AFP - The leaders of the Ivory Coast Wednesday signed an agreement which will integrate some 5,000 ex-rebel troops into the army, a key element of a 2007 peace deal.
The integration process is expected to be completed within two years, according to the document seen by AFP, with ex-rebels and pro-government militia groups in Ivory Coast paid a demobilisation allowance.
The further agreement to the original peace deal was signed by Ivorian President Laurent Ggagbo and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro, now the country's prime minister, as well as Blaise Compaore, president of Burkina Faso who mediated the deal, according to a statement released by Compaore's representative in Ivory Coast.
As part of the deal, a further 3,400 former New Forces (FN) rebels will be integrated into the police and gendarmerie.
Some 600 former FN rebels who have already undergone training are to be integrated into the police force "without delay" to help provide security for the electoral process.
The deal also provides for a one-off direct payment of 50,000 CFA francs (76 euros) to all demobilised rebels.
The FN claims 36,000 troops, while the government counts 24,000 soldiers and gendarmes along with 16,000 police officers.
Under last year's peace agreement, the country is to be reunited and the former rebels disarmed and militia groups dismantled before elections take place.