RealNews

Ivorians welcome return of rebels

The ruling party in Ivory Coast has welcomed the return to the government of national unity of rebel New Forces ministers. Ivorian Popular Front leader Pascal Affi Nguessan told the BBC he was “satisfied and relieved”. The northern-based rebels boycotted cabinet meetings in September in protest at President Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to implement peace accords. Rebel spokesman Sidiki Konate said they would take up their posts on Friday. Mr Nguessan said the rebel decision indicated a strong commitment to be part of the peace process. He said the return of former rebel ministers meant that the Ivory Coast could now aim towards a return to a normal way of life. Elections are planned for the Ivory Coast in 2005. About 3,800 French peacekeepers and 1,500 African troops man a buffer zone separating the two sides. The two sides began disarming a week ago. Full Story

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