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Ivorian dispute 'bad for region'
January 19, 2005
Ivory Coast's political rivals have been urged to trust each other, or risk destroying their country.
Ghana's President John Kufuor made the appeal at the start of the annual summit of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).

Ivory Coast has been divided in two since an uprising in September 2002.

Mr Kufuor said the attitude of the various faction leaders in Ivory Coast was giving the whole region a bad image.

He also said that the July deadline for introducing a single currency, the eco, in five West African countries would not be met.

"It would seem that a more practical date will have to be set," he said.

Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia have agreed to set up a single currency, which will eventually be merged with the CFA franc used by French-speaking West African nations.


The leaders of the 15-member Ecowas bloc will also choose a new chairman from among the presidents of Benin, Niger and The Gambia.

Mr Kufuor said Ivory Coast's government and various factions should "try to overcome their mutual suspicions to enable them to arrest the security situation which continues to seriously threaten to divide and destroy their nation".

Since the Ivorian air force broke a truce by attacking the rebels in November, South African President Thabo Mbeki, on behalf of the African Union (AU), has been trying to get a power-sharing government back on track.

Before leaving for Accra, Mr Gbagbo hinted that disarmament remained the key question.

Rebel forces refuse to disarm until laws on nationality and who can contest presidential elections are changed.

The West African leaders are also set to discuss a common agricultural policy, along the lines of the European Union and a regional power pool to supply cheap electricity.


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