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Ivory Coast Officials, Rebels Review Partial Peace Deal - 2002-11-13

Peace talks to end Ivory Coast's seven-week-old rebellion are moving ahead as rebels and government officials review the draft of a partial agreement.

Mediators who have been working to jumpstart the negotiations in Togo say the agreement being reviewed by rebels and the Ivory Coast government seeks to address some, but not all, of the rebels' political demands.

There have been no face-to-face talks between the rebel and government delegations since Saturday, when the rebels announced they were temporarily suspending negotiations. The rebels pulled out in protest, following the killing on government-controlled territory of the brother of one of their leaders.

The rebels decided to resume negotiations after they held a series of consultations with the chief mediator, Togolese President Ngassingbe Eyadema, this week. Talks, however, were to resume without the head of the insurgent delegation, who returned Monday to the rebel stronghold of Bouake in central Ivory Coast.

The head of the government delegation, Laurent Dona Fologo, said he hoped an accord could be signed by the end of this week.

Despite the continuation of talks and the stated optimism of some officials, both sides said they were preparing to fight in the event that the negotiations failed.

Ivorian military sources in Abidjan said foreign advisers were on the ground to assist the government with the training of troops and the protection of high-ranking officials.

The country's defense minister, in an interview, denied Western media reports that foreign mercenaries had been deployed in the country.