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28.07.2004 General News

President Kufuor confers with UN Secretary General

By GNA

Accra, July 28, GNA - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Chairman, President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday said the Ivorian crisis had now assumed an international proportion with the involvement of Busumuru Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General.

"Your presence in the deliberations on the crisis should serve as an impetus to move the peace process forward. It will also serve notice to the Ivorians that the issue is not local anymore", he said when the UN Secretary General paid a courtesy call on him at the Castle, Osu.

Busumuru Annan arrived in Accra on Tuesday to participate in the Ivorian Peace Talks, dubbed "ACCRA III" which opens on Thursday July 29. President Kufuor said this was not the time for individual personal ambition because Ivorians needed peace for the elections to decide who should rule.

He pledged his support and co-operation for the success of the meeting. Busumuru Annan said he was happy to return to work with ECOWAS Leaders in an endeavour to solve the Ivorian crisis.

He said he was optimistic that the factions involved in the crisis would participate in the deliberations with open mind determined to solve the problem, adding that both the government and the opposition had the responsibility to put their nation first if the problem were to be resolved.

"I hope they will rise above individual interest and desire for power and put the national interest first. This is the message to all. Without that spirit we cannot make any progress", he said.

Busumuru Annan said after the Third Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, several contacts had taken place and last Tuesday, the Leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso and Cote D'Ivoire met to deliberate on the crisis.

"We are making progress with the other African Leaders attending the meeting. Collectively we hope to help our Ivorian brothers and sisters to move the peace process forward", he said.

The meeting is being convened at the instance of the UN Secretary-General, as a follow-up to an initial one held at the AU meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this year.

Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and the Prime Minister Seydou Diarra would attend the meeting as well as South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki and Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Chairman of the AU.

The Presidents of Gabon, Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger, Mali, Benin and Ghana, are expected to attend the meeting.

Also expected are Mr Alpha Omar Konare, Chairman of the AU Commission, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Executive Secretary of ECOWAS and Mr Lansana Kouyate, Executive Secretary of L'organisation Pour La Francophonie.

Leaders of the main political parties, including former President Konan Bedie, Opposition Leader Alassane Ouattara, former Prime Minister Afie N'Guessan and Mr Guillamme Soro, Leader of the New Forces would be present.

The meeting would seek among other things to find ways of getting the Ivorian reconciliation process back on track. It would also encouraged 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 meeting would also review the progress of the Liberian comprehensive peace agreement (ACCRA ACCORD) with Mr Gyude Bryant, Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL). 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.

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