RealNews

Warring Sides Agree to Cease-Fire on Ivory Coast-Liberia Border

In what could be a turning point for the seven-month-old conflict in this country, the warring parties said today that they had agreed to what they called a comprehensive cease-fire, this time with the blessings of what is widely seen as its meddling neighbor to the west, Liberia. Liberian and Ivoirian government officials said today that negotiations had yielded an agreement for a joint patrol along the lawless Liberia-Ivory Coast frontier. In principle, the joint force to monitor the cease-fire would include army commanders from both countries, Ivoirian rebel leaders and officials from French and West African peacekeeping forces here. The pact is expected to be signed in coming days. It comes when looting and pillaging on both sides of the border threaten to unravel a delicate peace deal in Ivory Coast and unnerve a Liberian government under growing pressure from its own insurgents. The presidents of both countries have accused each other of backing their rebel enemies. Each side has strenuously denied the other’s claims. The implications of today’s agreement extend beyond the prospects for peace in western Ivory Coast. It signals an attempt by the Liberian government to clear its name as the pariah of West Africa, as it faces a renewal of United Nations sanctions as early as next week. Full Story

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