Addis Ababa - African leaders are to meet next week to consider the political crisis in Ivory Coast after west African states recommended a new extension in embattled President Laurent Gbagbo's mandate, officials said Tuesday.

Heads of state from the 15 member countries of the African Union's Peace and Security Council are to gather at the pan-African body's headquarters here on October 17, AU commission President Alpha Oumar Konare announced.

"The meeting will be held on October 17 in Addis Ababa at the head of state level," he said in the Ethiopian capital.

Meetings at that level are relatively rare for the Peace and Security Council which normally conducts its sessions with ambassadors to the African Union or foreign ministers.

The leaders will be discussing a recommendation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which on Friday called for Gbagbo's tenure to be extended again by one year amid a continuing political crisis.

The grouping, however, did not announce a new date for presidential elections that have been already postponed twice.

Ivory Coast has been split into a rebel-held north and a south controlled by the government since a brief civil war that broke out in 2002 when rebels tried to topple Gbagbo.

Elections were originally set for last October, but UN resolution 1633 extended Gbagbo's tenure for a year while empowering the Ivorian prime minister to oversee a transitional period until presidential and general elections.

But a year later, Gbagbo remains in power, the elections have yet to take place, the country is still divided, and the rebels - along with pro-government militias - have yet to disarm in line with the UN resolution. - Sapa-AFP