News / Africa

ECOWAS: S. Africa Undermining Ivory Coast Mediation

ECOWAS President James Victor Gbeho during a news conference on the election dispute in Ivory Coast  in Nigeria's capital Abuja, January 4, 2011.
ECOWAS President James Victor Gbeho during a news conference on the election dispute in Ivory Coast in Nigeria's capital Abuja, January 4, 2011.

The president of West Africa's regional alliance says South Africa is undermining efforts to resolve the political crisis in Ivory Coast. South Africa is part of an African Union mediation team that is trying to end the standoff between Ivory Coast's rival presidents by the end of the month.

The Economic Community of West African States says widespread support for the United-Nations-certified winner of Ivory Coast's vote is fast being eroded by countries that are siding with incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, who is refusing to yield power.

"Apparently because of certain geopolitical interests, some countries are keen on awarding a failure back to ECOWAS, at this stage, so that they themselves would shine," said James Victor Gbeho, the president of the West African alliance that is known as ECOWAS. "And, so they are saying that the whole matter should be looked at, that it seems that Gbagbo was the winner, and that if that is the situation, they must negotiate."

Gbeho says South Africa is undermining ECOWAS efforts to force Mr. Gbagbo from power.

"We find that others are encouraging Gbagbo not to yield probably because they can give him certain supports that ECOWAS does not have," Gbeho said. "There is a South African warship docked in Cote d'Ivoire.  Actions such as that can only complicate the matter further. I am surprised that a distinguished country like South Africa would decide to sent a frigate to Ivory Coast at this time."

South Africa says the frigate is a support vessel with no military purpose. South African President Jacob Zuma is among five heads of state named by the African Union to resolve Ivory Coast's political crisis.

Gbeho says African Union leaders publicly criticizing ECOWAS are breaking with a tradition of regional responsibility.  West African leaders yielded to the Southern African Development Community on political crises in Zimbabwe and Madagascar.  So why, Gbeho asks, are others not prepared to respect this tradition when it comes to Ivory Coast?

"They are making statements openly disagreeing and calling for the marginalization of ECOWAS," said Gbeho. "The concern we have is that if we go like this, we will destroy the solidarity that has always existed on our continent, the solidarity that has brought us this far."

Gbeho says ECOWAS welcomes dialogue.  But that dialogue must respect the wishes of the Ivorian people, as expressed in a vote that Ivory Coast's electoral commission says was won by former prime minister Alassane Outarra.

"Whatever combination or permutation you bring out must leave Ouattara as the head of the state," he added.

Gbeho says ECOWAS will wait patiently for the African Union panel to complete its work, but West African leaders reserve the right to act independently, including the possible use of military force to remove Mr. Gbagbo.

"If it resolves the question of Cote d'Ivoire, so much the better for all of us," said Gbeho. "But if it does not, ECOWAS will have no fears about taking its own action."

African Union officials are in Abidjan for talks with representatives of both Mr. Ouattara and Mr. Gbagbo.  They will report back to the panel of heads of state from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, South Africa, and Tanzania, next week.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid