News / Africa

US Senator: Obama Administration 'Wrong' on Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast's incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo (file photo)
Ivory Coast's incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo (file photo)

Multimedia

Audio
  • Clottey interview with Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma

Peter Clottey

A U.S. senator says President Barak Obama’s administration “got it wrong” in its handling of the ongoing crisis in Ivory Coast following violent clashes between rival forces, which has left hundreds dead and tens of thousands fleeing the West African conflict.

In a VOA interview, Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma says the Obama administration is backing the wrong side in the conflict and offered to provide evidence that it was mathematically impossible for Alassane Ouattara to win the disputed November presidential run-off vote over embattled President Laurent Gbagbo.

“I do know that the French have always had pretty much control of the government in the Ivory Coast and that’s just the way the French operate, until President Gbagbo got there and, of course, the French have been running against him ever since that time,” said Inhofe.

Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma
Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma

“I have shown on the Senate floor how they took the margin of victory that went to Ouattara… what precincts they stole that vote at and how they miscalculated it. How is it statistically possible for the primary election for Gbagbo to have received thousands and thousands of votes in that northern part of Cote d’Ivoire and then, in the run-off, he got zero? Statistically, that is impossible,” he added.

However, Inhofe acknowledges that his concerns about what he calls a “stolen election” have been overtaken by current events. Inhofe, who is also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says France is leading the charge to force Gbagbo to step down and cede power to Ouattara.

“The French have come in and over a thousand people have been killed in Deukoue, a town in the western part, and those were the people who are Gbagbo supporters. So it’s a reign of terror by Ouattara and it’s supported by the French... [I] am afraid I’m losing this one, but somebody has to tell the truth,” Inhofe said.

France has denied the accusation of killing civilians. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe says his government is working within the framework of international law, notably U.N. mandates, to protect civilians. He said France has no intention of deploying a more offensive foreign policy.

“Absolutely, they [Obama administration] had it wrong. They are wrong and I have sent letters to the secretary of state and to the administration giving them evidence of the election. It was totally ignored and so I criticized my own administration, as well as the French,” Inhofe added.

The United Nations is investigating reports of massacres in Duekoue, which pro-Ouattara forces seized from Gbagbo troops last week. Both sides have been blamed for hundreds of civilian deaths since post-election violence began last December.

Inhofe also says the United Nations violated its charter by using military force against Gbagbo loyalists.

“They went in and immediately assumed that it was a legitimate election and, yet, we have all the evidence to the contrary. By the way, there are a lot of people in Africa who agree with me,” he said.

The Obama administration says Gbagbo lost a legitimate election judged by poll observers as free and fair. It has repeatedly called on Gbagbo to step down and cede power to Ouattara, who the international community recognizes as winner of last November's election.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Inhofe cited one official regional election return document suggesting Ouattara was credited with more than 90,000 votes beyond what was actually tallied. The Senator asked the administration to change its position and call for a new internationally-monitored vote.

Meanwhile, Ouattara forces launched an assault on Gbagbo’s home Wednesday after he refused to admit electoral defeat and surrender. The forces met strong resistance from pro-Gbagbo troops, despite the fact that most solders from the regular army have laid down their arms.

Witnesses say they heard gunfire and explosions from the compound where Gbagbo, along with members of his family, is believed to be holed up. The fighting died down around midday Wednesday. Witnesses say the Ouattara forces retreated.

Aides to Ouattara say the fighters have been told to capture Gbagbo alive.

A Gbagbo spokesman said U.N. and French forces were involved in the assault, an allegation French officials have denied.


You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid