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Sao Tome and Principe Coup Leaders in Talks with International Mediators

Negotiations between an international delegation and representatives of the military leaders who staged a coup in Sao Tome and Principe on July 16, continued Tuesday. The issue of the return of deposed president Fradique de Menezes to the country was a key item on the agenda.

Coup leader Major Fernando Pereira and other members of the military junta have met with an international delegation that has traveled to Sao Tome and Principe to help negotiate the restoration of political stability to the islands.

Central to the discussion is the prospect of returning deposed president Fradique de Menezes. Though the coup leaders say they want to restore political stability, they have not permitted Mr. Menezes to return to the country. Mr. Menezes remains in Nigeria.

In a news conference late Tuesday, Major Pereira would not say whether the president would be allowed to return.

Major Pereira said the reason for the coup was to highlight the poverty and corruption that blights the poor island nation of Sao Tome. Recent oil finds have promised a massive increase in revenues, but also heightened political tension.