ECOWAS Summit on Cote d'Ivoire postponed

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- The extra-ordinary Summit of ECOWAS leaders, slated for Accra, Ghana, Saturday to discuss the worsening situation in Cote d'Ivoire, has been postponed indefinitely, ECOWAS sources told PANA in Lagos Friday.
No reason was given for the postponement, but the sources said ECOWAS leaders were consulting on the meeting.
The Summit had been called to consider the latest developments in Cote d'Ivoire, where new rebel groups have sprung up, and how to restore peace and security to the troubled country.
The immediate task before the sub-regional leaders is to re-establish the broken-down cease-fire agreement, signed 17 October between the government and the main rebel group, Patriotic Movement of Cote d'Ivoire (MPCI).
Following the 19 September mutiny in Cote d'Ivoire, ECOWAS leaders met in Accra 29 September to set up a Contact Group co-ordinated by Togolese President Gnassingbe Eyadema to mediate in the crisis between the Ivorian government and the rebels.
A cease-fire was agreed but the crisis has since escalated with the proliferation of rebel groups and renewed fighting, which undermines the ECOWAS-brokered peace talks in Lome, Togo, and the deployment of a regional peace-force contributed by ECOWAS member States.
While MPCI controls the northern swath of the country, the new rebel groups - Grand West Patriotic Movement (MPIGO) and the Movement for Justice and Peace (MJP) - are said to have taken control of most cities in the western region, including Danane, Touleupleu, Biankouma, Touba and part of Man.
The new groups have hinted at the possibility of merging with MPCI.

06 december 2002 11:11:00




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