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Secretary-General welcomes decision of Ivorian parties to end hostilities and disarm

6 April 2005 United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today hailed the agreement reached by Cte d'Ivoire's political leadership, meeting in South Africa, to stop fighting and start disarmament.

Commenting on the outcome of discussions this week, mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki on behalf of the African Union (AU), Mr. Annan also said, through his spokesperson, that he also welcomed the decision to begin the immediate dismantling of militias.

The Secretary-General looked forward to progress in the many areas covered in Pretoria, following up on the Linas-Marcoussis peace agreement reached in 2003 and the Accra III Agreement last year, the statement said.

Reminding the parties that they had to bear the primary responsibility for carrying out the Pretoria agreement, he urged them "to implement their respective commitments promptly and in good faith."

Meanwhile, in a move to tighten the arms embargo that the UN Security Council imposed on Cte d'Ivoire last November, the UN peacekeeping mission there said some of its troops were deployed yesterday near the frontiers with Liberia and Ghana for the first time and conducted inspections of vehicles.

The UN Operation in Cte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) said it fielded a battalion based at Akouedo barracks, northeast of the largest city, Abidjan, and conducted inspections at Toulepleu, near the western border with Liberia, and at Appronpronou, about 20 kilometres from the eastern border with Ghana.

"There a highway inspection of vehicles, personnel and merchandise took place to prevent trafficking in weapons and child soldiers," UNOCI said.

The inspections themselves followed two others on 21 and 30 March and no inspection had turned up anything unusual, the mission said.

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