monday for the election to go ahead.
Lissouba says the election should take place as planned. Sassou Nguesso has called for guarantees of transparency, fairness and security first.
Lissouba has also called for an African peace force, an idea which Sassou Nguesso has not ruled out. Mediators say it will be on the agenda of the Gabon talks. Envoys of Lissouba and Sassou Nguesso left on the same plane on Sunday for Gabon's capital Libreville. The presidents of Chad, Mali, Gabon and Central African Republic will attend the talks.
The two rivals declared a truce on Wednesday but some Western analysts fear the battle will ignite around the city's international once French troops leave.
Sporadic firing of mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and machineguns could be heard around the airport through the night and Monday morning but it was quiet compared to Saturday night.
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