United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the agreement by Côte d'Ivoire's opposing parties to seize the opportunity presented by South African President Thabo Mbeki's mediation and to renew their commitment to previously agreed peace accords.
With President Mbeki continuing his efforts on behalf of the African Union (AU) and in cooperation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), Mr. Annan said, "The parties must now agree upon a detailed programme of action for the implementation of their commitments within a clear timeframe."
In a statement issued by his spokesman, he added that they should ensure that "genuine progress, which is required to prepare for the holding of elections in October 2005, is made."
To stop fierce fighting over election results and a failed coup attempt, the groups previously agreed to the Linas-Marcoussis accord in 2003 and the Accra III pact this year.
Meanwhile, the group calling itself the Young Patriots, who planned to demonstrate on Saturday to demand the withdrawal of French Licorne peacekeeping troops from the country, told UNOCI that their demonstration would be peaceful.
The UN mission's radio station, UNOCI FM, went on the air in the northern town of Bouaké yesterday. Programming emphasized peace messages, news and features on human rights, disarmament and the humanitarian impact of the conflict.