Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire: ECOWAS contact group meets in Yamoussoukro

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Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) - A summit of the ECOWAS contact group on the Ivorian crisis commenced here Monday afternoon with four heads of state in attendance.
Attending besides Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo and new Prime Minister Seydou Diarra are Presidents John Kufuor of Ghana, (ECOWAS chair), Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo (Contact Group coordinator) and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria.

Vice President Jacob Zuma, representing South African Head of State and African Union chair Thabo Mbeki is also attending the talks alongside interim AU commission president Amara Essy.

Equally on roll are ECOWAS executive secretary Mohamed Ibn Chambas and Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, special representative of the UN secretary-general.

Sources close to the ECOWAS general secretariat said the contact group will try to convince signatories to a peace plan agreed to last month in Marcoussis, France, on the Ivorian conflict to "take a softer line" and ensure effective implementation of the agreement.

The Yamoussoukro summit comes barely three days after President Gbagbo addressed his compatriots on the Paris-brokered controversial deal, urging Ivorians across the board to fall in with the "spirit" of the agreement.

Conspicuously absent from the meeting are the three Ivorian rebel movements.

Patriotic Movement of Cote d'Ivoire (MPCI) secretary general Guillaume Soro turned down an invitation to the summit, which he dismissed as another gimmick of Gbagbo's, insisting the government should rather embark on implementing the Marcoussis Agreement.

Pan African News Agency
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