PARIS – Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo named a transitional prime minister Saturday, taking the first step toward implementing a peace plan aimed at ending a 4-month-old civil war.
Gbagbo said he had appointed Seydou Diarra, a former prime minister who chaired national reconciliation talks once before, as his partner in a new power-sharing government.
Appearing at a news conference with Diarra, Gbagbo said that he had "taken note" of the peace agreement reached Friday by government and rebel leaders in Paris and would announce a new coalition government soon. The peace deal requires that the new government include opposition members.
Peace negotiations ended Friday with a draft agreement to end a spiraling civil war in Ivory Coast. A weekend summit of 11 African leaders was being held in Paris aimed at providing a stamp of international legitimacy to the peace plan.
French President Jacques Chirac welcomed the progress but said "a lot still needs to be done."
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged international donors to follow through with previous pledges of aid. "Let us not betray the hopes of the Ivorian people," Annan said in a statement issued by the United Nations.
"It is, of course, for the men and women of Ivory Coast to repudiate this dark page of their history," Annan said earlier Saturday. "But we can and must help them to do so."
Annan told the gathering he hoped that "the spirit of openness and compromise which made it possible to achieve this accord will prevail, and that decisions which have been taken will be implemented in good faith."
Thousands of people rallied Saturday in Ivory Coast's commercial capital of Abidjan to protest the French-brokered peace agreement. They claimed it gave too much to the rebels.
Protesters dressed in the Ivorian national colors -- green, white and orange -- gathered in two crowded and impoverished neighborhoods, waving signs supporting President Laurent Gbagbo and declaring "No to a negotiated coup d'etat."
Residents of a shantytown in Abidjan also said they were awakened early Saturday when eight uniformed paramilitary police in search of rebels stormed through courtyards, beat down doors and yanked people from their beds, whipping some with ropes.
The paramilitaries accused residents of harboring rebels -- a claim they denied.
A regional peacekeeping force is being assembled in Ivory Coast to help more than 2,000 French troops deployed in the country enforce the accord.
In Paris, hundreds of pro-Gbagbo supporters thronged the street outside the Ivory Coast Embassy chanting, "No to a peacekeeping force, yes to an intervention force." Dozens of anti-riot police kept the protesters at a distance.
Ivory Coast's civil war broke out in September following a failed coup to oust Gbagbo. Hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced since then.
Under the agreement, Gbagbo can remain in office but must share power with a newly strengthened prime minister until new elections can be held.
Guillaume Soro, head of the main northern rebel group, the Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast, told reporters his group would be given the defense and interior portfolios in the new government.
Gbagbo, however, did not discuss the makeup of the coalition government at his news conference and declined to take questions.
Many of the details of the accord and a timetable still haven't been worked out, leaving room for further disagreement.
Diarra, a career ambassador, served as a prime minister in a national unity government under slain Gen. Robert Guei, who led Ivory Coast's first coup in 1999. Diarra later led national talks in October 2001 aimed at reconciling Ivory Coast's deep ethnic and political rifts. The talks failed.
Gbagbo came to power in a flawed 2000 election in which opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, a former prime minister with heavy support in the rebellious north, was barred from running after doubt was cast over his nationality. Gbagbo's victory infuriated the opposition.
Fears have been raised that fighters who poured into Ivory Coast from neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone -- blamed for mercenary gang killings and widespread looting -- after the conflict erupted in September may not suspend hostilities.
The accord came hours after the Ivorian government pleaded with France to send more troops to protect its people. The government said its forces had come under attack by fighters from neighboring Liberia.