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UN mission calms tensions after ethnic clashes near Côte d'Ivoire town

3 May 2005 The United Nations peacekeeping mission has held a reconciliation meeting of traditional leaders from various ethnic groups and representatives of local and national government and militias in the strategic western Côte d’Ivoire town of Duékoué after ethnic clashes caused people to flee their homes, a UN spokesman said today.

At the meeting, held yesterday, participants agreed that joint patrols would be increased, the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) having reinforced its patrols, Stephane Dujarric said at the daily press briefing in New York. The local market would also be re-opened and public transport would again be operated, he added.

Some 600 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been staying in the Duékoué mayor’s office and a church in town and humanitarian workers have gone to verify their exact number, he said.

Meanwhile, UNOCI today transported a delegation from the opposition and former rebel Forces Nouvelles to the capital, Yamoussoukro, for a seminar on the long-pending disarmament process, he said.

Under the agreement reached last month in Pretoria, South Africa, to end two years of civil strife, the Government and other parties in conflict officially declared an end to their war.

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