News / Africa

African Union Panel Prepares for Ivory Coast Mediation

Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, left, talks with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, an African Union envoy sent to mediate the ongoing Ivorian political standoff, following a meeting at the presidential palace in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, (January 17,
Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, left, talks with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, an African Union envoy sent to mediate the ongoing Ivorian political standoff, following a meeting at the presidential palace in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, (January 17,

The leaders of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, South Africa, and Tanzania meet in Nouakchott, Mauritania to hear from African Union officials about the stalemate between Ivory Coast's incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo and the United-Nations-certified winner of November's vote, former prime minister Alassane Ouattara.

The five heads of state are due to travel to Ivory Coast Monday to meet with the rivals. Mr. Gbagbo's claim to re-election is based on the constitutional council annulling as fraudulent, nearly 10 percent of all ballots cast. Mr. Ouattara's claim to the presidency is based on results released by the electoral commission and certified by the United Nations.

Mr. Gbagbo's government says it will accept the African Union mediation so long as it does not challenge the constitutional council declaration that Mr. Gbagbo won. Mr. Ouattara's prime minister says Ivorians should not expect anything from the African Union and should instead rise up in an Egyptian-style revolt.

Cooperation encouraged

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says all Ivorians should fully cooperate with an African Union panel that he says is of great importance. Martin Nesirky is his spokesman.

"The Secretary-General is concerned about the continuing violence and the planned demonstrations which could increase tensions and undermine the prospects for an early and peaceful end to the crisis," Nesirky said. "He calls for an immediate end to the acts of violence against the civilian population and for restraint in the planned demonstrations. He also calls for an end to the obstruction of the operations of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire [UNOCI], and the removal of the siege on the Golf Hotel."

Mr. Gbagbo's government has previously said it will not lift its siege of Mr. Ouattara's hotel because there are several hundred former rebels there who cannot be allowed to move freely.

Money & politics


International and regional sanctions against the Gbagbo government have led to the near-collapse of Ivory Coast's financial system with five international banks closing this week.

Jules Camara stood outside a bank hoping to withdraw as much money as he could.

Camara says the situation is making everyone nervous because banks closed with all the money everyone had in the banks. When you look at the line of people, he says, you do not know who is from the Ouattara party or the Gbagbo party. Camara says the best solution is not to involve the banking sector with politics.

Politics is what drove those banks to close after the West African central bank threatened to penalize commercial banks that continued to do business in Ivory Coast after the central bank severed Mr. Gbagbo's access to state funds.

Mr. Gbagbo's government says it will now take complete control of the capital of closed branches of Citibank, Societe Generale, and BNP Paribas. Standard Chartered bank and the Nigerian Access Bank have also closed along with the Ivorian-owned International Bank for West Africa and Banque Atlantique.

Nationalizing banks is the latest sign of Ivory Coast's deteriorating economy with a shortage of cooking gas, cocoa exports blocked and the Abidjan-based regional stock exchange suspended. Because of the breakdown in the banking system, Ivory Coast's national airline has suspended all flights until the middle of next week.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs