BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 22 January, 2003, 13:08 GMT
French attacked in Ivory Coast
French troops at their base at a school in Duekoue
French troops have been involved in clashes on Ivorian soil before
A French soldier has been seriously injured in skirmishes with rebels in the west of Ivory Coast.

Another French soldier was slightly injured in the rocket attack, the first clash since peace talks between the various sides in Ivory Coast opened in Paris a week ago.

The BBC's Paul Welsh in Paris says the talks are now likely to finish early on Wednesday, having made huge steps forward, but without a final deal.

Turning the progress made into a peace agreement will be left to presidents of African nations and France, over the weekend.

'Rogue elements'

The soldier who was seriously injured in Tuesday's clash had to have his forearm amputated, the French news agency AFP reported.

The clash took place during a patrol by the French about one kilometre north of their positions in Duekoue, which is held by western rebels.

The French were attacked by "rogue elements" and should not jeopardise the Paris talks, a French army official, Colonel Christian Baptiste, told the BBC's French service.

But the French Government has reacted by again urging all sides to respect the ceasefire.

Despite the progress made on some issues in Paris, there has been no breakthrough on the rebel demand for early elections, which our correspondent says will kill or complete a peace deal.

Before the talks began, rebels insisted there President Laurent Gbagbo must step down for any agreement. He refused.

Those close to the talks have told the BBC that they have not discussed the demand and that it will be left to the presidents to sort it out.

'Gbagbo must go'

Mr Gbagbo meets French President Jacques Chirac on Friday, and West African presidents are due to take part in a second Paris conference over the weekend.

The secretary general of the United Nations and the head of the African Union will be there too.

So will the president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, whose regime Mr Gbagbo has accused of supporting the rebels.

President Laurent Gbagbo
The rebels want President Gbagbo to step down

President Compaore was quoted as saying to a French newspaper, Le Parisien, on Tuesday that the only solution to the crisis in Ivory Coast was for President Gbagbo to go.

Mr Compaore also told the newspaper that Mr Gbagbo risked ending up "like Milosevic", before a war crimes tribunal, to explain violence by his supporters, mass graves and death squads.

'Constitutional coup'

The Paris negotiations have found solutions to the questions of how to guarantee human rights, of who can be a citizen of Ivory Coast, who can stand for parliament and to some extent, who can own land.

These were the problems at the root of the war.

Talks in Paris
Paris decided to mediate after the failure of talks in Lome, Togo

As Ivory Coast teeters between a peace deal and a new outbreak of fighting, there are dangerous signs of the conflict spreading to other parts of the region, after four months.

This week, the governments of both the Ivory Coast and Liberia claim to have been attacked across their joint border.

Meanwhile, parliamentary speaker Mamadou Koulibaly, who walked out of the Paris peace talks on Monday, has accused the French mediator, Pierre Mazeaud, of "trying to stage a constitutional coup" by trying to do something that "the rebels have failed to achieve militarily".

"He is putting pressure on us to please the rebels," he said.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Paul Welsh
"There are dangerous signs of the conflict spreading to other parts of the region"

Key stories

In pictures

Analysis
See also:

22 Jan 03 | Africa
08 Jan 03 | Africa
26 Sep 02 | Africa
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes