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Côte D’ivoire Decision On Elections Eligibility

ANNAN WELCOMES DECISION BY CÔTE D’IVOIRE PRESIDENT ON ELIGIBILITY FOR ELECTIONS

New York, Apr 28 2005 4:00PM

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the decision by President Laurent Gbagbo of Côte d’Ivoire to accept a South African-negotiated plan that the candidates of all parties that signed a 2003 peace agreement ending fierce fighting would be eligible for the presidential elections at the end of October.

The West African country’s political leaders had signed such an accord in Pretoria, South Africa, on 6 April.

“The Secretary-General welcomes this development, while stressing that it is vital that the parties take all necessary steps to ensure that the elections are free, fair and transparent and conform to international standards,” a UN spokesman said in a statement.

The parties should carry out their commitments under the Pretoria Agreement “promptly, in good faith and without exception or reservation” so as to advance the peace process quickly, it said.

The constitutional obstacle to one of Mr. Gbagbo’s rivals has been the requirement that both parents of a presidential candidate be citizens of Côte d'Ivoire.

Côte d'Ivoire, long the world’s leading cocoa producer, has been split between the north, held by the rebel Forces Nouvelles, and the south, under the control of the Government's Defence and Security Forces of Côte d'Ivoire, since a 2002 coup attempt against Mr. Gbagbo failed and was turned into an insurgency.

2005-04-28 00:00:00.000

ENDS


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