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Gbagbo Adviser Welcomes AU delegation on Ivorian Crisis

  • Peter Clottey

Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, left, shakes hands with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, an African Union envoy sent to mediate the ongoing Ivorian political standoff, at the presidential palace in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 17 Jan 2011.

Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, left, shakes hands with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, an African Union envoy sent to mediate the ongoing Ivorian political standoff, at the presidential palace in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 17 Jan 2011.

A special adviser to Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo told VOA the embattled leader will “warmly welcome” an African Union-appointed six-member delegation to help resolve the ongoing political crisis following last year’s disputed presidential run-off vote.

Ambassador Yao Gnamien said the problem in Ivory Coast cannot, in his words, be resolved without mediators visiting the country and encouraging face-to-face talks between Mr. Gbagbo and President-elect Alassane Ouattara.

“I think that President Gbagbo will welcome warmly this delegation because, since the beginning of this crisis, this proposal has been what he was looking for, so that we can resolve on our own the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire,” said Gnamien.

This came after the continental body named a six-member panel of leaders from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, South Africa, and Tanzania to resolve the Ivorian crisis.

The panel is expected to work together with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a sub-regional bloc, to help resolve the impasse.

The group is expected to come up with a legally-binding resolution to the ongoing dispute. The AU, ECOWAS, and the United Nations all recognize Mr. Ouattara as the winner of Ivory Coast's November election.

But, Gnamien denied Mr. Gbagbo lost the election.

“The so-called international community was accusing President Gbagbo that he has not won the election, and what the African heads of state said, based on this accusation, (is) they will come to Cote d’Ivoire to check whether President Gbagbo is guilty or not. I think that this is the meaning of this decision,” said Gnamien.

“What the African heads of state are doing now means that they are restoring our dignity. That means that they cannot act under the pressure of another continent or the so-called superpower. This is why we are very glad to see this delegation coming to Cote d’Ivoire.”

This is the continental body’s latest attempt to help resolve the crisis after previous attempts failed to convince Mr. Gbagbo to step down and cede power to Mr. Ouattara.

Gnamien also said the continental body’s latest effort to resolving the Ivorian crisis will restore Africa’s dignity.

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