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Ivorian Rebels Accept 9 Cabinet Posts - 2003-04-02


Rebels in Ivory Coast have agreed to accept the nine cabinet posts they were offered in a deal to end a six-month civil war in the West African country.

The rebels' decision is supposed to break a deadlock that has prevented the Ivory Coast government from implementing the terms of a January peace agreement reached in France.

Rebels were granted nine ministries as part of the deal, but have until now refused to accept them and have failed to show up at the weekly cabinet meetings.

The insurgents said they did not trust the government of President Laurent Gbagbo to provide them with adequate security, alleging that his administration has been responsible for the kidnapping and killing of a number of political opponents.

On Tuesday, rebel leaders flew from their bases in northern and western Ivory Coast to the Ghanaian capital, Accra. They met with Ghanaian President John Kufuor, the current head of the regional grouping of West African nations that have been mediating an end to the Ivorian conflict. Also joining him in Accra Tuesday was Ivorian Prime Minister Seidou Diarra.

Mr. Diarra confirmed that rebels had agreed to accept their posts and attend a cabinet meeting that is scheduled for Thursday in Ivory Coast's political capital, Yamoussoukro. It is not clear what, if any, security guarantees were offered to the insurgents at the meeting in Accra.

A rebel spokesman said the insurgents will attend Thursday's meeting because they want to show their commitment to the peace accord. But he warned they would pull out of the government if Mr. Gbagbo does not honor the full terms of the agreement.

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