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Mbeki Meets Ivorian Rebels on Latest Peace Initiative


South African President Thabo Mbeki is meeting with Ivory Coast's rebel leaders to discuss the latest peace initiatives.

Tens of thousands of people with banners demanding that President Laurent Gbagbo quit welcomed Mr. Mebki as he arrived in the northern rebel-held stronghold of Bouake Sunday.

Mr. Mebki will try to persuade the rebels to accept a plan to hold a referendum on a constitutional revision. The change would end a ban on Ivorians of foreign parents from running as presidential candidates.

Such a revision would allow former Prime Minister and rebel-backed leader Alassane Ouattara to run for president.

The crisis in Ivory Coast escalated last month when government forces bombed rebel positions, breaking a 18-month cease-fire.

Because of the turmoil, the U.S State Department has warned Americans not to travel to Ivory Coast.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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