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Ivory Coast President Offers Amnesty as Peace Plan Advances


Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has offered amnesty for crimes against the state, as part of efforts to boost a rapidly advancing peace plan.

The new law unveiled Friday pardons all Ivorians living in the country and abroad who committed violations of national security between September 17, 2000 and the present.

People who committed war crimes or economic crimes can still be prosecuted.

Mr. Gbagbo and former rebel leader Guilane Soro reached a peace agreement last month after years of failed United Nations peace plans.

The deal is aimed at reuniting Ivory Coast, which has been divided between a rebel-held north and government-controlled south since a 2002 civil war.

This week, international peacekeepers maintaining a buffer zone said they plan to withdraw in stages, beginning Monday.

Last week, Mr. Soro was named prime minister in a new government.

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