Ivory Coast: January 14, 2003


Leaders of all three Ivorian rebel groups left for the Paris peace talks on 14 January, traveling through Senegal so that they could lunch with President Wade (who currently chairs ECOWAS). The day before, the Ivory Coast's government had signed a ceasefire with both the MPJ and MPIGO rebel groups in Lome, Ghana. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was also a signatory to this ceasefire, which took effect at midnight. The Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast (MPCI) rebel leaders had already signed a ceasefire on 17 October. 

Meanwhile, the French warship Orage took on 179 Senegalese soldiers with their vehicles and equipment and moved them to Ivory Coast , to join a 24-man advance team who had been in-country the beginning of January. Another "support group" of about 40 Senegalese troops followed by air. 

Meanwhile, the UN Refugee agency (UNHCR) has urged the government to stop recruiting Ivorian youths from amongst the crowds of refugees, since they become somewhat overenthusiastic militiamen. In the same letter, the UNHCR asked that Liberian refugees be allowed passage through the checkpoints manned by pro-government Ivorian youth groups. - Adam Geibel


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