Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sao Tome Asks One-Week JMC Postponement; Police Dispute Settled; IRIN Says Barbosa Is Acting FM; No ERHC Awards Review Ordered, IRIN Says

Mutwadadi tells us this morning, as we warned yesterday, that Sao Tome has asked for a one-week postponement of the meeting on Production Sharing Contracts scheduled for Friday and Saturday of the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Ministerial Council.

The police dispute in Sao Tome has also been settled peacefully, he said.

The reliable poster also tells us that there is some likelihood the date of the planned JMC meeting will "slide" into February:

As anticipated, Sao Tome has formally requested postponement of this week's scheduled JMC meeting. They have asked for a week delay, citing the resignation of the foreign minister. Past practice would indicate that date might slide also, perhaps into February.

Mutwadadi also advises us, ahead of the other news services, that the dispute that led to a deputy police chief taking over the nation's police department has been peacefully resolved with the firing of the nation's police chief and his key deputy:

On a separate issue, the police issue was settled last night, with the government agreeing to replace the police chief and his deputy.

In an article from the United Nations news agency, IRIN, released today, IRIN said a temporary replacement for Pequeno has been found:

Defence Minister Oscar Barbosa was subsequently named caretaker Foreign Minister until parliamentary elections in March, which are expected to result in the formation of a new government. He too is a close associate of the president.

The IRIN article also noted that:

President Menezes has stopped short of ordering a review of the licences awarded. But he admitted last week that the controversial terms negotiated by ERHC with the government of his predecessor mean that Sao Tome will forfeit US $58 million in front end bonuses on these contracts that it would otherwise have received.

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