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ECOWAS Set to Convene Summit Tuesday on Ivory Coast Crisis

Mr. Laurent Gbagbo (l) and Mr. Alassane Ouattara (r)
Mr. Laurent Gbagbo (l) and Mr. Alassane Ouattara (r)

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  • Sonny Ugoh, ECOWAS communications director spoke with Clottey

Peter Clottey

An official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) told VOA the regional bloc will hold an extraordinary summit Tuesday aimed at finding solutions to the crisis in Ivory Coast following the controversial presidential run-off vote.

Sonny Ugoh, ECOWAS communications director, said Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore will soon hold discussions with both President Laurent Gbagbo and challenger Alassane Ouattara to resolve the impasse. Both men claimed victory in the 28th November vote and each was installed as president.

“The chairman of authority, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, has called an extraordinary summit for Abuja on Tuesday to see what are the steps that the region will take in order to resolve the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire,” said Ugoh.

“The heads of state will look at the other possibilities that have to resolve the situation against the background of (the) text (chairman’s statement), but the way to good governance and the protocol and mechanisms for conflict prevention for the nations peace and security.”

Meanwhile, the African Union mediator and former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, met Sunday with both President Gbagbo and Mr. Ouattara, and then went into meetings with the country's constitutional council and electoral commission.

Mr. Mbeki told reporters that he hopes to find a way out of the crisis without violence or war.

The political crisis has heightened fears of renewed unrest in Ivory Coast.

Election-related violence already has left at least 17 people dead.

Ugoh said the sub-regional bloc will work with the international community to resolve the crisis in Ivory Coast.

“ECOWAS will do what is necessary to work with the international community. We will work with them (and) we cannot work in isolation, and working (with them) is the only guarantee that we can make much more progress than working piecemeal.”

Ivory Coast's presidential election was meant to restore stability eight years after a civil war left it split between rebel and government-controlled areas.

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