News / Africa

Threat of Force Remains in Ivory Coast Negotiations

A U.N. peacekeeper in Ivory Coast stands guard by an UN helicopter used to transport officials and journalists from UNOCI headquarters to the Hotel du Golf, the temporary headquarters of Alassane Ouattara, in Abidjan, 3 Jan 2011
A U.N. peacekeeper in Ivory Coast stands guard by an UN helicopter used to transport officials and journalists from UNOCI headquarters to the Hotel du Golf, the temporary headquarters of Alassane Ouattara, in Abidjan, 3 Jan 2011

West African leaders say a promise by Ivory Coast's incumbent president to resolve his country's political crisis peacefully does not remove the threat of a regional military force to drive him from office.

The Economic Community of West African States says incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo must yield power to the internationally-recognized winner of Ivory Coast's election or be forced out by a coalition of regional troops.

Mr. Gbagbo agreed to negotiate, without preconditions, following talks this week with ECOWAS heads of state and the African Union mediator to the crisis.  But he has not yet agreed to hand over power to former prime minister Alassane Ouattara, who has not left a United Nations-protected hotel since the electoral commission declared him the winner of November's vote.

So the regional threat of force to remove Mr. Gbagbo remains.

"Let me say, without any equivocation, that a military option is still on the cards," said James Gbeho, the president of the ECOWAS alliance. "However, ECOWAS and AU are telling you now that, even if there is a half-percent chance of resolving the problem peacefully, they will exploit it.  And, their initial contacts with both President Gbagbo and President Ouattara indicated some promise of getting them to agree on certain essential elements in order to obviate the force option."

Mr. Gbagbo still controls the army, so a fight for control of Abidjan would be costly, especially as there are many citizens of countries likely to contribute troops to an ECOWAS military force who live in Ivory Coast and might then become targets of Gbagbo militants.

Gbeho says regional leaders understand the difficulties in mounting such a force, but will not hesitate to do so if the crisis cannot be resolved peacefully.

"We, of course, are aware of the dangers in the force option, particularly in a country like Cote d'Ivoire where almost all citizens and ethnic groups of our ECOWAS region are represented.  And so, it is an option that must be used with a lot of circumspection," he said. "But, if push comes to shove, that is what is going to be used."

African mediators have also made clear that there can be no power-sharing deal here.  They insist that Mr. Ouattara is the duly-elected president and Mr. Gbagbo must go.

So the primary focus of further talks appears to be arranging Mr. Gbagbo's departure.  American officials have discussed his moving to the U.S. state of Georgia, where he has relatives.

But so far, Mr. Gbagbo says he is not going anywhere and is using state-run media to portray near-unanimous international support for Mr. Ouattara, as evidence of a plot against the Gbagbo government.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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 Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid