News / Africa

ECOWAS Spokesman: Divisions Undermine Ivorian Peace Efforts

A group of Young Patriots, youth supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, blockade a road to prevent a UN convoy from passing in Abobo neighborhood of Abidjan, 11 Jan 2011
A group of Young Patriots, youth supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, blockade a road to prevent a UN convoy from passing in Abobo neighborhood of Abidjan, 11 Jan 2011


  • Sonny Ugoh, communications director of ECOWAS, spoke with Clottey

Peter Clottey

An official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has expressed concern that growing divisions among African leaders are undermining the sub-regional body’s efforts to resolve the ongoing crisis in Ivory Coast.

Sonny Ugoh, communications director of ECOWAS, said his organization is consulting with its international partners to find a solution to the Ivorian crisis.

“Obviously, there is beginning to be discordant voices in Africa regarding the situation there (Ivory Coast). The position of ECOWAS is that (Alassane) Ouattara won the election. But now, when you begin to get some sections of the African continent to suggest that that is not the case, then we begin to have a problem,” said Ugoh.

The sub-regional bloc also expressed concern about a South African naval vessel, which was seen docked at a port in Ivory Coast. At a news conference before his trip to Guinea, the ECOWAS commission’s president, Ambassador James Victor Gbeho, said, “As we talk now, there is a South African warship docked in Cote d'Ivoire. Now actions such as that can only complicate the matter further.”

“When things like that happen, it might be misconstrued to suggest that they (South Africa) are in support of a particular party in the crisis there and that would not contribute to the resolution of the crisis there. If you create that kind of situation, there is likelihood that it will prolong the resolution of the problem,” said Ugoh, communications director of ECOWAS.

African Union mediators have arrived in the commercial capital, Abidjan, for another attempt to resolve the crisis. Analysts say divisions among African leaders surfaced during the recent A.U. summit in Ethiopia.

Ugoh said the Ivorian crisis is a delicate one which he said needs a careful and well-thought-out solution.

“It is important for us to maintain the status quo and give time for the engagement that is ongoing to be concluded because I think that is what is important. We don’t want a situation where (conditions) will deteriorate and, suddenly, we have a civil war in our hands,” said Ugoh.

The mediators are to meet with representatives of the two rival presidents and report their findings to an A.U.-appointed panel of five heads of state.  The A.U. says the panel will then make legally-binding decisions about the impasse.

Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent, has said he will not accept any finding that does not recognize him as the winner of the presidential poll.

Mr. Gbagbo still controls Ivory Coast's security forces and state institutions. President-elect Ouattara continues to operate out of an Abidjan hotel that is surrounded by both pro-Gbagbo security forces and U.N. peacekeepers, which are protecting the building.

Residents in Abidjan say at least three people have been killed in clashes linked to the country's political crisis.

Witnesses say the bodies of three people were discovered after fighting on Monday between security forces loyal to incumbent President Gbagbo and supporters of Mr. Ouattara.

Monday's clashes broke out in the pro-Ouattara neighborhood of Abobo, where deadly fighting between the two mens’ supporters took place last month.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs