Côte d'Ivoire

Annan sends envoy to troubled Ivory Coast

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New York (dpa) - Benin's government minister Albert Tevoerdjre was appointed Friday a special representative for the United Nations in Ivory Coast where mounting violence and a failed peace accord is wrecking the once peaceful nation.

Tevoerdjre, appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, will try to convince the government and rebel groups to implement an agreement for a ceasefire and the establishment of a coalition government. The country's president has already rejected the agreement, negotiated with the help of France.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, in the meantime voiced serious concern over the growing violence and he condemned ''death squad activity and the propaganda carried by some national media aimed at inciting war and encouraging hatred and xenophobia.''

He urged the government and rebel groups to end the violence and punish those responsible for it. He said the U.N. would assist in the effort if asked.

Another U.N. official, Carolyn McAskie, who completed travels in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Liberia and Guinea this week, said unrest in Ivory Coast is affecting its neighbours, particularly on the humanitarian situation.

''There is a lot that needs to be done by the international community to help,'' she said. ''I think we should be generous at this time.''

She said there are between two and three million people from Burkina Faso and hundreds of thousands from other countries living in Ivory Coast. Some of them have become citizens of Ivory Coast, who could be asked to return home if violence spreads further.

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Copyright (c) 2003 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 02/07/2003 14:41:46

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