November 12, 2007

Ivory Coast need peace and elections

US Deputy Secretary of State, John Negroponte, has urged the political leaders in Ivory Coast to follow up on a peace deal and hold elections. The peace deal which was signed in March officially ended a civil war in the once stable country. Former enemies, President Laurent Gbagbo and ex-rebel leader Guillaume Soro forged an unlikely partnership with Mr Soro appointed prime minister. But since then there has been little progress towards unification and polls.

One of the greatest problems, is that in recent years identity has been a divisive issue and the question of who is Ivorian and has the right to vote has been central to the country's problems. Last week, the government announced that immigrants no longer needed residence permits which it said would hopefully help unite the country's citizens. But as the country moves, albeit slowly, towards elections, some analysts worry that the issue of ethnicity could flare up again.

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