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ECOWAS Summit Focuses On Conflict in West Africa

West African leaders will focus on efforts to resolve a string of conflicts in the region when they meet in the Ghanaian capital Accra for their annual summit on Friday. They are also expected confirm Ghanaian President John Kufuor as chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for a further year. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the executive secretary of ECOWAS, told IRIN on Thursday that leaders of the 15-nation regional organisation would focus on moves to prevent a fragile peace agreement in Cote d’Ivoire from crumbling away, the consolidation of peace in Liberia and moves to restore Guinea-Bissau to democracy following a bloodless coup there in September. Chambas said the heads of state would seek to thrash out a deal that would lead to the early return of rebels occupying the north of Cote d’Ivoire to a broad-based government of national reconciliation. The rebels, who are officially known as “The New Forces,” walked out in September, protesting that President Laurent Gbagbo was failing to implement fully a French-brokered peace agreement signed in January. Full Story

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