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Last Updated: Friday, 18 August 2006, 08:51 GMT 09:51 UK
Ivorian leader 'barrier to peace'
President Laurent Gbagbo
Laurent Gbagbo says he will stay on until elections are held
Leaders of rebel forces and the main opposition parties in Ivory Coast have accused President Laurent Gbagbo of being an obstacle to the peace process.

They denounced him for saying earlier this week that he would remain in office if October's polls are delayed.

Last year, Mr Gbagbo had his mandate extended by a year by the UN as elections failed to take place.

The disarming of rebels and militias has still to begin and there are disagreements over voter registration.

Some 10,000 French and UN peacekeepers monitor a buffer zone between the rebels who control the north, and the government-held south.

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New Forces rebel leader Guillaume Soro and ex-Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara were among those who attended the meeting at the home of ex-President Henri Konan Bedie in the central town of Daoukro.

A spokesman for the Rally of Republicans party, Adama Tounjara, said the leaders had expressed their "strong disapproval" of the president who was "impeding the peace process with a clear intent to remain in power without an election".

"Mr Laurent Gbagbo is solely responsible today for the deadlock of the implementation of the peace agreement," he told the BBC's Network Africa.

"Consequently the leaders reject the idea of extending again the mandate of Laurent Gbagbo when it expires on 31 October."

Mr Gbagbo has said that he will remain in office if the UN postpones the elections.

But Mr Tounjara said that this was not possible as he was only head of state because of the UN resolution extending his mandate.




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