Deadly clashes in Côte dIvoire prompt Annan to urge reconciliation

“The Secretary-General urges all Ivorian parties and every citizen of Côte d’Ivoire to put the national interest foremost, stop all confrontations, and resume, without further delay and without any preconditions, the full implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement,” UN spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters in New York.The government and rebel Forces Nouvelles signed the agreement in Linas-Marcoussis, France, in January 2003, ending fierce fighting and setting up a government of national unity. In March 2003, another accord – the Accra II agreement – was concluded in a bid to resolve a dispute over appointing the ministers for defence and internal security.Through his spokesman, Mr. Annan reminded the parties that the UN is preparing to deploy a peacekeeping force, but the Ivorian parties would have to show the political will to reject violence and work towards genuine reconciliation and mutual accommodation. Violent attacks broke out at demonstrations in the main commercial centre of Abidjan, where sporadic shooting was heard, according to the UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (MINUCI). Initial reports indicated that some 20 to 25 people may have been killed, and many others reportedly injured. One person was also killed during demonstrations in the capital, Yamoussoukro. A protest in Bouaké was generally peaceful.The Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Albert Tevoedjre, urged all sides to halt the fighting, according to Mr. Eckhard.On the eve of the demonstrations, Mr. Annan yesterday appealed to all sides to exercise restraint.The Security Council is scheduled to discuss the situation in Côte d’Ivoire tomorrow. read more