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US Urges National Reconciliation Government For Ivory Coast - 2003-03-06

The United States joined African diplomats and others Thursday in urging the parties to the conflict in Ivory Coast to cooperate with efforts by the country's Prime Minister Seydou Diarra to form a government of national reconciliation. It said fulfilling the terms of the Marcoussis peace accords for Ivory Coast is an "urgent" task.

A written statement by State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said "time is running out" in Ivory Coast, with the economy in decline, large areas without effective governance and with the country's people "understandably impatient" about the lack of progress toward resolving the crisis.

Mr. Reeker said all parties in Ivory Coast must realize there is no military solution and that no winner will emerge if Ivory Coast slides into full-scale civil war.

He said the risks of increased anarchy and war grow with each failure to form a unity government, and that now is the time for President Laurent Gbagbo, opposition parties and rebel leaders to put aside partisan differences and act together to protect the unity and well-being of the country.

The United States has strongly supported the Ivory Coast peace accords, which were reached in January with French and West African mediation help in Marcoussis, near Paris, but are as yet unfulfilled.