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Bangui climbdown

The Central African Republic President, Andre Kolingba, late yesterday said he was suspending the execution of two decrees he had issued that threatened to delay today's announcement of official results from a presidential poll in which he finished fourth, AFP reports from Bangui.

He said he took the decision to preserve national unity and to preserve ties with France. The French government had denounced the two decrees and halted all bilateral co-operation with the republic. 'It is not my intention to hang on to power,' Mr Kolingba told state radio. The president was beaten into fourth place in elections on 22 August, taking 13.4 per cent of the vote. The top two finishers, former prime minister Agne-Felix Patassse, with 37.8 per cent, and former head of state David Dacko, 21.1 per cent, are scheduled to meet in a run-off contest on 12 September.