President Thabo Mbeki to Depart for Ivory Coast and Gabon

Pretoria - South African President Thabo Mbeki, accompanied by Minister of Defence, Mosiuoa Lekota and Deputy Foreign Minister, Aziz Pahad, will today - Sunday, 9 January 2005 - depart for Cote d'Ivoire, as part of his African Union (AU) and ECOWAS mandate to assist the people of Cote d'Ivoire find a political solution to the country's current challenges.

In this regard, during the visit President Mbeki is expected to hold discussions with, among others, President of the Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Seydou Diarra in Abidjan later today.

The principal objective of the visit is to review progress in the implementation of the roadmap developed by all parties in the Ivory Coast following consultations with President Mbeki since 9 November 2004.

On conclusion of his visit to the Ivory Coast, President Mbeki will proceed to Libreville, Gabon where he will lead his delegation to the Summit of the AU Peace and Security Council from Monday - Tuesday, 10 -11 January 2005. President Mbeki will brief the Council on his discussions with all role players in the Ivory Coast conflict and the status of implementation of the roadmap.
Issues on the agenda of the Summit will also include the situation in the Great Lakes region, and the Sudan.

With regard to the Sudan the Summit will receive a report on the various peace processes including the recently concluded Naivasha Agreement and the Abuja Peace process. In addition, the Peace and Security Council will also review progress regarding the peace process in the Great Lakes region.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853.
? Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
9 January 2005



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