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Côte d’Ivoire: Leaders should continue dialogue

Côte d’Ivoire: Annan encourages leaders to continue dialogue, pledges UN support

Welcoming Wednesday’s meeting between the main leaders in Côte d’Ivoire, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged them to continue their constructive dialogue and pledged the world body’s support in realizing their goals.

The meeting in Yamoussoukro marked the first time that key political and military figures gathered together on Ivorian soil since the civil war broke out in 2002. It was convened by Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny and included the participation of former President Henri Konan Bedié, Alassane Ouattara, leader of the opposition Rally of Republicans (RDR) party, and Guilliame Soro, leader of the rebel Forces Nouvelles.

The Secretary-General, in a statement released by his spokesman, called the meeting “a significant step towards sustained dialogue and building trust among these leaders, which is indispensable to the return of peace and reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire.”

He noted that the meeting enabled the parties to address a number of key issues with a view to moving the peace process forward.

“The Secretary-General encourages the Ivorian leaders to continue this constructive dialogue,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. “He assures the Ivorian parties of the United Nations’ support for the implementation of the recommendations of the Yamoussoukro meeting.”

In another development, the Secretary-General announced the composition of a group of experts set up by the Security Council to improve mechanisms for keeping arms from both sides in the divided country, where the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) is trying to foster peace.

The group will be chaired by Alex Vines of the United Kingdom. Its other members are Agim de Bruycker of Belgium, Christian Dietrich of the United States, Oumar Dièye Sidi of Niger and Nawa Raj Silwal of Nepal, according to a letter from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council.

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