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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 July, 2004, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
Bid for Ivory Coast breakthrough
A rebel wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt
The Ivory Coast peace process is stalled
The secretary general of the United Nations and 12 African heads of state have started discussions on the deadlocked Ivory Coast peace process.

Some 18 months after a peace deal, New Forces rebels still control the north of the country and have pulled out of a power-sharing government.

The leaders will also look at two other trouble-spots - Liberia and Sudan.

The crisis in Sudan's Darfur region is set to be discussed on the sidelines of the summit in Ghana.

Soon the UN will have more than 20,000 peacekeepers in Ivory Coast and Liberia and UN chief Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian, is keen to see those governments make a lasting peace.

"I appeal to the Ivorian parties here today to make full use of this opportunity," he told the opening ceremony.

"I look to you to put aside partisan and personal interests and work together in spirit of commitment and compromise."

'Africa solution'

The planned disarmament has not yet started and one of the key rebel demands - changing nationality laws - has not yet been passed by parliament.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is also chairman of the African Union and wants to find an "African solution" to the crisis in Darfur.

BBC Africa analyst Elizabeth Blunt says some Ghanaian officials are worried that Sudan may take over the talks, organised by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), and say the subject is not officially on the agenda.

However, they accept that it is likely to dominate talk in the corridors.

In Liberia, Ecowas sees a chance to encourage closer relations between the old guard and the new members of government, the former rebel leaders.

The BBC's former West Africa correspondent Paul Welsh, says it is astonishing that the Liberia peace process is now seen as a model, to be followed by neighbouring Ivory Coast.


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