Ivorian PM under pressure to quit office

Abidjan- Côte d'Ivoire (PANA) -- Members of the New Forces, a former rebel group in Cote d'Ivoire, have asked their general secretary, Guillaume Soro, to resign f rom his duties as Prime minister of the country.
In a statement issued in Bouake after a meeting of top officials of the former r ebel group, The New Forces said Soro should not continue to serve in a governmen t that was deliberately delaying elections.
Elections in Cote d'Ivoire were supposed to have been held in 2005 when the tenu re of incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo was to expire.
In 2002, Soro's rebels attempted to overthrow Gbagbo's regime, which they called discriminatory because it viewed northerners, including those who served in the army, as not Ivorians.
A civil war then erupted in what was once West Africa's most stable and prospero us country.
Gbagbo deployed a military force to crush the rebels -- his loyalists sneered th ey were armed bandits controlled by France -- who seized Bouake, the country's s e cond-largest city.
When the fighting subsided, the government remained in charge of the south, and the New Forces grabbed control of the north.
A buffer zone or "zone of confidence", patrolled by United Nations peacekeepers and French troops, separated the two belligerents.
The rebel group also accused the ruling party of refusing to redeploy territoria l and tax administrators to Bouaké, its stronghold, in accordance with an agreem e nt signed 22 December 2008.

15 april 2009 08:10:00

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