In Côte d’Ivoire, Annan gathers leaders to discuss plan for progress

5 July 2006

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today held a “mini-summit” in Côte d’Ivoire, meeting with regional leaders in a bid to push forward a plan for advancing the peace process in the country, which has been divided between a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south since 2002.

“The Secretary-General today is in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire, where he is convening a mini-summit to discuss the implementation of the road map for that country,” UN spokesman Marie Okabe told reporters in New York. The road map was put forward by the UN-authorized International Working Group (IWG) mandated to monitor progress in the Ivorian peace process.

“He met earlier today with South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is attending that mini-summit, and, after that, he met with Côte d’Ivoire’s President, Laurent Gbagbo.”

Mr. Annan’s meetings today followed on talks he held earlier this month in the margins of the African Union (AU) summit in Banjul, the Gambia, where he met with President Gbagbo and a number of concerned regional leaders.

Asked on that occasion about elections scheduled for October, Mr. Annan said ideally, Côte d’Ivoire should adhere to that timetable. “But, for technical reasons, if there has to be any delay, I hope it will be a very, very brief one and there must be elections, in any event, by the end of the year,” he said.


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