News / Africa

Former Nigerian President Optimistic About Ivory Coast Mediation

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (File)
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (File)

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

In an effort to diffuse the tense situation in the Ivory Coast, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo met with both incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and former prime minister Alassane Ouattara in what he called a "process of exploration." He told reporters in Abidjan that he is optimistic about the process, but will not rule out force to remove Mr. Gbagbo.



"When you have a problem you must consider all possible solutions and you must adopt the most realistic, the most effective, the most cost-effective solutions," Mr. Obasanjo said.

Mr. Obasanjo was here as part of a mediation effort by West African leaders who are considering a regional military force against Mr. Gbagbo if he does not hand power over to Mr. Ouattara, who is the internationally-recognized winner of November's vote.

But the unanimity of that regional approach has been undermined by Ghana's president, John Atta Mills, who is refusing to take sides in the crisis and says he will not contribute troops to a regional force because he does not believe a military operation will work.

"It is not for Ghana to choose a leader for Cote D'Ivoire, but Ghana should support any measures to implement the democratic ideals that we all cherish," Mills said.

The president says Ghana's forces are already over-stretched and taking part in a regional force could endanger the lives of Ghanaian civilians living in Ivory Coast.

"As a person I do not think that this military operation is going to bring peace to Cote D'Ivoire, indeed my oath to the people of Ghana is to protect our territorial integrity and the safety of Ghanaians," Mills said.

Gbagbo militants are already threatening to attack civilians from any nation that contributes to a regional force. The Gbagbo government authorized a small demonstration Sunday by regional expatriates who oppose military intervention.

With Mr. Ouattara secluded in a resort hotel guarded by U.N. peacekeepers, Mr. Gbagbo appears determined to prolong this crisis as long as possible in hopes of weakening near-unanimous international support for his rival. Ghana's president breaking with the regional threat of force indicates that strategy may be working.

Mr. Ouattara's foreign minister, Jean-Marie Kacou Gervais, says he is not concerned by President Mills' stand because Ghana is already part of the U.N. mission here.

"The president of Ghana said so because he already has people in the U.N. mission in Cote d'Ivoire, so it would be difficult for him to bring in more people," Gervais said. "He is already involved."

Gervais says Ghana's reluctance does not affect ECOWAS planning for military action, a push that is being led by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.

"We will soon know that ECOWAS is quite involved and I am sure President Jonathan Goodluck is working on it very hard. We know that a lot of heads of state of ECOWAS are working on the issue, and we are quite confident," he said. "No change at all."

Ouattara officials say Mr. Obasanjo reinforced the ECOWAS position that Mr. Gbagbo must leave office or risk being forced from power.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid