Ivory Coast, rebel leader sign new peace accord

March 4, 2007 21:48


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Ivory Coast's president and main rebel leader signed a peace deal Sunday that will reorganize the government, saying they expect this latest in a series of agreements to finally bring long-delayed elections to the West African country. An accord read aloud in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, said President Laurent Gbagbo and rebel leader Guillaume Soro agreed to come together to form a new government in five weeks. The accord said they would then restart programs to grant amnesty to many criminals, demilitarize pro-government militias, and issue identification papers to allow people to vote. War-divided Ivory Coast has been split between a government-run south and a rebel-held north since insurgents failed to topple President Laurent Gbagbo in a 2002 attempted coup. The two sides have signed previous peace deals, the most recent a UN-backed accord that extends Gbagbo's mandate to rule as a transitional president until elections set for October.

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