Côte d'Ivoire parties renew commitment to peace agreement
The diplomatic breakthrough came on Friday at a summit meeting convened by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Ghanaian President John Kufuor, head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo agreed to implement the provisions the 2003 Linas-Marcoussis Agreement and to adopt a decree spelling out the delegation of powers. He also reiterated past commitments to proceed with the adoption of all legal reforms envisaged under the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.
All the Ivorian parties reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring the support of their respective members of the National Assembly for the adoption of these legislative texts by the end of August.
They also undertook to start disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former fighters by mid-October. That process, which will be conducted on the basis of a specific timetable, will include all paramilitary and militia groups. In addition, agreement was reached on the need to restructure the defence and security forces.
The President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and the Ivorian political forces agreed on the urgency of resuming the work of the Government of National Reconciliation “in order to enable it to play its vital role of restoring normalcy in the country and for ensuring sustained implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement,” the UN said.
Recognizing the need to respect human rights and the rule of law, the parties agreed to cooperate fully with the International Commission of Inquiry looking into abuses committed in Côte d'Ivoire since the beginning of the crisis on 19 September 2002.
Speaking to the press after the agreement was reached, the Secretary-General stressed the need for follow-up. “It is important that the parties honour the commitments they've made here today to each other and to the people of Ivory Coast,” he said.
Asked about ministers who had been dismissed by President Gbagbo, Mr. Annan said “they will be back in Ivory Coast and the government will resume its work.”