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UPDATED: 10:02, November 06, 2004
AU chairman to convene meeting on Cote d'Ivoire crisis
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African Union (AU) Chairman Olusegun Obasanjo, also president of Nigeria, will call a meeting of the warring factions in the fresh Cote d'Ivoire crisis on Saturday,according to his spokeswoman Remi Oyo.

AU Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare, the former Malian president, would lead some leaders from the west African region tothe meeting at Obasanjo's Otta farm, southwest Nigeria, Oyo told reporters Friday at Otta.

The meeting would seek to return the troubled country to the path of peace and reconciliation as the crisis there escalated recently with air attacks by government troops on rebel positions in northern cities Thursday, she added.

Cote d'Ivoire government ground forces and rebels clashed Friday near the town of Raviar, about 30 km south of the rebel stronghold of Bouake.

Cote d'Ivoire, a former French colony, has been split between arebel-held north and a government-run south since a civil war grewout of a failed attempt by soldiers to oust President Laurent Gbagbo in September 2002.

A peace deal, brokered last year under pressure from France andothers, ended major fighting but minor violence erupted sporadically.

The AU and the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States have asked the government and the major rebel group in the northern part to respect the peace deal.

Source: Xinhua

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