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Annan in Ivory Coast to Meet with President Gbagbo

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is in Ivory Coast to discuss the country's political crisis with President Laurent Gbagbo.

Mr. Annan says his meeting with Mr. Gbagbo Wednesday will include the peace process and upcoming elections scheduled for later this year. The presidents of Nigeria, South Africa, Niger and the Republic of Congo are expected to be at the talks in the capital, Yamoussoukro.

Implementation of a peace agreement signed in Pretoria, South Africa, last year has stalled over issues of disarmament of government militias and rebel forces, and the criteria for Ivorian citizenship.

Earlier this week, Mr. Annan told reporters that if the elections are delayed, they should take place before the end of the year.

A spokesman for Mr. Gbagbo, Lambert Seri Bahi, says his government is certain elections will take place by October, as stipulated in the peace accord.

The once thriving West African country has been divided between north and south since a failed 2002 coup attempt by northern rebels.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.