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Annan calls for constitutional reform, disarmament in Côte d'Ivoire

Annan calls for constitutional reform, disarmament in Côte d'Ivoire

With the peace process in Côte d'Ivoire stalled as deadlines for key accords pass without action, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged the parties to make good on their pledges to change the constitution and begin disarmament.

Under an accord reached over the summer in Accra, Ghana, the parties agreed to adopt legislative reforms, revise the Constitution's provisions relating to eligibility by nationality for the presidency, and begin disarmament.

Through a statement released today by his spokesman, the Secretary-General noted that these provisions "have not been met."

President Laurent Gbagbo, in an address to the nation on 12 October, said the political crisis should be resolved without further delay - a view the spokesman said Mr. Annan shares.

"To this end, the Secretary-General urges the political forces in Côte d'Ivoire to ensure the full and unconditional implementation" of the Accra III agreement, as well as an accord they struck in 2003 in Linas-Marcoussis, France, the spokesman said, emphasizing the need to address constitutional reform and disarmament.

The Secretary-General "urges adoption of all legislative reforms without delay, and also appeals to all armed elements, including militias, to commence disarmament at the earliest."

The statement also welcomed President Gbagbo's condemnation of all acts of violence against the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) and the French peacekeeping forces, and said it "should be unconditionally enforced by all authorities concerned."

Côte d'Ivoire's current crisis broke out in September 2002. The rebel Force Nouvelles dominates the north, and UN peacekeepers serving with UNOCI are stationed between the opposing sides.