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Mbeki Opens New Talks on Ivory Coast Crisis


South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has opened fresh talks with Ivorian opposition and rebel leaders aimed at renewing the west African nation's peace process.

Mr. Mbeki met in Pretoria Sunday with former prime minister Alassane Ouattara, who has been calling on Ivorian President Laurent Gbabgo to implement the terms of a 2003 peace deal.

The accord calls for legal reforms ending a ban on Mr. Ouattara from competing in presidential elections this year.

Mr. Mbeki is also due to meet with rebel leader Guillaume Soro, whose New Forces control northern Ivory Coast.

Before leaving for Pretoria today, Mr. Soro criticized military officials for rebuilding the air force, calling it a "serious act" in the peace process.

French troops destroyed the planes last year after nine French peacekeepers were killed during an Ivorian air raid on rebel bases.

Some information provided by AFP and Reuters.

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