The Chief of Staff for the French Forces, General Henri Bentegeat detected an encouraging spirit of reconciliation since his last visit in December, but told the Ivorians that more progress needed to be made on disarmament agreements or the country risks ruining all of the progress made in ending its civil war. Disarmament is due to begin in August and finish in mid-September, but the rebels have threatened to pull out of the process after accusing President Gbagbo delaying the naming of key defense and security ministers.
That isn't stopping Bohoun Bouabre, the Ivory Coast's minister of economy and finance from stumping around New York to assure potential American investors that his country is safe and open for their business. Meanwhile, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. was awarded three major contracts for the development of the Baobab Field, which is located on 25km offshore from the Ivory Coast. The field has estimated recoverable reserves of 200 million barrels of oil. The Ivory Coast's state-owned PETROCI Holding has a 15 percent interest in this new oil field. Qu'elle surprise. - Adam Geibel