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UN Extends Mandate of Peacekeeping Forces in Ivory Coast

The United Nations Security Council has voted to extend the mandate of U.N. and French peacekeeping forces in Ivory Coast until June 30.

The mandate of the nearly 8.000 U.N. peacekeepers and 2,000 French troops was set to expire Wednesday.

The forces help maintain a fragile ceasefire between Ivorian rebels who control the north and government forces in the south.

The United Nations is overseeing a transition government and peace process aimed at reuniting Ivory Coast, which has been divided since a 2002 civil war.

U.N. officials expanded the powers of Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny late last year so he can implement a peace plan and prepare for elections by October 31.

However, President Laurent Gbagbo has resisted the move.

The United Nations rejected an alternative peace plan drawn up by President Gbagbo.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.