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Ivory Coast 'at Crossroads'

France’s senior army chief has warned that the fragile peace in Ivory Coast is at risk unless fighters involved in the recent civil war rapidly begin disarming. General Henri Bentegeat said after a 48-hour visit that the situation was returning to normal thanks to French and African peacekeepers. But, he added, “if we don’t resolutely commit to… the regrouping, the demobilisation and disarmament, the reintegration of all the parties involved in the conflict… we risk ruining everything”. Some 4,000 French and 1,000 African Ecowas troops are deployed in Ivory Coast where the government and rebels declared an end to a brief but ruinous civil war on 4 July. “We are, in my view, at a turning point,” General Bentegeat, the commander of France’s armed forces, told reporters in Abidjan, the main city. Ivory Coast, a former French colony, remains largely split between the rebel-controlled, mainly Muslim north and west and the loyalist south. Full Story

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