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DATE=12/30/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=IVORY COAST / REACT (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-257625 BYLINE=SCOTT BOBB DATELINE=ABIDJAN CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Nine West-African nations are calling for the new military leaders in Ivory Coast to organize national elections by next June. Correspondent Scott Bobb in Abidjan reports the development comes as leading political parties in Ivory Coast say they will collaborate with the proposed transitional government. TEXT: Foreign ministers of ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States, are urging the military junta in Ivory Coast to move quickly to revise the constitution and electoral laws in order to hold free and fair elections within six-months. The West African ministers condemned the coup that deposed President Henri Konan Bedie one-week ago. But at the conclusion of a meeting in Mali, they said they did not envision intervening militarily in Ivory Coast, as they have done in Liberia and Sierra Leone. /// OPT /// The ministers noted that the coup has received widespread support among Ivorians and they expressed satisfaction that calm has been restored quickly. But they called for the new leaders to respect human rights and release all former officials still in detention. /// END OPT /// Meanwhile in Ivory Coast, support continues to build for the transitional government that was proposed earlier this week by the country's new leader, General Robert Guei. Leaders of the Democratic Party, which had governed since independence, said they would participate in any act by the military junta that would re-establish constitutional democracy. Former president Bedie, who heads the party, two-days ago called for members to avoid collaborating with the new military leaders. But he has reversed himself and from his base in Togo urged members to consider participating in the transitional government. A close associate said he would be a candidate in the next presidential election. The country's third leading opposition party, the Labor Party, also announced it was prepared to participate in the transitional government. The Popular Front party, led by Laurent Gbagbo, announced its support for the transitional government two-days ago. And the leader of the Democratic Rally party, former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara, says he will support any transition to democracy. /// OUATTARA ACT /// My wish is to help my country go through the transition and obtain the best in terms of democracy and development. /// END ACT /// Mr. Ouattara returned to Ivory Coast late Wednesday from three-months of self-imposed exile. He fled the country last September after an Ivorian court ordered his arrest for falsifying documents to support his Ivorian nationality. That order has been dropped. The Bedie government had stripped Mr. Ouattara of his citizenship earlier this year in a move that was widely seen as aimed at preventing him from running in presidential elections due next year. The moves against Mr. Ouattara were one of the reasons for the military coup last Thursday. /// REST OPT /// Meanwhile, General Guei continues his meetings with leaders of Ivorian civil society by talking to trade union leaders (Thursday). /// GUEI ACT - IN FRENCH - FADE UNDER /// General Guei told the labor leaders Ivory Coast is a nation that does not hold grudges, and urged them to forgive past injustices. The Bedie government's heavy-handed response to several labor protests over falling living standards was another reason cited for the military coup. General Guei has also met and received expressions of support from political and religious leaders. He has asked political parties to present candidates for the transitional government, which he says he wants to form by next week. (SIGNED) NEB/SB/JWH/RAE 30-Dec-1999 12:44 PM EDT (30-Dec-1999 1744 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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