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Gbagbo Advisor Rejects E.U. Sanctions as 'Irrelevant, Unjust'

  • Peter Clottey

A file photo of Ivory Coast's President Laurent Gbagbo and former PM Alassane Outtara speaking after attending a meeting on 21 Sep 2010 in Ouagadougou

A file photo of Ivory Coast's President Laurent Gbagbo and former PM Alassane Outtara speaking after attending a meeting on 21 Sep 2010 in Ouagadougou

A special advisor to Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo has described as irrelevant the European Union’s imposed sanctions following last month’s disputed presidential run-off vote.

Ambassador Yao Gnamien also warned African countries that the international community could soon, in his words, be meddling in their internal affairs.

“What kind of judge is the European Union that they don’t want to listen to the position (or) statement of President Gbagbo? And, I think what is going on in Cote d’Ivoire must be a kind of lesson for the (entire) African continent. So, we must be careful because after Ivory Coast, which will be the country which will experience this kind of injustice?” asked Gnamien.

“I think that the decision of the European Union is not just, it is a kind of injustice and we need to combat this kind of situation. We must stand; we must unite, to fight against this kind of selective attitude of the European Union.”

The sanctions are aimed at putting pressure on embattled President Gbagbo to step down and hand over power to former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara, who is internationally-recognized as having won of 28th November presidential run-off vote.

Mr. Gbagbo has refused to resign saying he “legally” won the run-off vote, after he was declared winner by the country’s Constitutional Court.

European Union foreign ministers met Monday in Belgium’s capital, Brussels, and agreed to impose financial and travel sanctions on Mr. Gbagbo and his close allies unless he leaves office. Mr. Ouattara's would-be Prime Minister, Guillaume Soro, said he and his supporters will take charge of government buildings later this week.

Ambassador Gnamien told VOA the ongoing impasse should be an example to all African countries about what he said was the international community’s refusal to be impartial in resolving the ongoing crisis.

“When a country like Cote d’Ivoire wants to be an economic power in the sub-region, those who don’t want the African people to develop, they imagine any kind of scenarios to, let’s say, pull down this country. This is the case in Cote d’Ivoire,” said Ambassador Gnamien.

Meanwhile, tension is escalating in Ivory Coast where troops loyal to Mr. Gbagbo blocked roads to the hotel housing Mr. Ouattara.

Soldiers set up the roadblocks a few hundred meters from Abidjan's Golf Hotel on Monday. They barred access to the area around Mr. Ouattara's headquarters for most of the day before finally letting traffic through.

Ouattara spokesmen say the soldiers tried to set up a checkpoint closer to the hotel, but were stopped by former rebels, who are protecting the hotel along with U.N. peacekeepers.

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