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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

COTE D'IVOIRE: Marcoussis accord signatories to meet in Ghana

ACCRA, 5 March 2003 (IRIN) - Ghana's president and current chairman of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), John Kufuor, has invited all the signatories to the Marcousis accord on Cote d'Ivoire to a meeting in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, on Thursday.

Kufuor, who met ECOWAS chiefs of defense forces from 15 countries led by their chairman Lt-Gen Seth Obeng on Tuesday, said ECOWAS was trying to accelerate the resolution of the Ivorian crisis at political and military
levels.

"I expect all the leaders of the Ivorian factions here tomorrow to continue discussions on how to resolve this crisis. The ECOWAS presidents are discussing the matter at the political level," Kufuor told the defense chiefs.

The chiefs of defense forces were holding a two-day meeting in Accra to discuss the deployment of a peacekeeping force in Cote d'Ivoire. Obeng said the Ivorian crisis was a major problem facing ECOWAS defense forces. "We cannot ignore the problem especially given its potential to spread throughout the region," he said.

Five countries, namely Benin, Ghana, Niger, Togo and Senegal had already committed troops for the Ivorian mission, Obeng added. The meeting discussed contributions from other countries as well as the logistical aspects of deployment of the force.

Kufuor's press secretary, Kwabena Agyepong, told reporters that the Thursday meeting would be part of ongoing consultations on the formation of a national unity government in Cote d'Ivoire. Political party leaders Alassane Ouattara, Henri Konan Bedie, Pascal Affi Nguessan and the new prime minister, Seydou Diarra, were expected to attend the meeting along with
representatives of the rebel MPCI.

The press secretary said Kufuor would travel to Burkina Faso and Togo on Friday and to Nigeria on Saturday. Further consultations on the Ivorian crisis were expected to take place during these visits.

Themes: (IRIN) Conflict

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