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Cte d'Ivoire peace process still mired in stalemate - report to UN

19 October 2004 With the peace process in Cte d'Ivoire still mired in a stalemate, a monitoring group has suggested again that United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other West African leaders continue to press President Laurent Gbagbo on the obstacles preventing the passage of key reform legislation.

The latest report by the tripartite monitoring group overseeing the country's peace process also says Mr. Gbagbo and political leaders Konan Bedi, Alassane Ouattara and Guillaume Soro should meet to come up with a compromise formula to resolve the Article 35 issue, which concerns eligibility by nationality for the country's presidency.

The monitoring group - comprising representatives from the UN Operation in Cte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) - notes that President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone arrived in Cte d'Ivoire "with the blessing of his sub-regional peers to add weight to the push to break the impasse threatening the Accra III Agreement."

That accord binds the Ivorian parties to the 2003 Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, which itself ended fighting in the West African country and created a government of national reconciliation. The Accra III deal focused on those parts of the 2003 pact that were still disputed.

The panel's report covers the period from 15 to 30 September, which coincides with the conclusion of an extraordinary session of the National Assembly convened to adopt legislation required under Linas-Marcoussis.

With the Assembly passing only seven of the 16 laws by the end-of-month deadline, the group says there is overall "an air of expectancy and some anxiety" over what the Assembly and the political protagonists plan to do to advance implementation of both peace accords.

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