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UN Delegates Urge Implementation of Ivory Coast Peace Plan - 2003-07-02


A United Nations Security Council delegation, on a mission to west Africa, has called on all sides involved in Ivory Coast's civil war to fully implement a peace agreement mediated by France.

The Marcoussis peace deal was reached in January in a suburb of Paris by the same name. Six months later fighting has stopped, but very little of the accord has been implemented. Rebels have not demobilized, as called for in the agreement, and much of the country remains under rebel control.

British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, leader of the U.N. delegation that spent two days in Abidjan earlier this week, says he has spoken with all sides, including anti-Marcoussis lawmakers close to President Laurent Gbagbo and rebel ministers who feel unsafe in areas not under their control.

"We have said, 'Right, we have heard your problems, we have mentioned many of them to the other side, and we are not mediators but our message is simple. We are holding all sides to the implementation of the agreement and we will fight your calls [support your argument] when the other side is not implementing it and we will put pressure on you when you are not implementing it', and they seemed satisfied with that answer," said Mr. Greenstock.

He said some Ivorian politicians are putting their interests ahead of those of Ivory Coast, by trying to derail the peace accord for political gain. He said this could endanger the economic future of the world's leading cocoa producer.

After meeting with Mr. Greenstock, Deli Gaspard, the leader of a rebel group based in the west of the country, said politicians have been much slower than the military in implementing the peace accord.

Mr. Gaspard also saod politicians must agree on consensus ministers of defense and the interior to prevent renewed fighting. Three rebel groups who control more than half of Ivory Coast say they will not begin disarming until the two ministers are named.

The peace accord also calls for new laws, including amnesty for rebels and making it easier for many immigrants to become Ivorian citizens with full voting rights.

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