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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More