Accra, July, 29, GNA - A mini-Summit to find a peaceful solution to the Ivorian crisis opened in Accra on Thursday with a call on various parties to forge a consensus to move the Linas-Marcousis Accord forward.
"They should make the necessary compromises to move the peace process forward," President John Agyekum Kufuor, Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States said in his opening remarks. The UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is the Co-Chairman and several African leaders are attending the day's mini-summit.
President Kufuor expressed the concern of ECOWAS about the situation in that country. The African Union, he said, was also concerned because "the prolonged conflict in Cote d'Ivoire would perpetuate its negative consequences far beyond its boundaries and disrupt the era of renaissance, which the African Union had launched".
President Kufuor noted that the talks held during the Third Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union early this month in Addis Ababa on Cote d'Ivoire brought "fresh momentum" to the peace process.
"I am happy to report that since then, Presidents of sister countries of la Cote d'Ivoire, Mali and Burkina Faso have met in their reactivated Joint Commissions for Cooperation, as well as collectively." President Kufuor said a number of Presidents of West African countries had also conferred with various parties within Cote d'Ivoire. "These efforts have all been calculated to help relax the situation before today's (Thursday) meeting.
"There can be no doubt that we all share the same desire. That is, to restore normalcy to Cote d'Ivoire and get all sides to cooperate to work towards the next elections, by which the Ivorian people themselves will be enabled to decide who will lead them."
President Kufuor said his counterparts gathered at the meeting had come together "only to assist and encourage President (Laurent) Gbagbo and all the other Ivorian leaders of the various parties within the country.
"The solutions must come from working to get them to restore the process whereby the country can achieve peace and security, stability and eventually normalcy."
President Kufuor said in his estimation, the peace process so far had been dogged by excessive legalities.
"Now, a new tackle that will place more emphasis on a political solution is needed. This new approach might provide the much-needed breakthrough that will effectively support the required compromises and accommodation.
"A solid solution that will achieve a win-win situation for all the stakeholders and for the Ivorian nation as a whole is imperative." Leaders present include President Laurent Gbagbo of Cote d'Ivoire; President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, African Union Chairman; President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo; President Dennis Sassou-Nguesso of Congo Brazzaville and President Mamadou Tandja of Niger.
The others are President Amadou Toumani Toure of Mali; President Omar Bongo of Gabon and President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso; President Mathieu Kerekou of Benin; President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa; Mr Fernando Da Pieda-de Dias Dos Santos, Prime Minister of Angola and Mr Charles Gyude Bryant, Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL).
Also attending are Mr Seydou Diarra, Prime Minister; Former President Konan Bedie; Former Premier Affi N'guessan; Former Prime Minister Alassane Ouatarra and Guillaume Soro, Leader of the New Forces, all of Cote d'Ivoire.
Explaining the purpose of the Accra III Talks in a statement last Tuesday, Mr Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, Press Secretary to President Kufuor, said it would seek among other things to find ways of getting the Ivorian reconciliation process back on track.
It would also encourage all the parties to the conflict to implement fully the Linas-Marcoussis and ACCRA II Accords to facilitate the conduct of free, fair, credible and transparent elections in Cote d'Ivoire in 2005.
The statement said the leaders would review the progress of the Liberian comprehensive peace agreement (ACCRA ACCORD) with Mr Bryant. The review meeting on Liberia seeks to ensure that all members of the NTGL work together to establish the conditions necessary for the conduct of free and fair elections in October 2005.