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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 December, 2003, 18:39 GMT
Ivory media glum on peace prospects
Ivory Coast rebels
The rebels believe Laurent Gbagbo is losing control

The prevailing mood in the Ivory Coast press is decidedly gloomy with some papers convinced that war is about to recur on a number of fronts.

While some commentators fear an outbreak of fighting between the government and rebels, others see the danger of violence erupting between different factions within the army.

The opposition newspaper Le Patriote wonders whether Ivory Coast will "emerge from the turmoil?"

Finishing touches are being made to return the country to fire and sword
24 Heures

"There is no indication that it will. Rather, both politicians and soldiers have recently made statements and taken stands which give grounds for pessimism."

Abidjan's independent 24 Heures is certain that fighting is imminent.

"The regime has decided to disarm all the armed factions of the ex-rebels by force and if need be, crush and wipe them out," it quotes reliable sources as saying.

"Finishing touches are therefore being made to return the country to the state of fire and sword!"

Diplomatic waltz

The pro-government Le National shares its foreboding.

Quoting what it describes as "highest-level indiscreet sources", the paper says President Laurent Gbagbo's visit last week to neighbouring countries is "the last, as far as efforts to achieve negotiated peace in Cote d'Ivoire are concerned".

What France wants is a change of regime
Le National

"There is every indication that the Ivorian sky will clear up very soon, either through peace, or through war."

Another columnist in the same paper wonders whether the president's "diplomatic waltz" between neighbouring capitals had managed to persuade heads of state in the region to switch sides and back him.

"Many of his compatriots believe all this is a Judas kiss," the columnist adds. "They are calling on their head of state to be careful this month."

The paper is also suspicious of the French invitation to President Gbagbo to visit.

"The position of Chirac's France has been well known since the crisis began. What France wants is a change of regime."

This collapse of authority at the heart of the army could become the real danger
Le Patriote

"That is why President Laurent Gbagbo should not fall into this trap. It is urgent that this trip to France, scheduled for 16 December, should be postponed," says Le National.

Army discord

The spectre of another coup troubles Le Patriote, especially after the disturbances at the weekend.

In particular, the paper finds very alarming the appearance of an army lieutenant on national television demanding that his superior officers be sacked.

"The Ivorian army is now permeated with the same mood of insubordination eating away at the administration and senior public officials.

Under the Ivorian Popular Front regime the world is upside-down
The New Cote d'Ivoire

"Junior officers are refusing to take orders from their seniors which they feel are not militant enough for their taste," the paper complains.

"This collapse of authority at the heart of the army could become the real danger lying in wait for our country."

This concern is echoed by the independent Le Temps.

"This bad-tempered gesture of these youths in fatigues runs the risk of shattering the established order within the army and changing its structure."

The rebel web site The New Cote d'Ivoire believes President Gbagbo is losing his grip on the country.

"Gbagbo is more than at an impasse", it says. "How else can one explain an army lieutenant who takes the initiative to present himself on TV, demanding that 'the chief of staff and certain generals must resign in 48 hours'?"

"Under the Ivorian Popular Front regime the world is upside-down," it cries.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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28 Nov 03  |  Africa

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