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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid