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Annan reminds turbulent Côte d'Ivoire to cooperate with African Union's mediation

2 March 2005 Expressing concern at the attack by "armed youth" against rebel Forces Nouvelles positions across the peacekeepers' Zone of Confidence last Friday and other serious incidents, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on the belligerents to rein in their militias.

In a statement issued through a UN spokesman, the Secretary-General reminded the parties that "everything has to be done to cooperate in earnest with the African Union (AU) mediation led by President (Thabo) Mbeki of South Africa, which is fully supported by the United Nations, and to avoid any steps which could contribute to the deterioration of the situation on the ground."

He also pointed out to militia leaders, "as well as those behind them," that they would be held accountable for premeditated attacks and could face the measures listed in a resolution which the Security Council unanimously approved last November.

In the resolution, the Council imposed an immediate, 13-month arms embargo against the West African country and gave the parties there one month to get the peace process back on track or face a travel ban and a freeze on their assets.

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