Monitoring Group finds progress in peace process in Côte d'Ivoire
Three opposition cabinet ministers have been reinstated and President Laurent Gbagbo has turned over some responsibilities to Prime Minister Seydou Diarra, according to the report of the tripartite Monitoring Group, made up of representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and the UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (ONUCI).
The group is mandated to monitor steps by the Government to implement the Accra III Agreement, which was signed at a summit convened in July by Mr. Annan and President John Kufuor of Ghana. That accord binds the Government to the 2003 Linas-Marcoussis Agreement which ended bitter fighting in the West African country and led to a government of national reconciliation.
Accra III emphasizes those clauses of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement that had blocked consensus and, therefore, implementation. In that regard the leaders made new pledges on such areas as eligibility to become presidential candidates, the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process for former rebel combatants, and the delegation of some powers by the President to the Prime Minister until elections scheduled for October 2005.
The country is currently divided, with peacekeeping forces from the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (ONUCI) stationed between the opposition-held north and Government-controlled south.