UN, French begin evacuations from Ivory Coast Chris Buell at 9:27 AM ET
[JURIST] The UN and France Wednesday began evacuations of personnel on peacekeeping missions in the Ivory Coast after a week of violence left at least 27 dead and more than 900 injured. The UN and France have at least 10,000 peacekeepers in the West African nation to maintain a year-old cease-fire agreement between government and rebel factions that was broken last week. France alone is expected to evacuate between 4,000 and 8,000 of its nationals. As fighting and rioting have spread, many Ivorian civilians have taken shelter in UN compounds. As evacuations began, South African President Thabo Mbeki arrived in the country in an attempt to broker a new peace deal, while UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called on the parties to negotiate. The UN Operation in the Ivory Coast has more on UN activities in the country. The French Defense Ministry is posting updates on the situation of its forces in Ivory Coast here. AP has more.
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