News and Information

Mbeki seeks to push Ivorian peace
January 11, 2005
South African President Thabo Mbeki has arrived in Ivory Coast for further talks to try to end the civil war.
On Monday, African leaders called for the reinforcement of United Nations troops there with a beefed up mandate.

An African Union security summit also said a critical constitutional change easing nationality restrictions could be put to a referendum.

Mr Mbeki has been mediating since an army attack on the rebel-held north last November.


The AU also called for an extension of the deadline on a second round of UN sanctions, which would include the freezing of assets of people who are not engaged in the peace process.

We are going to push very hard to make sure all of these matters that need to be addressed are addressed

Thabo Mbeki
South African President
This is intended to give Mr Mbeki more time to convince all sides in the conflict that disarmament and constitutional reforms can make presidential elections feasible within 10 months.

The summit, held in Gabon, also said a referendum on the country's controversial eligibility laws for the presidency could be an option to ease tensions.

The amendment has been a key sticking point in the peace process, and would allow the main opposition candidate to stand.

President Gbagbo has said he wants a referendum. Opposition politicians oppose the move.

"We are going to push very hard to make sure all of these matters that need to be addressed are addressed," Mr Mbeki told the BBC from the summit in Libreville, Gabon.

Other business

The AU Peace and Security Council also addressed the conflict in Sudan's western region of Darfur.

It called on African states which have agreed to deploy peacekeeping forces to ensure their commitments were honoured in time.

On renewed fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the AU made a resolution saying it would help the country in disarming and neutralising militias linked to Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

The AU meeting said ending these conflicts was vital for the development of the whole continent, and called on the international community for support.


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