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Annan May Seek Dispatch of UN Military Observers to Ivory Coast


U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he may recommend the Security Council dispatch military observers to the West African nation of Ivory Coast to help the country implement a French-brokered peace agreement reached with rebels earlier this month.

Secretary-General Annan told the Security Council Tuesday he will soon appoint a special representative for Ivory Coast, and may ask the council to consider sending civilian and military observers to the country as well.

Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbabgo is facing increasingly violent protests over a peace accord reached earlier this month with rebels who now control the northern half of the country. Just days after it was signed, the power sharing agreement is already being denounced by the Ivorian military as making too many concessions to rebels who have been able to take control of more of the country ever since a failed coup attempt in September.

Even though France has already dispatched some 2,500 troops to its former colony, violent protests against the peace accord have continued in Abidjan, the country's largest city, where thousands turned out on the streets Tuesday to denounce the peace agreement.

Secretary-General Annan is now appealing for an end to a civil war that has killed hundreds of people and displaced more than a million others, and is urging both sides in the conflict to quickly implement the peace accord reached earlier this month, even amid signs that the agreement may now be unraveling.

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