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Main opposition party out of talks

Talks aimed at ending a political crisis looked set to open on Monday without the main opposition party after its leader refused to travel to Lome because of concern for his safety, news organisations reported.

The leader of the Union of Forces of Change (UFC), Gilchrist Olympio, told journalists on Sunday at Togo's border with Ghana that he was turning back because his security was not assured, according to news organisations.

There was no reaction to the day's events from either the government or opposition parties, Reuters said.

Olympio, who has lived in Ghana since an assassination attempt against him in 1992, was due to have attended talks aimed at ending a prolonged political crisis in Togo.

The opposition boycotted parliamentary elections in March after saying a June 1998 presidential poll was rigged and wants both polls re-run. President Gnassingbe Eyadema, in power since 1967 through a coup, was declared the winner in 1998 but Olympio claimed to have won the election.

The 10-day national reconciliation talks were due to be brokered by four mediators from Europe and the Francophonie Organisation

Meanwhile, the government banned a rally in Lome by the UFC on Sunday on the grounds it could disturb the peace ahead of the talks, Reuters reported.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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