AU, ECOWAS urge halt in Ivorian fighting

  Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- The African Union (AU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Saturday called for an immediate halt to renewed fighting in Cote d'Ivoire, after a meeting convened by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in his capacity as AU chairman.
   The meeting, also attended by AU Commission chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare and a representative of the ECOWAS chairman, Ghana's foreign minister Nana Akuffo-Addo, also resolved to set up a commission to address the political issues involved in the Ivorian crisis   Expressing "deep concern" at the outbreak of renewed fighting, the meeting also called on the UN to change the mandate of its peacekeeping force in Cote d'Ivoire to enable it prevent further violence in the country.
The crisis talks were held at the Otta farm of the Nigerian leader, following bombing raids on rebel-held territories by government planes Thursday and Friday.
   According to UN estimates, 18 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the bombing raids, which marked the first outbreak of fighting since the Ivorian peace agreement was signed nearly two years ago.
   There are 10,000 UN and French forces in Cote d'Ivoire, which has been divided into two since the military rebellion in 2002, with the rebels holding on to the north and the government in the south.

06 november 2004 16:25:00

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