Rebels in Ivory Coast say they are rejoining a power-sharing government, after receiving assurances President Laurent Gbagbo will implement a stalled January peace deal.

Ivorian rebels decided to rejoin the reconciliation government at a meeting in their northern stronghold of Bouake.

Spokesman Mamadou Kone said it follows three weeks of negotiations among rebels. Mr. Kone said rebels received assurances from both the European Union and the United Nations that Mr. Gbagbo will implement the French-mediated peace accord signed last January.

The deal, among other things, gives voting rights to many northerners now considered immigrants.

Nine rebel ministers left the power-sharing government in September, accusing Mr. Gbagbo of blocking implementation of the deal. They are now expected to take their seats at a government meeting later this week.

The decision follows recent reports of a possible split among rebel political and military leaders, but Mr. Kone denied any such split existed. He said all rebels, military and political, agreed it was a good decision to leave the government, and that it is now the right time to rejoin.

He said there is now more pressure on Mr. Gbagbo to abide by the peace accord.

Earlier Monday, exiled rebel leader Ibrahim Coulibaly said he ordered rebels to rejoin the government. Mr. Coulibaly, a former army sergeant, calls himself the new president of the rebels, but some rebel leaders deny such a position even exists.

Head of the rebels' political wing and the Communications Minister in the power-sharing government, Guillaume Soro, has so far presented himself as the rebel leader.

Mr. Coulibaly is under investigation in France in connection with an alleged assassination plot against Mr. Gbagbo. He has been presented as the mastermind of the insurgency against President Gbagbo which began in September 2002.