- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 10, 2007

IVORY COAST

U.N. extends mandate for peacekeeping

NEW YORK — The U.N. Security Council yesterday extended the mandate of U.N. and French peacekeepers in Ivory Coast for six more months and authorized the U.N. troops to help with preparations for long-stalled elections, to be held Oct. 31.

A resolution adopted unanimously by the 15-nation council authorized the two forces to stay on the job in the troubled West African nation until June 30.

About 11,000 U.N. and French peacekeepers monitor a buffer zone.

GUINEA-BISSAU

Ex-leader hides at local U.N. offices

BISSAU — This country’s former prime minister, wanted for accusing the president of being behind a recent high-profile killing, took refuge yesterday at the local U.N. offices, his spokesman told Agence France-Presse.

Carlos Gomes Jr., prime minister for 18 months until late 2005, accuses Guinean President Joao Bernardo Vieira of being the “main person responsible” for the killing last week of Commodore Mohamed Lamine Sanha, the country’s former navy chief.

GUINEA

Strike hits freeing of graft suspects

CONAKRY — Shop, government and business workers in Guinea held a general strike yesterday, heeding a union call for protests after President Lansana Conte decided to free two prominent corruption suspects. It was the third general strike in 12 months in the poverty-stricken former West African French colony ruled since 1984 by the 72-year-old general who is suffering from ill health.

Called by Guinea’s two biggest labor unions and supported by 14 opposition parties, the strike brought the country to a standstill, with residents saying that most banks, businesses, gas stations and pharmacies remained closed in Conakry and in the provinces.

Weekly notes …

African nations pledged yesterday to tighten nuclear safety on a continent where often lax security, long exploited by arms smugglers, has raised concern about the safeguarding of uranium stockpiles. The statement by at least 45 states was issued at the end of a two-day meeting of African governments held in Algiers under the auspices of the African Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency. … The United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo said yesterday it plans to make it illegal to carry weapons without official authorization in the gold-rich Ituri province. An estimated 60,000 people have been killed in Ituri on Congo’s border with Uganda since 1999 in interethnic violence and as rival militias vied for control of gold-mining areas while terrorizing the local population.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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