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Annan "dismayed" at armed attacks on President of Central African Republic

Annan "dismayed" at armed attacks on President of Central African Republic

Reacting with "dismay" to armed attacks against the President of the Central African Republic, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has deplored the use of force for toppling popularly elected governments.

"The Secretary-General condemns any attempt to overthrow an elected government by force," a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement issued Monday following attacks led by armed elements in the capital, Bangui, against the residence of President Ange-Felix Patassé and the country's National Radio. On Tuesday, the situation in Bangui was reported to be calm but volatile, with some gunfire.

Mr. Annan called on all Central Africans, especially political and other leaders, to respect the democratic institutions of the country and to favour dialogue, the spokesman said.

Earlier this year, the Secretary-General warned in a report to the Security Council that the Central African Republic was gripped by political crisis, mired in social tension and underpinned by a fragile economy. The 11 January report blamed the crisis in part on the opposition's attempt "by every possible means to seize the power that it was unable to win through the ballot box."