Home | News    Thursday 29 July 2004

Ivory Coast, not Sudan, focus of Accra summit, Ghana presidency says

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ACCRA, July 29 (AFP) — The ongoing crisis in the western Darfur region of Sudan will not be on the agenda at a summit of 10 African heads of state and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Ghanaian officials said.

"I have seen the agenda discussed by (Ghana) President (John) Kufuor and the secretary general and I can confirm absolutely that Sudan has no place on it," Ghana presidential spokesman Kwabena Agyepong told AFP Thursday.

"This is a summit consecrated to the peace process in Ivory Coast and this is why the leaders are here."

The African Union, which is to be represented in Accra by chief Alpha Oumar Konare and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the president of the continent-wide body, on Wednesday sent out a clear signal that it was considering sending in a peacekeeping force to the crisis-torn region.

Countries within the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), currently led by Kufuor, could be among those asked to contribute peacekeepers to the force, described in Nairobi as a "full-fledged peacekeeping mission" to force the government-backed Janjaweed militia to lay down its arms in line with a ceasefire signed in April.

The United Nations estimates 50,000 people have died in the Darfur conflict involving government forces and their Janjaweed allies against two rebel movements, the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement.

Presidents from Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa and Togo were to join Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo at the summit, co-hosted by Annan and Kufuor, aimed as a last-ditch attempt to steer the divided country towards free and fair elections set for October 2005.

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