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Annan Seeks Support for Ivory Coast Peacekeepers

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed to the Security Council Tuesday for resources to support regional African forces in war-torn Ivory Coast.

Secretary-General Annan says the Economic Community Of West African States, ECOWAS, has increased its presence to help contain the violence in Ivory Coast. Now, Mr. Annan says, ECOWAS forces need international support.

"I appeal to members of the [Security] Council and the broader international community to quickly provide ECOWAS with the additional financial resources that will be required to sustain the ECO-Force for the next six months," he said.

The secretary-general also called on the Security Council to establish a small U.N. mission in Ivory Coast to complement regional African and French peace-keeping forces.

Mr. Annan made his comments during a special session of the Security Council on the conflict.

In response, Ivorian minister of foreign affairs, Bamba Mamadou said the ECOWAS troops are needed to save a fragile French-brokered peace accord for another two years.

"We hope that ECO-Force will remain in Cote d'Ivoire [Ivory Coast] until the upcoming elections, the elections in 2005. We hope that with the support of the international community and the presence of ECO-Force, we will be able to implement all the provisions in the Marcoussis agreement in an atmosphere of peace and calm," he said.

Mr. Mamadou says international assistance is needed to rein in the violence in the western part of the country caused by rebels from Liberia and Sierra Leone and to stem the flow of small arms from across the border.

The Security Council took up the crisis in Ivory Coast just hours after the United Nations appealed for $85 million in humanitarian aid to help three million civilians affected by the war.