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Mbeki Cites Progress in Ivory Coast Peace Effort

South African President Thabo Mbeki says he has reached agreement with all sides in the Ivory Coast civil war to move forward the stalled peace process, but he gave few specifics. Mr. Mbeki just concluded a five-day mediation visit in Abidjan.

President Mbeki said he had worked within the existing 2003 French-brokered peace agreement which was updated in Ghana in July.

"This intervention has to do with trying to expedite the process of the implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis and the Accra Three agreements," he said. "Now we've agreed with everybody on all of these matters and therefore specific programs must be carried out."

Mr. Mbeki said agreement has been reached on enacting political reforms, disarmament of rebel forces, a working national unity government and a return to security.

He gave few specifics. He said one reform easing eligibility requirements for the presidency would be considered in January during an emergency session of parliament. Mr. Mbeki also said joint patrols between United Nations peacekeepers and the Ivorian army should begin in Abidjan.

He said supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo, known as the Young Patriots, should leave the streets and return home.

Mr. Mbeki refused to give a timeline for other peace moves, which have been agreed to and delayed several times before.

"It's not possible for me now to communicate those details because we passed on those details about timeframes only this morning to everybody concerned," he said. "But I'm sure that by the end of this week we'll have some clarity as to what is possible, practical, feasible, with regard to specific time frames."

Peace efforts unraveled last month when the Ivory Coast military bombed northern targets, while supporters of Mr. Gbagbo went on a looting rampage in the south against the opposition and French interests. The attacks ended with the intervention of French forces, assisting U.N. peacekeepers.

Earlier Monday, the United Nations peace envoy, Albert Tevoedjre said he would resign because of the resumption of war.

"It is time that a political solution goes forward very much," he said. "We have done our best therefore for the Ivorians to take into account for themselves [that] a political solution is needed, is necessary. I fought for it, now it's time for implementing it so they don't need me for that."

Mr. Tevoedjre had been criticized from all sides for not being aggressive enough in pushing forward the peace deals.

Northern rebels have refused to disarm until they have guarantees equal rights for northerners will become law in Ivory Coast. President Gbagbo has refused to implement the political reforms until the rebels disarm. It is not clear how President Mbeki has bridged that gap.