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Anniversary of Failed Coup in Ivory Coast to be Observed Friday

The U.N. Mission in Ivory Coast has announced a series of memorial ceremonies on Friday to mark the first anniversary of the failed coup that threw the country into a crisis that continues today.

At a news conference in Abidjan, the Special U.N. Representative, Albert Tevoedjre, announced the plan, and called for all Ivorians to participate.

Mr. Tevoedjre said Friday will be a memorial day and a day for peace in Ivory Coast. He called for Ivorians to use the day to pray for peace in their country.

Many people see the memorial events, which will continue through the weekend, as designed, in part, to defuse the possibility of violent demonstrations that many here in Abidjan fear could take place this weekend. Many are dissatisfied with the faltering peace process.

In a rebellion on September 19, 2002 mutinous soldiers seized half of the country in what was the beginning of a crisis that has divided Ivory Coast. Peace is maintained by an international peacekeeping force that includes nearly 4,000 soldiers from the former colonial power, France.

But the peace accord reached near Paris has not been fully implemented. The most recent dispute is over the appointment of new defense and security ministers. But Mr. Tevoedjre, of the United Nations, declined to comment on the issue.

Mr. Tevoedjre said his committee's role is to observe events and to make reports to the U.N. Secretary General. He said it is not up to him to judge the cabinet nominees or the activities of the different ministries.

After a long delay, President Laurent Gbagbo announced his choices for the ministries of defense and security during the weekend. But that failed to end a six-month stand-off, when the former rebels rejected the president's nominees and accused him of breaking the peace deal by failing to consult them.