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13 Mar 2003 10:00
Members of Ivory Coast’s main opposition party who are named in a new unity government will not participate in the first cabinet session on Thursday due to security concerns in the war-torn country, the head of the party said.
“Ministers from the RDR cannot take part in the cabinet session” planned for Thursday morning, Alassane Ouattara, the leader of the Rally of Republicans (RDR) party said in a letter to Prime Minister Seydou Diarra.
“As you know, several RDR officials, including those named to join the government of national reconciliation, are outside the country due to the numerous executions and killings of our militants and officials in recent months,” he said in the letter, a
copy of which was obtained by AFP late on Wednesday.
He called on the Diarra to take “measures to allow the ministers to take up their posts under satisfactory security conditions.”
According to reports, Diarra’s cabinet will comprise 41 members, drawn from the political opposition, rebel movements and President Laurent Gbagbo’s ruling party. The RDR is to have seven members, including two ministers of state.
The government was expected to be officially named on Thursday in the political capital of Yamoussoukro.
The formation of the power-sharing government was facilitated by a breakthrough during peace talks in Ghana at the weekend.
Rebels behind the six-month war gave up their claims to the security ministries in the proposed unity government, thereby removing a major hurdle in the implementation of a French-brokered peace accepted by Gbagbo in late January.
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