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Attempts To Breathe Life Into Ivorian Peace Process - 2003-11-11


Seven West African heads of state are meeting in Ghana to find ways to resuscitate the peace process in neighboring Ivory Coast.

The president of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, is among the seven heads of state -- all members of the regional economic group ECOWAS.

The stated goal of the meeting is to help get Mr. Gbagbo's government and rebels who control half the country to resume implementation of a peace plan brokered by France.

But expectations of a breakthrough at this summit are low. Rebel leader Guillaume Soro canceled his plans to attend the meeting after being told it was only for heads of state.

Also on the agenda is an effort to ease tensions between Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. It will be the first meeting for Mr. Gbagbo and his Burkinabe counterpart Blaise Compoare, since they have each accused the other of supporting coup plotters trying to topple their governments.

Other heads of state in attendance are Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo, Mathieu Kerekou of Benin and Mamadou Tanja of Niger, as well as the host, Ghanaian President John Kufuor.

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