Mbeki calls for new talks on Ivory Coast

19th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 19 (AFP) - South African President Thabo Mbeki on Wednesday called for the signatories of a French-brokered peace accord for Ivory Coast to come back to the negotiating table, amid fresh chaos in the west African state.

PARIS, Nov 19 (AFP) - South African President Thabo Mbeki on Wednesday called for the signatories of a French-brokered peace accord for Ivory Coast to come back to the negotiating table, amid fresh chaos in the west African state.

"I think that what's necessary is that the process of negotiation among the Ivorians needs to be resumed because objectively, there's a problem," Mbeki, who was in France on a state visit, told Radio France Internationale (RFI).

"I think you need all of those groups (that signed the accord) to get together," he told RFI, adding that a ceasefire was insufficient and that the so-called Marcoussis agreement "must be implemented in its totality."

The Marcoussis agreement, signed outside Paris in January, set up a process of national reconciliation to put an end to months of civil war by bringing the authors of a September 2002 uprising into government.

But deep divisions between the government of Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and the former rebels, now known as the New Forces, have left Ivory Coast in limbo, with the ex-rebels imposing a state of emergency in the north.

The war in Ivory Coast split the country in two, with ex-rebels controlling the north, and shattered the economy of the world's top cocoa producer, once seen as a beacon of stability in west Africa.

A ceasefire ending the war has held since July 4 in part due to the presence of 4,000 troops from former colonial power France and a 1,400-strong contingent of peacekeepers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

© AFP

Subject: French news



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