A summit convened in Ghana by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to try to heal the bitter divisions in post-conflict Côte d’Ivoire met for an extra day today, holding closed-door talks on the West African country’s constitution with Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Seydou Diarra.
The main topic has been the lack of adherence to the 2003 Linas-Marcoussis peace agreement. Mr. Gbagbo and the opposition Force Nouvelles hit an impasse largely over differences of interpretation. The President suspended his support for opposition ministers in the transitional government in May and the Forces Nouvelles left the government.
Yesterday’s closed session, co-hosted by the chairman of the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) and President of Ghana, John Kufuor, went through working meals and ended at 8 p.m.
Meanwhile, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today reported that people in northern Côte d’Ivoire are resorting to drinking water from rivers and swamps because most villages had no functioning pumps.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and their non-governmental organization (NGO) partners inoculated 4.5 million children younger than 5 against polio across the country after eight people fell victim to the virus, OCHA said.
In the past month, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) fed over 230,000 people, mainly in the west. In the southwest, convoys were delayed by being stopped repeatedly at checkpoints and asked for payment.
The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) distributed seeds and tools to 8,000 people, who planted lowland rice, maize and vegetables.