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UN Envoy Urges Ivorian Leaders 'Not to Blow' Chance at Peace

The outgoing head of the U.N. mission in Ivory Coast is urging the country's leaders not to waste what he calls a historic chance for peace.

Pierre Schori said Friday in New York that Ivorian leaders should not, in his words "blow it this time." He said they will not be able to make more excuses if they do not come to an agreement now to get out of the current stalemate.

Despite a string of U.N.-backed peace deals, Ivory Coast has made little progress in reuniting after a brief civil war, which broke out in 2002. The country is divided between rebels in the north and the government-run south.

Schori also said that his own mission in Ivory Coast sometimes lacked a sense of urgency and crisis awareness.

Schori said peacekeepers sometimes did not see women as their equals. He proposed a new position at the United Nations to monitor gender equality on the ground.

Earlier Friday, Schori briefed the U.N. Security Council on his two years working in Ivory Coast.

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