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Ivory Coast Peace Negotiations Continue in Togo

Mediators working to broker an end to the rebellion in Ivory Coast are reviewing proposals for a peace accord that were presented to them this week by both rebels and the government.

The talks, which are taking place in Togo, have now entered their fourth week, with little progress reported thus far. But after receiving new proposals from the rebels and the Ivory Coast government, mediators say they hope there will be a breakthrough soon.

The government presented its proposals on Wednesday. Officials gave no details of what was contained in them, but sources close to the negotiations said the government had reaffirmed its demand for the rebels to disarm immediately.

Proposals submitted by rebels on Tuesday did not appear to make many concessions, either. However, a copy of the rebel proposal showed the rebels appear to have softened their language.

The insurgents, who launched their rebellion on September 19, have all along demanded the resignation of President Laurent Gbagbo and the holding of new elections. Although rebel leaders say they will stick to these demands, they were not specifically mentioned in the draft accord they proposed.

Instead, the document says the insurgents want the establishment of a new political order.

In their draft, the rebels called on the government to address the issue of nationality, which has long divided the country.

The rebel group is made up largely of renegade soldiers from the north of Ivory Coast, who complain they have been the victims of discrimination by southerners who control the government. Some southerners refer to people from the north of Ivory Coast as foreigners.

Two years ago, the constitutional court banned northern opposition leader Alassane Ouattara from running for president. It said it based its decision on allegations that he was not of full Ivorian nationality.