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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs