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WAfrican leaders conclude Ivory Coast peace summit

12th November 2003

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Seven west African leaders ended a closed-door meeting here yesterday aimed at reviving the flailing peace process in divided Ivory Coast.

The presidents, among them Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso's Blaise Compaore, left without speaking to reporters after the mini-summit, the third in the Ghanaian capital since an armed rebellion in September 2002 boiled over into a 10-month civil war.

The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) summit, officially billed as "a review of the security situation" in west Africa, was also to have touched on tensions sparked in early October by an abortive coup in Burkina Faso.

Ivory Coast and Togo were accused of being involved in the failed attempt.

Last year, Ivory Coast accused an outside power - widely held to be Burkina Faso - of being behind the September 19, 2002 rebel uprising that has left the world's top cocoa-producing nation divided between the rebel-held north and the government-run south.

Hosted by Ghana's John Kufuor, current president of Ecowas, the summit was also attended by Togo's Gnassingbe Eyadema, Mathieu Kerekou of Benin, Olusegun Obasanjo of regional powerhouse Nigeria and Niger's Mamadou Tandja.

A final communique was slated to be read publicly at the conclusion of the three-hour summit. – Sapa-AFP.

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