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Togo President to Meet Ivory Coast Rebels - 2003-11-16


A delegation of former rebels from Ivory Coast, known as the New Forces, has traveled to Togo to discuss with President Gnassingbe Eyadema options for reviving the failing peace process in their country.

The New Forces, made up of rebel groups that seized the north half of Ivory Coast in an uprising last year, were brought into a government of reconciliation in March, but the peace process that put them there is currently faltering.

Togolese President Eyadema, who is meeting the New Forces delegation at Kara, in northern Togo, is eager to see that peace process get back on track.

Speaking on Friday as he left Ivory Coast after a special meeting with President Laurent Gbagbo, the Togolese president said that the problem in Ivory Coast was that the country remained divided. He said that he and others were doing everything in their power to see a surrender of arms throughout the country.

He has played an important role in Ivory Coast's efforts towards peace. In November and December of last year, President Eyadema supervised negotiations that cleared the way for a French-mediated peace deal in January.

The peace process began breaking down after the New Forces withdrew from the government of reconciliation in September, alleging that President Gbagbo was breaking the rules by making key ministerial appointments unilaterally.