News / Africa

AU to Name Heads of State Panel to Settle Ivory Coast Leadership Dispute

Kenyan Prime minister Raila Odinga briefs the media in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jan. 28, 2011, ahead of the AU summit on the situation in the Ivory Coast
Kenyan Prime minister Raila Odinga briefs the media in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jan. 28, 2011, ahead of the AU summit on the situation in the Ivory Coast

Africa’s top peace and security body has decided to name a panel of five heads of state to negotiate a binding solution to the political standoff in Ivory Coast.

A heads of state-level meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council has developed a formula for settling the leadership crisis that has paralyzed Ivory Coast since the November presidential runoff election.

After a late night session, AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping said a high-level panel would be named to come up with a legally-binding settlement of the dispute between incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara.

AU spokesman Noureddine Mezni explained the terms of the formula.

"The panel will be composed of at the level of heads of state. Named in 48 hours, supported by team of experts. The panel is mandated to evaluate the situation and formulate on the basis of the relevant decision of AU and ECOWAS and other political  crisis exit plan," he said.

Mezni said in addition to five heads of state, one from each region of Africa, the panel would include a representative of the African Union and the west African regional group known as ECOWAS.

"The panel will conclude its work within a period not exceeding one month, and its conclusion, which will be endorsed by the Council will be binding on all the Ivorian parties with which this conclusion would have been negotiated," he said.

It was not immediately clear whether the parties to the dispute would accept the Peace and Security Council proposal. Mr. Gbagbo previously rejected mediation efforts by Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who had been appointed by the African Union to help settle the leadership crisis.

Mr. Odinga also attended Friday’s meeting. He urged heads of state gathering for an African summit to send a strong message that the Ivorian parties must settle their differences through face-to-face negotiations. At the same time, he expressed regret at what seems to be a developing trend in Africa of subverting the will of the people as expressed in elections.

"Cote d’Ivoire symbolizes the great tragedy that seems to have befallen Africa, whereby some incumbents are not willing to give up power if they lose," he said. "This refusal is particularly egregious in Cote d’Ivoire’s case, since never has there been such internal, regional and international unanimity among independent institutions about the outcome of a disputed election in Africa."

Mr. Odinga was widely regarded as the winner of Kenya’s disputed 2007 election, but became prime minister after a power sharing deal was struck with President Mwai Kibaki. Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who participated in Friday’s Peace and Security Council decision, also kept power through a negotiated agreement after an apparent electoral defeat.

Mr. Odinga called such negotiations damaging to democracy.

"Africa will never have a stable political base unless we internalize the democratic culture of ceding power after losing in a competitive electoral process," he said. "If one’s vote does not count in determining who will lead a nation, which is the most elemental dimension of democracy, elections will become meaningless, democracy will lose its luster, and the future will be riddled with widespread unrest and instability."

Five heads of state participated in Friday’s special Peace and Security Council meeting. In addition to Mr. Mugabe, South African President Jacob Zuma and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan were there, along with the leaders of Namibia and Mauritania.

An spokesman said AU Commission Chairman Ping would be the continental body’s representative on the high-level settlement panel.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid