Ivory Coast: May 7, 2003

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As an indicator that reconciliation may be a distant goal, West African peacekeepers were building a wall on the road outside Tiebissou to mark the demarcation line between government and rebel-controlled territory. The four foot high wall was one of seven under construction at peacekeeper checkpoints.

Those living in areas controlled by rebels say pensioners and civil servants have been unable to get at their money since the start of hostilities. Banks in the rebel-held north have been closed since September and the route to government held cities like the official capital Yamoussoukro and the coastal business center of Abidjan is clogged with roadblocks and checkpoints. 

The local adult civilians are also worried that the longer the younger rebel recruits are allowed to taste the power they have during a war, the harder it will be to disarm them. Even if all sides stop skirmishing, there remain major unresolved questions to be solved before thousands of fighters will let themselves be disarmed - like who gets the defense and security positions in a new power-sharing government. Weeks of diplomatic jockeying have produced no agreement on these two posts. - Adam Geibel 

 

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